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November 16, 2021

1 Corinthians – 11.06.21

Filed under: Old and New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 4:31 pm

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Author | Biography and references | Setting | Timeline | Introductions and Outlines; various | Videos |

Bibliography and references:

  • NIV Life Application Study Bible, 1984. Tyndale House Publishers Inc. and Zondervan.
  • Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible, 1988. World Bible Publishers, Inc.
  • Matthew Henry Study Bible, King James Version. World Bibles. Copyright 1986.
  • The Scofield Reference Bible. New York Oxford University Press. Copyright 1945.
  • Bible for Spirit Filled Living. Thomas Nelson Publishers. Copyright 1980.
  • The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2016. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
  • Christian Standard Bible Study Bible. Holman Bible Publishers. Copyright 2017.
  • Strong’s Greek Concordance.
  • John MacArthur, MacArthur Bible Studies. Godly Solutions to Church problems.
  • Faithlife Study Bible, Logos Study Software. Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (1 Co 1:18). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.
  • Everyone in the Bible, William P. Barker, Fleming H. Revell Company, Westwood, NJ. Copyright 1966.

First things first. Watch this Bible Project video on 1 Corinthians. This is an excellent overview and explanation of 1 Corinthians.

Timeline =

  • 50-51 AD = Paul arrives in Corinth and spends eighteen months planting the church.
  • 51 AD = Paul’s hearing before Corinth’s proconsul, Gallio, brother of the Roman philosopher Seneca.
  • 56 AD. Paul writes 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians from Ephesus.
  • 57 AD. Paul spends the winter in Corinth, from where he writes Romans.

Author = Paul wrote this letter to the church in Corinth while he was visiting Ephesus during his third missionary journey (Acts 19:1 – 20:1). Paul knew the Corinthian church well because he had spent 18 months in Corinth during his second missionary journey, approximately A.D. 52-53 (Acts 18:1-18). While in Ephesus, he had heard about problems in Corinth (1:11). About the same time, a delegation from the Corinthian church had visited Paul to ask his advice about their conflicts (16:17). Paul’s purpose for writing was to correct those problems and to answer questions church members had asked in a previous letter (7:1)

Setting = Corinth was a major cosmopolitan city, a seaport and major trade center – the most important city in Achaia. It was also filled with idolatry and immorality. The church was largely made up of Gentiles. Paul had established this church on his second missionary journey. Also, if you look at a map showing the cities in A.D. 55, you will see that Corinth and Ephesus (Asia) faced each other across the Aegean Sea.

Key Verse = “I appeal to you, brothers, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree with one another so that there may be no divisions among you and that you may be perfectly united in mind and thought.” (verse 1:10)

Introductions by different publishers:

  • NIV Life Application Study Bible:
    • Purpose = To identify problems in the Corinthian church, to offer solutions, and to teach the believers how to live for Christ in a corrupt society.
    • The Blueprint =
      • A. Paul addresses church problems. Without Paul’s presence, the Corinthian church had fallen into divisiveness and disorder. This resulted in many problems, which Paul addressed squarely. We must be concerned for unity and order in our local churches, but we should not mistake inactivity for order and cordiality for unity. We too, must squarely address problems in our churches.
        • Verses 1:1 – 6:20. (1) Divisions in the church; (2) Disorder in the church
      • B. Paul answers church questions. The Corinthians had sent Paul a list of questions, and he answered them in a way meant to correct abuses in the church and to show how important it is that they live what they believe. Paul gives us a Christian approach to problem solving. He analyzed the problem thoroughly to uncover the underlying issue and then highlighted the biblical values that should guide our actions.
    • The NIV Life Application Study bible also lists five (5) “MEGATHEMES” in their introduction pages to 1 Corinthians. I highly suggest that you read those five megathemes as they provide “explanations” of the issues as well as “importance” of the issues. A very good read.
  • Hebrew Greek Key Study bible:
    • Greeks, Romans, Jews, and a mixed multitude of sailors and merchants flocked to this crossroads.
    • The Isthmian athletic games were held biennially there.
    • By the end of the second century, Corinth had become one of the richest cities in the world.
    • Corinth was full of sin. It was one of the most wicked cities of ancient times.
    • There were many religions represented, especially a temple which offered a thousand sacred prostitutes. Pleasure was worshipped more than principles.
    • Paul, also a tentmaker by trade, worked with a husband and wife team, Aquila and Priscilla. Appolos came later.
    • Paul received unfavorable news about the Corinthian congregation from members of the household of Chloe (verse 1:11). There was gross immorality (an incestuous relationship), lawsuits between Christians in front of unbelievers, marriage problems, difficulties concerning meat offered to idols, abuses in taking the Lord’s Supper, confusion about the role of women in the church, and heresies about the afterlife.
    • Paul had written them a previous letter before the 1 Corinthians letter (1 Cor 5:9).
    • Many of the members were recently converted from pagan practices and were having difficulty in adjusting, breaking with the past.
  • Matthew Henry Study Bible:
    • Major Theme = Correction of Christian conduct.
    • Paul is responding to information he received, informing him of serious doctrinal and ethical problems that had arisen within the church after the apostle had moved on to Ephesus.
    • Some of the areas needing instruction were spiritual immaturity, sexual immorality on the part of Christians, strife and divisions, litigation among believers, misunderstanding regarding spiritual gifts, confusion about the relationships of singleness and marriage, and numerous doctrinal questions.
  • The Scofield Reference Bible:
    • Theme: Christian Conduct.
    • Paul defends his apostleship because it involved the authority of the doctrine revealed through him.
    • Analysis:
      • 1. Introduction. The believers standing in grace.
      • 2. The contrast of their present factious state.
      • 3. Immorality rebuked, discipline enjoined.
      • 4. The sanctity of the body, and Christian marriage.
      • 5. Meats, and the limitations of Christian liberty.
      • 6. Christian order and the Lord’s supper.
      • 7. Spiritual gifts in relation to the body, the church and Christian ministry.
      • 8. The resurrection of the dead.
      • 9. Special directions and greetings.
  • Bible for Spirit Filled Living:
    • Occasion: During Paul’s three-year ministry in Ephesus, on his third missionary journey (Acts 19), he had received disturbing reports concerning moral laxity among believers in Corinth. To remedy the situation he sent the church a letter (1 Cor 5:9-11), which has been lost. Shortly afterward, a delegation sent by Chloe, a member of the church in Corinth, reported to Paul concerning the existence of divisive factions in the church. Before he could write a corrective letter, another delegation from Corinth arrived with a letter asking him certain questions (1 Cor 7:1; 16:17). Paul immediately sent Timothy to Corinth to help correct conditions there (1 Cor 4:17). He then wrote the letter that we know as 1 Corinthians, expecting it to reach Corinth before Timothy (16:10).
    • Content. The letter consists of Paul’s response to ten separate problems:
      1. a sectarian spirit
      2. incest
      3. lawsuits
      4. fornication
      5. marriage and divorce
      6. eating foods offered to idols
      7. wearing of the veil
      8. the Lord’s Supper
      9. spiritual gifts, and
      10. the resurrection of the body.
    • Outline:
      • 1. The problem of a sectarian spirit which arose from a preference for religious leaders because of their supposed superior wisdom. 1:1-9
        • A. Contrast between human and divine wisdom over the Cross shows the fallacy of the sectarian spirit which stems from human wisdom. 1:10 to 3:4.
        • B. The role of religious leaders show they are important but never the cause for boasting. 3:5 to 4:5.
        • C. An open rebuke by ironic comparison of the Corinthians’ pride with Paul’s foolishness. 4:6-21.
      • 2. The problem of internal church discipline brought on by a case of incest. 5:1-13.
      • 3. The problem of lawsuits between Christians before public courts. 6:1-11.
      • 4. The problem of a sexual misuse of the body from a misapplication of Paul’s ethical teaching. 6:12-20.
      • 5. The problem of the relationship between the secular sphere and the believer’s spiritual life, especially in the areas of sex, marriage, and slavery. 7:1-40.
      • 6. The problem of ethical differences between brethren caused by the eating of food offered to idols. 8:1 to 11:1.
        • A. The basic principle of love verses knowledge. 8:1-13.
        • B. Paul’s personal example in foregoing his rights. 9:1-27.
        • C. The application of the principle in attitude and action. 10:1 to 11:1.
      • 7. The problem of the role of the sexes in light of the removal of the veil. 11:2-16.
      • 8. The problem of desecrating the Lord’s Supper. 11:17-34.
      • 9. The problem of spiritual manifestations which arose from a misuse of the gift of tongues. 12:1-14 to 14:40.
        • The need for variety. 12:1-31.
        • The need for love. 13:1-13.
        • The need for control. 14:1-40.
      • 10. The problem of the resurrection of the dead. 15:1-58.
      • 11. Concluding personal remarks. 16:1-24.
  • Dr. Vernon McGee, Thru the Bible.
    • OUTLINE:
      • I. Salutation and thanksgiving, Chapter 1:1-9
      • II. Concerning conditions in the Corinthian church, Chapters1:10 — 16:9
        • A. Concerning DIVISIONS and party spirit, Chapters 1:10— 4:21
          • 1. Centrality of Christ crucified Corrects divisions, 1:10-31
          • 2. Clarity of Holy Spirit
            Corrects human wisdom, 2
          • 3. Correct conception of God
            Clarifies Christian service, 3
          • 4. Conditions of Christ’s servants
            Constrain Christian conduct, 4
        • B. Concerning SCANDALS in the Corinthian church,
          Chapters 5, 6
          • Impurity, 5
          • Lawsuits among members, 6
        • C. Concerning MARRIAGE, Chapter 7
        • D. Concerning CHRISTIAN LIBERTY, Chapters 8:1 —11
          • 1. Liberty of the minister, 9
          • 2. Liberty is not license, 10:1 — 11:1
        • E. Concerning WOMAN’S DRESS, Chapter 11:2-16
          F. Concerning the LORD’S TABLE, Chapter 11:17-34
          G. Concerning SPIRITUAL GIFTS, Chapters 12 — 14
          • 1. Endowment of gifts, 12
            • a. Gifts are given to maintain unity in diversity, vv. 1-11
            • b. Members of human body compared to gifts of Holy
              Spirit, vv. 12-31
          • 2. Energy of gifts — Love, 13
          • 3. Exercise of gifts, 14
            • a. Gift of prophecy is superior to gift of tongues, vv. 1-22
            • b. Order in local church for exercise of any gift, vv.
              23-40
        • H. Concerning the GOSPEL, Chapter 15
          • 1. Prominence of resurrection in the gospel, vv. 1-4
          • 2. Proofs of resurrection, vv. 5-19
          • 3. Parade of resurrection, vv. 20-28
            • a. Christ, the firstfruits
            • b. Those who are Christ’s (the church)
            • c. Old Testament saints, Tribulation saints
            • d. Kingdom set up, Christ reigning
            • e. Death destroyed
            • f. Christ returns to His place in the Trinity
          • 4. Program and pattern of resurrection, vv. 29-50
          • 5. Power of resurrection, vv. 51-58
        • I. Concerning COLLECTIONS, Chapter 16:1-9
      • III. Closing exhortations and benediction, Chapter 16:10-24

ESV Bible

Chapter One

AD 59 (Return to TOP)

Greeting

Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

  • Acts 13:9 But Saul—also called Paul—filled with the Holy Spirit, stared straight at Elymas
  • Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, and set apart for the gospel of God
  • Ephesians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will
  • Colossians 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, and Timothy our brother: 
  • 2 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by God’s will, for the sake of the promise of life in Christ Jesus: 
  • Apostle. Strongs G652. Messenger, one who is sent. Officially a commissioner of Christ (with miraculous powers).
  • Acts 18:17 And they all seized Sosthenes, the leader of the synagogue, and beat him in front of the tribunal, but none of these things mattered to Gallio. 
    • Sosthenes – a Christian who joined Paul in writing to the Corinthian congregation. Paul affectionately identifies him as “the brother.” Sosthenes was living at Ephesus and perhaps served as Paul’s secretary when Paul wrote the Corinthian letter. Legends say that he was on the the Seventy, and later Bishop of Colophon.

2 To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours:

  • church = Strongs G1577. Ekklesia (ek-klay-see’-ah). a popular meeting, especially a religious congregation; assembly.
  • Acts 18:1 After this, he left Athens and went to Corinth
  • Acts 19:1 While Apollos was in Corinth, Paul traveled through the interior regions and came to Ephesus. He found some disciples
  • 2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus has remained at Corinth; I left Trophimus sick at Miletus. 
  • Sanctified. Strongs G37. hagiazo (hag-ee-ad’-zo). To make holy.
  • Acts 20:32 And now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you an inheritance among all who are sanctified.
  • Acts 26:18 to open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a share among those who are sanctified by faith in me.
  • 1 Corinthians 6:11 And some of you used to be like this. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.
  • Romans 1:6-7 including yourselves who also belong to Jesus Christ by calling: To all who are in Rome, loved by God, called as saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Genesis 4:26 A son was born to Seth also, and he named him Enosh. At that time people began to call on the name of Yahweh.
  • Psalm 79:6 Pour out Your wrath on the nations that don’t acknowledge You, on the kingdoms that don’t call on Your name,
  • John 10:25 “I did tell you and you don’t believe,” Jesus answered them. “The works that I do in My Father’s name testify about Me.
  • Acts 9:14 And he has authority here from the chief priests to arrest all who call on Your name.”
  • Acts 15:14 Simeon has reported how God first intervened to take from the Gentiles a people for His name.
  • Revelation 14:1 Then I looked, and there on Mount Zion stood the Lamb, and with Him were 144,000 who had His name and His Father’s name written on their foreheads.

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Romans 1:7 To all who are in Rome, loved by God, called as saints. Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Grace = Strongs G5484. charis (khar’ece) unmerited favor.
  • Peace = Strongs G1515. eirene (i-ray’nay) inner wholeness and right relations with God.

Thanksgiving

4 I give thanks to my God always for you because of the grace of God that was given you in Christ Jesus,

  • Romans 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you because the news of your faith is being reported in all the world.
  • give thanks. Even though this is a “letter of correction” … a letter of discipline… Paul is thankful at least that they are still in the body of believers, the church itself. Since they are still in the church, the Holy Spirit can still work on them, and through sanctification, can help the church grow and become more like Christ. Obviously, they have a long way to go here.

5 that in every way you were enriched in him in all speech and all knowledge

  • important to note these two areas of Spirit given enrichmentspeech and knowledge. These are two areas that showed that the Holy Spirit had indeed divinely touched them, and gave them speech and knowledge . BUT, as you will read further, Paul needed to guide them back to the correct path. Even though they had been given the Spirit, due to the local problems and confusion, they were starting to miss the mark. This letter will attempt to correct that and get them heading back in the right direction.
  • enriched. Strongs G4148. ploutizo (ploo-tid’-zo) to make wealthy, rich. Notice here is says “in all speech and knowledge.” Paul is mentioning two of the issues, speech and knowledge, that he will be addressing in this letter.

6 even as the testimony about Christ was confirmed among you—

  • 2 Timothy 1:8 So don’t be ashamed of the testimony about our Lord, or of me His prisoner. Instead, share in suffering for the gospel, relying on the power of God.
  • testimony about Christ = confirmed. They started speaking in tongues and their knowledge demonstrated a testimony of the gospel.

7 so that you are not lacking in any gift, as you wait for the revealing of our Lord Jesus Christ,

  • Philippians 3:20 but our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Titus 2:13 while we wait for the blessed hope and appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.
  • gift = two inputs here for gift:
    • Strong’s Concordance = G5486. charisma (khar’-is-mah). a spiritual endowment; religious qualification, or miraculous faculty.
    • John MacArthur = “Gift” in Greek is specifically “a gift of grace.” While the blessings of speech and knowledge were primarily for evangelizing the lost, the spiritual gifts (chapters 12-14) edify (build up) the church. Because these gifts are given to each believer without regard for maturity or spirituality, the Corinthians, though sinful, had them in full.
  • revealing = Strongs G602. apokalupsis (ap-ok-al’-oop-sis). Appearing, coming, be revealed.
    • Revelation 4:11 “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”
    • Revelation 5:12 In a loud voice they were saying: “Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and praise!”

8 who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • 1 Thessalonians 3:13 May He make your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all His saints. Amen.
  • Colossians 1:22 But now He has reconciled you by His physical body through His death, to present you holy, faultless, and blameless before Him—
  • day of our Lord Jesus Christ” = John MacArthur – This refers to the coming of the Lord for His church, the Rapture (see 1 Corinthians 5:5). This is different from the “day of the Lord” which is a term referring to the “judgment of the ungodly”.
    • “day of the Lord” (judgment of the ungodly)
      • 1 Thessalonians 5:2, 4 for you know very well that the day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. 4 But you, brothers and sisters, are not in darkness so that this day should surprise you like a thief.
      • 2 Thessalonians 2:2 not to be quickly shaken in mind or alarmed, either by a spirit or a spoken word, or a letter seeming to be from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.

God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

  • Isaiah 49:7 This is what the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, his Holy One, says to one who is despised, to one abhorred by people, to a servant of rulers: “Kings will see and stand up, and princes will bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel—and He has chosen you.”
  • John 15:4 Remain in Me, and I in you. Just as a branch is unable to produce fruit by itself unless it remains on the vine, so neither can you unless you remain in Me.
  • Ephesians 5:26-27 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 
  • God is faithful
    • Lamatations 3:22-23 The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; 23  they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.
    • Psalms 119:89-90 Forever, O Lord, your word is firmly fixed in the heavens. 90  Your faithfulness endures to all generations; you have established the earth, and it stands fast.
    • Malachi 3:6 – For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Israel, are not consumed.
  • you were called – John MacArthur = God, who calls to salvation and heaven, will be faithful to give the grace needed to fulfill that call.
    • Romans 8:30 And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Vernon McGee: I. Salutation and thanksgiving, Chapter 1:1-9
In these first nine verses of the introduction, the Lord Jesus Christ is mentioned six times. This is a Christ-centered epistle of which v. 9 is the very heart: “God is faithful” — although men, including believers, are not.
“Ye were called” is the “high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:14). “Fellowship” (koinonian) is one of the most important and versatile words of Christian faith. It means anything that believers share together
concerning the things of Christ.

Koinonia is: (1) fellowship — Acts 2:42-44; (2) contribution — Romans 15:26; (3) communion (Lord’s Supper) — 1 Corinthians 10:16; (4) partnership — 1 Corinthians 1:9

Divisions in the Church

10 I appeal to you, brothers, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that all of you agree, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be united in the same mind and the same judgment.

  • 2 Corinthians 13:11 Finally, brothers, rejoice. Become mature, be encouraged, be of the same mind, be at peace, and the God of love and peace will be with you.
  • 1 Peter 3:8 Now finally, all of you should be like-minded and sympathetic, should love believers, and be compassionate and humble,
  • united – other texts use “joined together.” To put back something that was once joined, and now broken or separated, so that it is no longer divided. Strongs G2675, katartizo (Karen-ar-tid’-zo). to restore, repair, adjust, mend, make perfect.

11 For it has been reported to me by Chloe’s people that there is quarreling among you, my brothers. 12 What I mean is that each one of you says, “I follow Paul,” or “I follow Apollos,” or “I follow Cephas,” or “I follow Christ.”

  • Acts 18:24 A Jew named Apollos, a native Alexandrian, an eloquent man who was powerful in the use of the Scriptures, arrived in Ephesus.
  • John 1:42 and he brought Simon to Jesus. When Jesus saw him, He said, “You are Simon, son of John.[a] You will be called Cephas” (which means “Rock”).
  • Apollos. A Jew from Alexandria who was an eloquent speaker and knowledgeable in the Scriptures. He ministered in Corinth after Paul left.
  • Cephas. Aramaic name of Peter.

13 Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?

  • 2 Corinthians 11:4 For if a person comes and preaches another Jesus, whom we did not preach, or you receive a different spirit, which you had not received, or a different gospel, which you had not accepted, you put up with it splendidly!
  • Is Christ divided – Paul is speaking rhetorically. Obviously Christ is not divided. Christ died for all, for everyone. He is saying this because currently their congregation is divided.

14 I thank God that I baptized none of you except Crispus and Gaius,

  • Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed the Lord, along with his whole household. Many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized.
  • Romans 16:23  Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus greet you.
  • Crispus – The leader of the synagogue in Corinth. Converted under Paul’s ministry.
    • Acts 18:8 Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, along with his whole household. Many of the Corinthians, when they heard, believed and were baptized. 
  • Gaius
    • Romans 16:23 Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. 

15 so that no one may say that you were baptized in my name. 16 (I did baptize also the household of Stephanas. Beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized anyone else.)

  • household of Stephanas – during this timeframe, it was customary for the household to follow the pattern set by the head of the household.

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

  • Paul did baptize a few individuals, but his primary mission was to preach the Gospel.
    • Acts 9:15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for this man is my chosen instrument to take my name to Gentiles, kings, and Israelites.

Christ the Wisdom and Power of God

18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

  • 2 Corinthians 2:15 For to God we are the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing.
  • Acts 17:18 Then also, some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers argued with him. Some said, “What is this pseudo-intellectual trying to say?”
  • Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is God’s power for salvation to everyone who believes, first to the Jew, and also to the Greek.
  • Word of the cross – Faithlife Study Bible: The Greeks believed that the gods operated above the limitations of people and would not have allowed themselves to be treated as Jesus was. Jews regarded the cross as a shameful punishment and even a curse from God.
  • Folly – Strongs G3472. moria (mo-ree’-ah). Where we get our word moron from.

19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

  • Isaiah 29:14 therefore I will again confound these people with wonder after wonder. The wisdom of their wise men will vanish, and the understanding of the perceptive will be hidden.
  • Isaiah 29:1 therefore, behold, I will again do wonderful things with this people, with wonder upon wonder; and the wisdom of their wise men shall perish,  and the discernment of their discerning men shall be hidden.” 

20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

  • Isaiah 33:18 Your mind will meditate on the past terror: “Where is the accountant? Where is the tribute collector? Where is the one who spied out our defenses?”
  • Job 12:17 He leads counselors away barefoot and makes judges go mad.
  • Isaiah 44:25 who destroys the omens of the false prophets and makes fools of diviners; who confounds the wise and makes their knowledge foolishness;
  • Isaiah 19:12 Where then are your wise men? Let them tell you that they might know what the Lord of hosts has purposed against Egypt. 
  • scribe – Strongs G1122. grammateus (gram-mat-yooce’). An expert is the Mosaic law. May also mean “city secretary”.
  • debater – Strongs G4804. suzetetes (sood-zay-tay-tace’). disputant. sophist: disputer. MacArthur says a person who argued philosophy.

21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom,

  • Matthew 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees said to Him, “Teacher, we want to see a sign from You.”
  • Mark 8:11 The Pharisees came out and began to argue with Him, demanding of Him a sign from heaven to test Him.
  • John 4:48 Jesus told him, “Unless you people see signs and wonders, you will not believe.”
  • The Jews “stumbled” over the signRomans 9:31-33 but Israel, pursuing a law of righteousness, did not arrive at that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as though it were by works. They stumbled over the stumbling stone 33 just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”

23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles,

  • Isaiah 8:14 He will be a sanctuary; but for the two houses of Israel, He will be a stone to stumble over and a rock to trip over, and a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.
  • Luke 2:34 Then Simeon blessed them and told His mother Mary: “Indeed, this child is destined to cause the fall and rise of many in Israel and to be a sign that will be opposed
  • John 6:60 Therefore, when many of His disciples heard this, they said, “This teaching is hard! Who can accept it?”
  • Galatians 5:11 Now brothers, if I still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. 

24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.

  • Romans 1:4 and who has been declared to be the powerful Son of God by the resurrection from the dead according to the Spirit of holiness.
  • Colossians 2:8 Be careful that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit based on human tradition, based on the elemental forces of the world, and not based on Christ.

25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men. 26 For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.

  • John 7:48 Have any of the rulers or Pharisees believed in Him?

27 But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;

  • Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because You have hidden these things from the wise and learned and revealed them to infants.

28 God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, 29 so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. 30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

  • Jeremiah 9:23-24 This is what the Lord says: The wise man must not boast in his wisdom; the strong man must not boast in his strength; the wealthy man must not boast in his wealth but let the one who boasts boast about this: that they have the understanding to know me, that I am the LORD, who exercises kindness, justice and righteousness on earth, for in these I delight,” declares the LORD.
  • God uses ordinary people with an extraordinary message to do his work. You don’t have to be special, you just need to be faithful. (quote from Calvary Church, Skip Heitzig).

Chapter Two

Proclaiming Christ Crucified (Return to TOP)

And I, when I came to you, brothers, did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God with lofty speech or wisdom. 2 For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.

  • Galatians 6:14 But as for me, I will never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. The world has been crucified to me through the cross, and I to the world.

3 And I was with you in weakness and in fear and much trembling,

  • Acts 18:1 After this, he left Athens and went to Corinth,
  • 2 Corinthians 4:7 Now we have this treasure in clay jars, so that this extraordinary power may be from God and not from us.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And He has said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.” Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. 10 Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.

4 and my speech and my message were not in plausible words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power,

  • 2 Peter 1:16 For we did not follow cleverly contrived myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;instead, we were eyewitnesses of His majesty.
  • Romans 15:19 by the power of signs and wonders, through the power of the Spirit of God. So from Jerusalem all the way around to Illyricum, I have fully proclaimed the gospel of Christ.

5 so that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Wisdom from the Spirit

6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.

  • Hebrews 6:1 Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God
  • Hebrews 10:14 For by one offering He has perfected forever those who are being sanctified.

7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.

  • Ephesians 3:4-5 by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ), 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:
  • Ephesians 3:8-12 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ, 9 and to bring to light what is the administration of the mystery which for ages has been hidden in God who created all things; 10 so that the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known through the church to the rulers and the authorities in the heavenly places. 11 This was in accordance with the eternal purpose which He carried out in Christ Jesus our Lord, 12 in whom we have boldness and confident access through faith in Him. 
  • Matthew 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

  • Luke 23:34 Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” And they divided up his clothes by casting lots.
  • 1 Timothy 1:12-13 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service, 13 even though I was formerly a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent aggressor. Yet I was shown mercy because I acted ignorantly in unbelief; 

9 But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—

  • Isaiah 64:4 Since ancient times no one has heard, no ear has perceived, no eye has seen any God besides you, who acts on behalf of those who wait for him

10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.

  • Matthew 13:11 He replied, “Because the knowledge of the secrets of the kingdom of heaven has been given to you, but not to them.

11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

  • Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable his judgments, and his paths beyond tracing out!

12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.

  • Romans 8:15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
  • 2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,
  • 2 Peter 1:20-21 But know this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture is a matter of one’s own interpretation, 21 for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.

13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. 14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

  • Matthew 16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, “Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns.”
  • Psalms 119:18 Open my eyes, that I may see Wondrous things from Your law.
  • John 5:37-39 And the Father who sent Me, He has testified of Me. You have neither heard His voice at any time nor seen His form. 38 “You do not have His word abiding in you, for you do not believe Him whom He sent. 39 “You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me;
  • Deuteronomy 29:29 “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

15 The spiritual person judges all things, but is himself to be judged by no one.

  • 1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.
  • Luke 24:45 And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures.

16 “For who has understood the mind of the Lord so as to instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

  • Job 15:8 Do you listen in on God’s council? Do you have a monopoly on wisdom?
  • John 15:15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.
  • Isaiah 40:13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD, Or as His counselor has taught Him?

Chapter Three

Divisions in the Church (Return to TOP)

3 But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.

  • Hebrews 5:13 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.

2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready,

  • Hebrews 5:12 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness.
  • 1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,
  • John 16:12 “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.

3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is jealousy and strife among you, are you not of the flesh and behaving only in a human way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely human? 5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each.

  • 2 Corinthians 3:3 You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts.
  • Apollos? Paul? = “factionslism.” They were showing “carnality” (lack of spiritual understanding).

6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth.

  • Acts 18:4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:14 We are not going too far in our boasting, as would be the case if we had not come to you, for we did get as far as you with the gospel of Christ.
  • Acts 18:24 Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria, came to Ephesus. He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:5 Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God.

7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth.

  • Psalms 62:12 and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”
  • Romans 2:6 God “will repay each person according to what they have done.”
  • Ephesians 2:8-9 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

8 He who plants and he who waters are one, and each will receive his wages according to his labor.

  • Acts 15:4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:1 As God’s co-workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain.

9 For we are God’s fellow workers. You are God’s field, God’s building.

  • Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
  • Colossians 2:7 rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
  • Hebrews 3:3-4 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house. 4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.

10 According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. Through him we received grace and apostleship to call all the Gentiles to the obedience that comes from faith for his name’s sake.

  • Romans 15:18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ has not accomplished through me, in word and deed, to make the Gentiles obedient—

11 For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw— 13 each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done.

  • 1 Peter 1:7 These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.
  • Zechariah 13:9 I will bring the one-third through the fire, Will refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’ ”
  • 1 Peter 1:17-18 if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers,
  • Revelation 3:18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward.

  • Matthew 25:21, 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’ 23 His lord said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’
  • Philippians 3:13-14 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. 
  • 2 Timothy 4:7-8 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith; 8 in the future there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day; and not only to me, but also to all who have loved His appearing.

15 If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

  • Romans 8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.

16 Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?

  • 2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”

17 If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy him. For God’s temple is holy, and you are that temple. 18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is wise in this age, let him become a fool that he may become wise.

  • Proverbs 3:7 Do not be wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD and shun evil.

19 For the wisdom of this world is folly with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,”

  • Job 5:13 He catches the wise in their craftiness, and the schemes of the wily are swept away.

20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.”

  • Psalms 94:11 The LORD knows all human plans; he knows that they are futile

21 So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours,

  • 2 Corinthians 4:5 For what we preach is not ourselves, but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your servants for Jesus’ sake.

22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.

  • Romans 14:8 If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord.
  • 2 Corinthians 10:7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
  • Galatians 3:29 If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Chapter Four

AD 59

John MacArthur: Since the immature believers in Corinth were enamored by “personalities,” that is, high-profile Christian leaders, Paul took the opportunity to focus on the true nature and practice of godly servants. He emphasized the necessity of pure motives and genuine humility. Christ-honoring servants are not only identified as stewards (managers) of the mysteries of God, but also as caring and committed spiritual fathers.

The Ministry of Apostles (Return to TOP)

1 This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.

  • Matthew 24:45 “Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom the master has put in charge of the servants in his household to give them their food at the proper time?
  • Colossians 1:25 I have become its servant by the commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness—
  • Luke 12:42 The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time?
  • Titus 1:7 Since an overseer manages God’s household, he must be blameless—not overbearing, not quick-tempered, not given to drunkenness, not violent, not pursuing dishonest gain.
  • mysteries of God (John MacArthur). “Mystery” is used in the New Testament to refer to divine revelation previously hidden. Here the word is used in its broadest sense as God’s full revealed truth in the New Testament. As God’s servant and steward, Paul had to oversee and dispense all scriptural truth.
    • Acts 20:20, 21, 27 – how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.
  • mysteries of GodThe Expositors Bible Commentary – indicates those mysteries of salvation God has revealed in his Word – the things man cannot discover by human wisdom. These truths of the cross have been entrusted to Christian workers to be carefully used and guarded.

2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. 3 But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.

  • Paul is saying that a human court isn’t what matters, even if he is the one being judged. He isn’t being arrogant or flippant here.

4 For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me.

  • not thereby acquitted – even Paul recognizes that he is not perfect; even Paul has failed by sin and not being faithful.
  • Lord who judges me – God is the only person qualified to Judge mankind.
    • 2 Timothy 2:15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
    • 2 Corinthians 5:9-10 Therefore we also have as our ambition, whether at home or absent, to be pleasing to Him. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.

5 Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God.

  • The Expositors Bible Commentary – Paul is saying that the Corinthians were actually making a final judgment regarding his (Paul’s) faithfulness. His use of the “krino” word for “judge” indicates that the Corinthians were making a hasty and inappropriate judgement on their part.
  • Revelation 20:12 And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Another book was opened, which is the book of life. The dead were judged according to what they had done as recorded in the books.
  • Romans 2:29 No, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a person’s praise is not from other people, but from God.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
  • NOTE OF CAUTION HERE! You must keep reading to keep scripture in context. Judgment of believers will be covered in later verses, and in 2 Corinthians too. There is judgment of members in the body of Christ, like a Matthew 18 “church discipline” event. Also, God judges unbelievers, not us.

Note for upcoming verses, 6 to 13. The Expositors Bible Commentary. Paul describes the difference between himself and Apollos and some other Christian leaders. The Corinthians, he says, were proud and claimed to be spiritually rich. On the other hand, Paul and Apollos were considered weak and were despised and persecuted.

6 I have applied all these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, brothers, that you may learn by us not to go beyond what is written, that none of you may be puffed up in favor of one against another.

  • go beyond what is writtenThe Expositors Bible Commentary – If they learn not to go beyond the teaching of the Scripture about how they should treat God’s teachers and all of God’s people, then the result will be that they will not be conceited in taking a stand for one teacher or person against another.
  • puffed up
    • 1 Corinthians 4:18-19  Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you. 19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power.
    • 1 Corinthians 5:2  And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn?
    • 1 Corinthians 8:1 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.
    • 1 Corinthians 13:4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.

7 For who sees anything different in you? What do you have that you did not receive? If then you received it, why do you boast as if you did not receive it?

  • What do you have that you did not receive – Some Corinthians were boasting about their spiritual gifts, so Paul is reminding them that it was God who gave them the gifts. They should not be boasting about something that was given to them.
  • boast:
    • John 3:27 To this John replied, “A person can receive only what is given them from heaven.
    • How can mankind boast about anything? His very breath, his mind, his spirit, is all given from God above.

8 Already you have all you want! Already you have become rich! Without us you have become kings! And would that you did reign, so that we might share the rule with you!

  • Revelation 3:17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.
  • John MacArthur – In a severe rebuke, Paul heaps on false praise, sarcastically suggesting that those Corinthians who were self-satisfied had already achieved spiritual greatness. They were similar to the Laodiceans mentioned in Revelation 3:17 above.
  • might share the rule [other bibles use “reign” here] – Paul truly wished that the Jesus had returned so that everyone could share in the glory of the Lord.

9 For I think that God has exhibited us apostles as last of all, like men sentenced to death, because we have become a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. 10 We are fools for Christ’s sake, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honor, but we in disrepute.

  • like men sentenced to deathJohn MacArthur – Like doomed gladiators, they were ridiculed, spit on, imprisoned, and beaten, yet God glorified His name through them as He used them to build His kingdom.
  • but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strongJohn MacArthur – Again, Paul using sarcasm, this time on himself as if mimicking the attitude of the proud Corinthians toward him, Paul rebukes them.
  • Acts 17:18 A group of Epicurean and Stoic philosophers began to debate with him. Some of them asked, “What is this babbler trying to say?” Others remarked, “He seems to be advocating foreign gods.” They said this because Paul was preaching the good news about Jesus and the resurrection.
  • 2 Corinthians 13:9 We are glad whenever we are weak but you are strong; and our prayer is that you may be fully restored.
  • Matthew 19:28 Jesus said to them, “Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man will sit on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

11 To the present hour we hunger and thirst, we are poorly dressed and buffeted and homeless, 12 and we labor, working with our own hands. When reviled, we bless; when persecuted, we endure;

  • working with our own hands – some biblical commentaries say that the Corinthians thought that physical labor was beneath them.
  • Acts 18:3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.
  • Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,

13 when slandered, we entreat. We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things.

  • We have become, and are still, like the scum of the world, the refuse of all things. – John MacArthur – The Corinthians thought that they were Kings (verse 8 above), but Paul knew that he was a suffering slave. Paul and his fellow preachers were so designated – not in God’s sight, but in the world’s. What a rebuke of the proud, carnal Corinthians who saw themselves at the top, while the humble apostle considered himself at the bottom.
  • Lamentations 3:45 You have made us scum and refuse among the nations.

14 I do not write these things to make you ashamed, but to admonish you as my beloved children.

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:11 For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children,
  • admonish you – something is wrong here, and needs to be corrected.
    • Acts 20:31 Therefore be alert, remembering that for three years I did not cease night or day to admonish every one with tears.
  • children – just like a true loving parent, even when their children sin and disobey, a loving parent still loves and teaches their child.

15 For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.

  • Acts 18:11 So Paul stayed in Corinth for a year and a half, teaching them the word of God.
  • Galatians 4:19 My dear children, for whom I am again in the pains of childbirth until Christ is formed in you,
  • countless guides – in other words, nobody cared for them like Paul cared for them.

16 I urge you, then, be imitators of me.

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:6 You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit.

17 That is why I sent you Timothy, my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, to remind you of my ways in Christ, as I teach them everywhere in every church.

  • Acts 19:22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.
  • Philippians 2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, that I also may be cheered when I receive news about you.
  • 1 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy my true son in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • 2 Timothy 1:2 To Timothy, my dear son: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
  • Paul sent Timothy, who was highly trained in the gospel, in hopes that Timothy would help this church in Corinth to get straightened out; to get back on the correct path.

18 Some are arrogant, as though I were not coming to you.

  • arrogant. Some of them thought that they would never see Paul again. But, Lord willing, Paul now planned on returning. He would not let them continue in this incorrect behavior, for their own good as well as the Gospel.

19 But I will come to you soon, if the Lord wills, and I will find out not the talk of these arrogant people but their power.

  • Acts 19:21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:15 Because I was confident of this, I wanted to visit you first so that you might benefit twice.
  • Acts 18:21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.
  • Hebrews 6:3 And God permitting, we will do so.
  • James 4:15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

20 For the kingdom of God does not consist in talk but in power.

  • 1 Thessalonians 1:5 because our gospel came to you not simply with words but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake.

21 What do you wish? Shall I come to you with a rod, or with love in a spirit of gentleness?

  • 2 Corinthians 10:2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.
  • rodJohn MacArthur – Spiritual leaders need to use the rod of correction if people persist in sin. The pattern for that correction is illustrated and explained in 5:1-13 (next chapter).

Chapter Five

Sexual Immorality Defiles the Church (Return to TOP)

It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. 2 And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you. 3 For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing.

  • Colossians 2:5 For though I am absent from you in body, I am present with you in spirit and delight to see how disciplined you are and how firm your faith in Christ is.

4 When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present, with the power of our Lord Jesus,

  • Matthew 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
  • John 20:23 If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”

5 you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord.

  • Psalms 109:6 Appoint someone evil to oppose my enemy; let an accuser stand at his right hand.
  • 1 Timothy 1:20 Among them are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I have handed over to Satan to be taught not to blaspheme.
  • Acts 26:18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’

6 Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?

  • Galatians 5:9 “A little yeast works through the whole batch of dough.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:17 Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus,

7 Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.

  • Exodus 13:3, 7 And Moses said to the people: “Remember this day in which you went out of Egypt, out of the house of bondage; for by strength of hand the LORD brought you out of this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. 7 Unleavened bread shall be eaten seven days. And no leavened bread shall be seen among you, nor shall leaven be seen among you in all your quarters.
  • Isaiah 53:7 He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.
  • John 19:14 It was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about noon. “Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews.

8 Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

  • Exodus 12:15 For seven days you are to eat bread made without yeast. On the first day remove the yeast from your houses, for whoever eats anything with yeast in it from the first day through the seventh must be cut off from Israel.
  • Deuteronomy 16:3 Do not eat it with bread made with yeast, but for seven days eat unleavened bread, the bread of affliction, because you left Egypt in haste—so that all the days of your life you may remember the time of your departure from Egypt.
  • Matthew 16:6Be careful,” Jesus said to them. “Be on your guard against the yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees.”

9 I wrote to you in my letter not to associate with sexually immoral people—

  • 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

10 not at all meaning the sexually immoral of this world, or the greedy and swindlers, or idolaters, since then you would need to go out of the world.

  • John 17:15 My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one.

11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler—not even to eat with such a one.

  • Matthew 18:17 If they still refuse to listen, tell it to the church; and if they refuse to listen even to the church, treat them as you would a pagan or a tax collector.
  • Galatians 2:12 For before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles because he was afraid of those who belonged to the circumcision group.

12 For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Is it not those inside the church whom you are to judge?

  • Mark 4:11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables

13 God judges those outside. “Purge the evil person from among you.”

  • Deuteronomy 13:5 That prophet or dreamer must be put to death for inciting rebellion against the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt and redeemed you from the land of slavery. That prophet or dreamer tried to turn you from the way the LORD your God commanded you to follow. You must purge the evil from among you.

Chapter Six

Lawsuits Against Believers (Return to TOP)

When one of you has a grievance against another, does he dare go to law before the unrighteous instead of the saints? 2 Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world is to be judged by you, are you incompetent to try trivial cases?

  • Psalms 49:14 They are like sheep and are destined to die; death will be their shepherd (but the upright will prevail over them in the morning). Their forms will decay in the grave, far from their princely mansions.

3 Do you not know that we are to judge angels? How much more, then, matters pertaining to this life!

  • 2 Peter 2:4 For if God did not spare angels when they sinned, but sent them to hell, putting them in chains of darkness to be held for judgment;

4 So if you have such cases, why do you lay them before those who have no standing in the church? 5 I say this to your shame. Can it be that there is no one among you wise enough to settle a dispute between the brothers, 6 but brother goes to law against brother, and that before unbelievers? 7 To have lawsuits at all with one another is already a defeat for you. Why not rather suffer wrong? Why not rather be defrauded?

  • Matthew 5:39-40 But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. 40 If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also.
  • Matthew 18:21-22 Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.
  • Proverbs 20:22 Do not say, “I’ll pay you back for this wrong!” Wait for the LORD, and he will avenge you.

8 But you yourselves wrong and defraud—even your own brothers! 9 Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,

  • Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
  • Genesis 18:20 And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave,
  • Leviticus 18:22 You shall not lie with a male as with a woman. It is an abomination.
  • Romans 1:26-27 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
  • Galatians 5:21 and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.
  • Ephesians 5:5 For of this you can be sure: No immoral, impure or greedy person—such a person is an idolater—has any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.
  • 1 Timothy 1:9 We also know that the law is made not for the righteous but for lawbreakers and rebels, the ungodly and sinful, the unholy and irreligious, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers,

10 nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 11 And such were some of you. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
  • John 3:3-8 Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 4 Nicodemus said to Him, “How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother’s womb and be born?” 5 Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”
  • 2 Corinthians 5;17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.
  • Romans 6:17-18, 22 But God be thanked that though you were slaves of sin, yet you obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. 18 And having been set free from sin, you became slaves of righteousness. 22 But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life.
  • Hebrews 10:22 let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water.
  • Romans 3:26 to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.
  • Romans 4:22-25 And therefore “it was accounted to him for righteousness.” 23 Now it was not written for his sake alone that it was imputed to him, 24 but also for us. It shall be imputed to us who believe in Him who raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead, 25 who was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:21 For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.
  • Philippians 3:8-9 Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
  • 1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit,

Flee Sexual Immorality

12 “All things are lawful for me,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful for me,” but I will not be dominated by anything.

  • Romans 7:6 But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.
  • Romans 8:13, 21 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 21 because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

13 “Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.

  • Matthew 15:17 “Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?
  • Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,
  • Colossians 2:22 These rules, which have to do with things that are all destined to perish with use, are based on merely human commands and teachings.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:3 It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;
  • Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
  • Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace

14 And God raised the Lord and will also raise us up by his power.

  • Romans 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
  • Romans 6:8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.
  • 2 Corinthians 4:14 because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you to himself.
  • Ephesians 1:19 and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength

15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ and make them members of a prostitute? Never!

  • Romans 12:5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
  • Ephesians 1:22-23 And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, 23 which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.
  • John 7:38-39 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” 39 But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.
  • Acts 1:8 But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
  • Romans 8:9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.

16 Or do you not know that he who is joined to a prostitute becomes one body with her? For, as it is written, “The two will become one flesh.”

  • Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

17 But he who is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with him.

  • John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
  • John 17:20-23 “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.
  • Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;

18 Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.

  • Romans 6:12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.
  • Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.
  • Romans 1:24 Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another.
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:4 that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,

19 Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own,

  • 2 Corinthians 6:16 What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.”
  • Romans 14:7 For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone.

20 for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.

  • Acts 20:28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.
  • Galatians 3:13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: “Cursed is everyone who is hung on a pole.”
  • 1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,
  • 2 Peter 2:1 But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.

Chapter Seven

Principles for Marriage (Return to TOP)

Now concerning the matters about which you wrote: “It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.” 2 But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband 3 The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.

  • Exodus 21:10 If he marries another woman, he must not deprive the first one of her food, clothing and marital rights.

4 For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 5 Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.

  • Joel 2:16 Gather the people, consecrate the assembly; bring together the elders, gather the children, those nursing at the breast. Let the bridegroom leave his room and the bride her chamber.
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:5 For this reason, when I could stand it no longer, I sent to find out about your faith. I was afraid that in some way the tempter had tempted you and that our labors might have been in vain.

6 Now as a concession, not a command, I say this.

  • 2 Corinthians 8:8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.

7 I wish that all were as I myself am. But each has his own gift from God, one of one kind and one of another.

  • Acts 26:29 Paul replied, “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”

8 To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. 9 But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.

  • 1 Timothy 5:14 So I counsel younger widows to marry, to have children, to manage their homes and to give the enemy no opportunity for slander.

10 To the married I give this charge (not I, but the Lord): the wife should not separate from her husband

  • Malachi 2:14 You ask, “Why?” It is because the LORD is the witness between you and the wife of your youth. You have been unfaithful to her, though she is your partner, the wife of your marriage covenant.
  • Matthew 5:32 But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, makes her the victim of adultery, and anyone who marries a divorced woman commits adultery.

11 (but if she does, she should remain unmarried or else be reconciled to her husband), and the husband should not divorce his wife. 12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him. 14 For the unbelieving husband is made holy because of his wife, and the unbelieving wife is made holy because of her husband. Otherwise your children would be unclean, but as it is, they are holy.

  • Malachi 2:15 Has not the one God made you? You belong to him in body and spirit. And what does the one God seek? Godly offspring. So be on your guard, and do not be unfaithful to the wife of your youth.

15 But if the unbelieving partner separates, let it be so. In such cases the brother or sister is not enslaved. God has called you to peace.

  • Romans 12:18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

16 For how do you know, wife, whether you will save your husband? Or how do you know, husband, whether you will save your wife?

  • 1 Peter 3:1 Wives, in the same way submit yourselves to your own husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,

Live as You Are Called

17 Only let each person lead the life that the Lord has assigned to him, and to which God has called him. This is my rule in all the churches. 18 Was anyone at the time of his call already circumcised? Let him not seek to remove the marks of circumcision. Was anyone at the time of his call uncircumcised? Let him not seek circumcision.

  • Acts 15:1 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: “Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.”

19 For neither circumcision counts for anything nor uncircumcision, but keeping the commandments of God.

  • Galatians 5:6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
  • John 15:14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

20 Each one should remain in the condition in which he was called. 21 Were you a bondservant when called? Do not be concerned about it. (But if you can gain your freedom, avail yourself of the opportunity.) 22 For he who was called in the Lord as a bondservant is a freedman of the Lord. Likewise he who was free when called is a bondservant of Christ.

  • John 8:36 So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
  • Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
  • Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
  • Ephesians 6:6 Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart.
  • 1 Peter 2:16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves.

23 You were bought with a price; do not become bondservants of men.

  • 1 Peter 1:18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors,
  • Leviticus 25:42 Because the Israelites are my servants, whom I brought out of Egypt, they must not be sold as slaves.

24 So, brothers, in whatever condition each was called, there let him remain with God.

The Unmarried and the Widowed

25 Now concerning the betrothed, I have no command from the Lord, but I give my judgment as one who by the Lord’s mercy is trustworthy.

  • 2 Corinthians 8:8 I am not commanding you, but I want to test the sincerity of your love by comparing it with the earnestness of others.
  • 1 Timothy 1:16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life.
  • 1 Timothy 1:12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service.

26 I think that in view of the present distress it is good for a person to remain as he is. 27 Are you bound to a wife? Do not seek to be free. Are you free from a wife? Do not seek a wife. 28 But if you do marry, you have not sinned, and if a betrothed woman marries, she has not sinned. Yet those who marry will have worldly troubles, and I would spare you that. 29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let those who have wives live as though they had none,

  • Romans 13:11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
  • 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
  • 2 Peter 3:8, 9 But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day. 9The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.

30 and those who mourn as though they were not mourning, and those who rejoice as though they were not rejoicing, and those who buy as though they had no goods, 31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.

  • Psalm 39:6 “Surely everyone goes around like a mere phantom; in vain they rush about, heaping up wealth without knowing whose it will finally be.
  • James 1:10 But the rich should take pride in their humiliation—since they will pass away like a wild flower.
  • James 4:14 Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.
  • 1 Peter 1:24 For, “All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall,
  • 1 Peter 4:7 The end of all things is near. Therefore be alert and of sober mind so that you may pray.
  • 1 John 2:17 The world and its desires pass away, but whoever does the will of God lives forever.

32 I want you to be free from anxieties. The unmarried man is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to please the Lord.

  • 1 Timothy 5:5 The widow who is really in need and left all alone puts her hope in God and continues night and day to pray and to ask God for help.

33 But the married man is anxious about worldly things, how to please his wife, 34 and his interests are divided. And the unmarried or betrothed woman is anxious about the things of the Lord, how to be holy in body and spirit. But the married woman is anxious about worldly things, how to please her husband.

  • Luke 10:40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

35 I say this for your own benefit, not to lay any restraint upon you, but to promote good order and to secure your undivided devotion to the Lord. 36 If anyone thinks that he is not behaving properly toward his betrothed, if his passions are strong, and it has to be, let him do as he wishes: let them marry—it is no sin. 37 But whoever is firmly established in his heart, being under no necessity but having his desire under control, and has determined this in his heart, to keep her as his betrothed, he will do well. 38 So then he who marries his betrothed does well, and he who refrains from marriage will do even better.

  • Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

39 A wife is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to be married to whom she wishes, only in the Lord.

  • Romans 7:2 For example, by law a married woman is bound to her husband as long as he is alive, but if her husband dies, she is released from the law that binds her to him.
  • 2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?

40 Yet in my judgment she is happier if she remains as she is. And I think that I too have the Spirit of God.

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:8 Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his Holy Spirit.

Chapter Eight

Food Offered to Idols (Return to TOP)

8 Now concerning food offered to idols: we know that “all of us possess knowledge.” This “knowledge” puffs up, but love builds up.

  • Acts 15:20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.
  • Romans 14:14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.
  • Romans 14:3 The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.

2 If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know.

  • Galatians 6:3 If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.
  • 1 Timothy 6:4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

3 But if anyone loves God, he is known by God. 4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.”

  • Isaiah 41:24 But you are less than nothing and your works are utterly worthless; whoever chooses you is detestable.
  • Deuteronomy 4:39 Acknowledge and take to heart this day that the LORD is God in heaven above and on the earth below. There is no other.

5 For although there may be so-called gods in heaven or on earth—as indeed there are many “gods” and many “lords”—

  • John 10:34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’?

6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

  • Malachi 2:10 Do we not all have one Father? Did not one God create us? Why do we profane the covenant of our ancestors by being unfaithful to one another?
  • Acts 17:28 For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’
  • John 13:13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am.
  • John 1:3 Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
  • Ephesians 4:4-6 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you also were called in one hope of your calling; 5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism; 6 one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

7 However, not all possess this knowledge. But some, through former association with idols, eat food as really offered to an idol, and their conscience, being weak, is defiled.

  • Romans 14:14 I am convinced, being fully persuaded in the Lord Jesus, that nothing is unclean in itself. But if anyone regards something as unclean, then for that person it is unclean.

8 Food will not commend us to God. We are no worse off if we do not eat, and no better off if we do.

  • Romans 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking, but of righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit,

9 But take care that this right of yours does not somehow become a stumbling block to the weak.

  • Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
  • Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

10 For if anyone sees you who have knowledge eating in an idol’s temple, will he not be encouraged, if his conscience is weak, to eat food offered to idols? 11 And so by your knowledge this weak person is destroyed, the brother for whom Christ died.

  • Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

12 Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ.

  • Matthew 25:40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.

  • Romans 14:21 It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

Chapter Nine

Paul Surrenders His Rights (Return to TOP)

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are not you my workmanship in the Lord?

  • Acts 9:5 “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:12 I persevered in demonstrating among you the marks of a true apostle, including signs, wonders and miracles.
  • Acts 9:3, 17 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”

2 If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you, for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

3 This is my defense to those who would examine me. 4 Do we not have the right to eat and drink?

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:6 We were not looking for praise from people, not from you or anyone else, even though as apostles of Christ we could have asserted our authority.

5 Do we not have the right to take along a believing wife, as do the other apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas?

  • Matthew 13:55 “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son? Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon and Judas?
  • Matthew 8:14 When Jesus came into Peter’s house, he saw Peter’s mother-in-law lying in bed with a fever.

6 Or is it only Barnabas and I who have no right to refrain from working for a living?

  • 2 Thessalonians 3:8 nor did we eat anyone’s food without paying for it. On the contrary, we worked night and day, laboring and toiling so that we would not be a burden to any of you.

7 Who serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard without eating any of its fruit? Or who tends a flock without getting some of the milk?

  • 2 Corinthians 10:4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
  • Deuteronomy 20:6 Has anyone planted a vineyard and not begun to enjoy it? Let him go home, or he may die in battle and someone else enjoy it.

8 Do I say these things on human authority? Does not the Law say the same? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle an ox when it treads out the grain.” Is it for oxen that God is concerned?

  • Deuteronomy 25:4 Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain.

10 Does he not certainly speak for our sake? It was written for our sake, because the plowman should plow in hope and the thresher thresh in hope of sharing in the crop.

  • 2 Timothy 2:6 The hardworking farmer should be the first to receive a share of the crops.

11 If we have sown spiritual things among you, is it too much if we reap material things from you?

  • Romans 15:27 They were pleased to do it, and indeed they owe it to them. For if the Gentiles have shared in the Jews’ spiritual blessings, they owe it to the Jews to share with them their material blessings.

12 If others share this rightful claim on you, do not we even more? Nevertheless, we have not made use of this right, but we endure anything rather than put an obstacle in the way of the gospel of Christ.

  • Acts 20:33 I have not coveted anyone’s silver or gold or clothing.
  • 2 Corinthians 11:12 And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.

13 Do you not know that those who are employed in the temple service get their food from the temple, and those who serve at the altar share in the sacrificial offerings?

  • Leviticus 6:16 Aaron and his sons shall eat the rest of it, but it is to be eaten without yeast in the sanctuary area; they are to eat it in the courtyard of the tent of meeting.

14 In the same way, the Lord commanded that those who proclaim the gospel should get their living by the gospel.

  • Matthew 10:10 no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for the worker is worth his keep.
  • Galatians 6:6 Nevertheless, the one who receives instruction in the word should share all good things with their instructor.

15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.

  • Acts 18:3 and because he was a tentmaker as they were, he stayed and worked with them.
  • 2 Corinthians 11:8-10 I robbed other churches, taking wages from them to minister to you. 9 And when I was present with you, and in need, I was a burden to no one, for what I lacked the brethren who came from Macedonia supplied. And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome to you, and so I will keep myself. 10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, nobody in the regions of Achaia will stop this boasting of mine.

16 For if I preach the gospel, that gives me no ground for boasting. For necessity is laid upon me. Woe to me if I do not preach the gospel!

  • Jeremiah 1:5; 20:9 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I ordained you a prophet to the nations.” 20:9 Then I said, “I will not make mention of Him, Nor speak anymore in His name.” But His word was in my heart like a burning fire Shut up in my bones; I was weary of holding it back, And I could not.
  • Romans 1:14 I am obligated both to Greeks and non-Greeks, both to the wise and the foolish.
  • Acts 9:3-6, 15 As he journeyed he came near Damascus, and suddenly a light shone around him from heaven. 4 Then he fell to the ground, and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” 5 And he said, “Who are You, Lord?” Then the Lord said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.” 6 So he, trembling and astonished, said, “Lord, what do You want me to do?” Then the Lord said to him, “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” 15 But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel.
  • Galatians 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb and called me through His grace,
  • Colossians 1:25 of which I became a minister according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfill the word of God,
  • woe = Hebrews 13:17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

17 For if I do this of my own will, I have a reward, but if not of my own will, I am still entrusted with a stewardship.

  • Galatians 2:7 On the contrary, they recognized that I had been entrusted with the task of preaching the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been to the circumcised.

18 What then is my reward? That in my preaching I may present the gospel free of charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel. 19 For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them.

  • Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.
  • Matthew 18:15 “If your brother or sister sins, go and point out their fault, just between the two of you. If they listen to you, you have won them over.
  • Proverbs 11:30 The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, And he who wins souls is wise.

20 To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews. To those under the law I became as one under the law (though not being myself under the law) that I might win those under the law.

  • Romans 9:3 For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh,
  • Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved.
  • Romans 11:14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them.
  • Acts 16:3 Paul wanted to take him along on the journey, so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was a Greek.

21 To those outside the law I became as one outside the law (not being outside the law of God but under the law of Christ) that I might win those outside the law.

  • Galatians 3:2 I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?
  • Romans 2:12 All who sin apart from the law will also perish apart from the law, and all who sin under the law will be judged by the law.
  • James 1:25 But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

22 To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all people, that by all means I might save some.

  • Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
  • Romans 11:14 in the hope that I may somehow arouse my own people to envy and save some of them.

23 I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings. 24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

  • Galatians 2:2 I went in response to a revelation and, meeting privately with those esteemed as leaders, I presented to them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. I wanted to be sure I was not running and had not been running my race in vain.

25 Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath [crown], but we an imperishable.

  • James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
  • 2 Timothy 4:8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.

26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

  • 2 Timothy 2:5 Similarly, anyone who competes as an athlete does not receive the victor’s crown except by competing according to the rules.

27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.

  • Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.
  • Romans 6:18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
  • Jeremiah 6:30 They are called rejected silver, because the LORD has rejected them.”
  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

Chapter Ten

Warning Against Idolatry (Return to TOP)

10 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,

  • Exodus 13:21 By day the LORD went ahead of them in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, so that they could travel by day or night.
  • Exodus 14:22 and the Israelites went through the sea on dry ground, with a wall of water on their right and on their left.

2 and all were baptized into Moses in the cloud and in the sea, 3 and all ate the same spiritual food,

  • Exodus 16:15 When the Israelites saw it, they said to each other, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. Moses said to them, “It is the bread the LORD has given you to eat.

4 and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ. 5 Nevertheless, with most of them God was not pleased, for they were overthrown in the wilderness.

  • Numbers 20:8-12, 24 “Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.” 9 So Moses took the rod from before the LORD as He commanded him. 10 And Moses and Aaron gathered the assembly together before the rock; and he said to them, “Hear now, you rebels! Must we bring water for you out of this rock?” 11 Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly, and the congregation and their animals drank. 12 Then the LORD spoke to Moses and Aaron, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.” 24 “Aaron shall be gathered to his people, for he shall not enter the land which I have given to the children of Israel, because you rebelled against My word at the water of Meribah.

6 Now these things took place as examples for us, that we might not desire evil as they did.

  • Numbers 11:4 The rabble with them began to crave other food, and again the Israelites started wailing and said, “If only we had meat to eat!

7 Do not be idolaters as some of them were; as it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.”

  • Exodus 32:28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.

8 We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day.

  • Exodus 32:35 So the LORD plagued the people because of what they did with the calf which Aaron made.
  • Revelation 2:14 Nevertheless, I have a few things against you: There are some among you who hold to the teaching of Balaam, who taught Balak to entice the Israelites to sin so that they ate food sacrificed to idols and committed sexual immorality.
  • Psalms 106:29 they aroused the LORD’s anger by their wicked deeds, and a plague broke out among them.

9 We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents,

  • Exodus 17:2, 7 Therefore the people quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water that we may drink.” And Moses said to them, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you test the LORD?” 7 He named the place Massah and Meribah because of the quarrel of the sons of Israel, and because they tested the LORD, saying, “Is the LORD among us, or not?”
  • Numbers 21:6 Then the LORD sent venomous snakes among them; they bit the people and many Israelites died.

10 nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer.

  • Exodus 16:2 In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron.
  • Numbers 14:37 these men who were responsible for spreading the bad report about the land were struck down and died of a plague before the LORD.
  • Exodus 12:23 When the LORD goes through the land to strike down the Egyptians, he will see the blood on the top and sides of the doorframe and will pass over that doorway, and he will not permit the destroyer to enter your houses and strike you down.

11 Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come.

  • Romans 15:4 For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope.
  • Philippians 4:5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

12 Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.

  • Isaiah 37:36-38 Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses—all dead. 37 So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh. 38 Now it came to pass, as he was worshiping in the house of Nisroch his god, that his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword; and they escaped into the land of Ararat. Then Esarhaddon his son reigned in his place.
  • Revelation 3:1-3, 17 “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. 2 Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die, for I have not found your works perfect before God. 3 Remember therefore how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent. Therefore if you will not watch, I will come upon you as a thief, and you will not know what hour I will come upon you. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked—
  • Romans 11:20 Granted. But they were broken off because of unbelief, and you stand by faith. Do not be arrogant, but tremble.

13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

  • Matthew 6:13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
  • Psalms 125:3 The scepter of the wicked will not remain over the land allotted to the righteous, for then the righteous might use their hands to do evil.

14 Therefore, my beloved, flee from idolatry.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:17 Therefore, “Come out from them and be separate, says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you.”

15 I speak as to sensible people; judge for yourselves what I say. 16 The cup of blessing that we bless, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread that we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ?

  • Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
  • Acts 2:42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.
  • Acts 20:28 Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.
  • Romans 3:25 whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,
  • Ephesians 1:7 In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace
  • Colossians 1:20 and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
  • 1 Peter 1:19 but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.
  • 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.
  • Revelation 1:5 and from Jesus Christ, the faithful witness, the firstborn from the dead, and the ruler over the kings of the earth. To Him who loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood,

17 Because there is one bread, we who are many are one body, for we all partake of the one bread. 18 Consider the people of Israel: are not those who eat the sacrifices participants in the altar?

  • Romans 4:12 And he is then also the father of the circumcised who not only are circumcised but who also follow in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.
  • Romans 4:1 What then shall we say that Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh, discovered in this matter?
  • Leviticus 3:3 From the fellowship offering you are to bring a food offering to the LORD: the internal organs and all the fat that is connected to them,
  • Israel
    • Leviticus 7:15-18 ‘Now as for the flesh of the sacrifice of his thanksgiving peace offerings, it shall be eaten on the day of his offering; he shall not leave any of it over until morning. 16 But if the sacrifice of his offering is a vow or a voluntary offering, it shall be eaten the same day that he offers his sacrifice; but on the next day the remainder of it also may be eaten; 17 the remainder of the flesh of the sacrifice on the third day must be burned with fire. 18 And if any of the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace offering is eaten at all on the third day, it shall not be accepted, nor shall it be imputed to him; it shall be an abomination to him who offers it, and the person who eats of it shall bear guilt.

19 What do I imply then? That food offered to idols is anything, or that an idol is anything? 20 No, I imply that what pagans sacrifice they offer to demons and not to God. I do not want you to be participants with demons.

  • Leviticus 17:7 They must no longer offer any of their sacrifices to the goat idols to whom they prostitute themselves. This is to be a lasting ordinance for them and for the generations to come.

21 You cannot drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of demons. You cannot partake of the table of the Lord and the table of demons.

  • 2 Corinthians 6:15 What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? Or what does a believer have in common with an unbeliever?
  • Deuteronomy 32:38 the gods who ate the fat of their sacrifices and drank the wine of their drink offerings? Let them rise up to help you! Let them give you shelter!

22 Shall we provoke the Lord to jealousy? Are we stronger than he?

  • jealousy:
    • Deuteronomy 32:21 They made me jealous by what is no god and angered me with their worthless idols. I will make them envious by those who are not a people; I will make them angry by a nation that has no understanding.
    • Jeremiah 25:6, 9 and do not follow other gods to serve them and to worship them, and do not provoke Me to anger with the work of your hands, then I will do you no harm.’ 9 behold, I will send and take all the families of the north,’ says the LORD, ‘and Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon, My servant, and will bring them against this land, against its inhabitants, and against these nations all around, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, a hissing, and perpetual desolations.
    • 1 Corinthians 11:30 For this reason many among you are weak and sick, and a number are asleep.
    • Ezekiel 22:14 Will your courage endure or your hands be strong in the day I deal with you? I the LORD have spoken, and I will do it.

Do All to the Glory of God

23 “All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up [edify].

  • build up / edify:
    • Acts 20:32 “So now, brethren, I commend you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.
    • 2 Corinthians 12:19 Again, do you think that we excuse ourselves to you? We speak before God in Christ. But we do all things, beloved, for your edification.
    • Ephesians 4:12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ,
    • 2 Timothy 3:16-17 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.

24 Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. 25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

  • 1 Timothy 4:4 For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving,

26 For “the earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof.”

  • Psalms 24:1 A Psalm of David. The earth is the LORD’s, and all its fullness, The world and those who dwell therein.
  • Exodus 19:5 Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine,

27 If one of the unbelievers invites you to dinner and you are disposed to go, eat whatever is set before you without raising any question on the ground of conscience.

  • Luke 10:7 Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages. Do not move around from house to house.

28 But if someone says to you, “This has been offered in sacrifice,” then do not eat it, for the sake of the one who informed you, and for the sake of conscience—

  • Deuteronomy 10:14 To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it.

29 I do not mean your conscience, but his. For why should my liberty be determined by someone else’s conscience?

  • Romans 14:6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

30 If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?

  • Romans 14:6 Whoever regards one day as special does so to the Lord. Whoever eats meat does so to the Lord, for they give thanks to God; and whoever abstains does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God.

31 So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

  • Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

32 Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God,

  • Romans 14:13 Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.

33 just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.

  • Romans 15:2 Each of us should please our neighbors for their good, to build them up.

Chapter Eleven

1 Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

  • Ephesians 5:1 Follow God’s example, therefore, as dearly loved children

Head coverings. (Return to TOP)

2 Now I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I delivered them to you. 3 But I want you to understand that the head of every man is Christ, the head of a wife is her husband, and the head of Christ is God.

  • Christ:
    • Ephesians 4:15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ
  • man / husband:
    • Isaiah 3:12 As for My people, children are their oppressors, And women rule over them. O My people! Those who lead you cause you to err, And destroy the way of your paths.”
    • Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.
    • Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”
  • John 14:28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.
  • NIV STUDY BIBLE comments verse 3 “Submission”
    • Submission is a key element in the smooth functioning of any business, government, or family.
    • God ordained submission in certain relationships to prevent chaos. It is essential to understanding that submission is not surrender, withdrawal, or apathy.
    • It does NOT mean inferiority, because God created all people in his image and because all have equal value. 
    • Submission is mutual commitment and cooperation.
    • Thus, God calls for submission among EQUALS. He did not make man superior; he made a way for the man and woman to work together.
    • Jesus Christ, although equal with God the Father, submitted to him to carry out the plan for salvation.
    • Likewise, although equal to man under God, the wife should submit to her husband for the sake of their marriage and family.
    • Submission between equals is submission by choice, not force. We serve God in these relationships by willing submitting to others in our church, to our spouses, and to our government leaders. 

4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head, 5 but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven.

  • NIV Life Application Bible – commentary on verses 2 to 16
    • In this section Paul’s main concern is irreverence in worship.  We need to read it in the context of the situation in Corinth. The matter of wearing hats or head coverings, although seemingly insignificant, had become a big problem because two cultural backgrounds were colliding. Jewish women always covered their heads in worship, for a woman to uncover her head in public was a sign of loose morals. On the other hand, Greek women may have been used to worshiping without head coverings. 
    • This section focuses primarily on “proper attitudes” and conduct in worship, NOT on the marriage relationship or on the role of women in the church. 
    • While Paul’s specific instructions may be cultural (women covering their heads in worship), the principles behind his specific instructions are timeless, principles like respect for spouse, reverence and appropriateness in worship, and focus of all life on God.
    • If anything you do can easily offend members and divide the church, then change your ways to promote church unity.
    • Thus Paul told the women who were not wearing head coverings to wear them, not because it was a Scriptural command, but because it kept the congregation from dividing over a petty issue that served only to take people’s mind off Christ. 
  • Matthew Henry commentary “HOW THE WOMAN DISHONORS HER HEAD”
    • The woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, namely the man. She appears in the dress of her superior, and throws off the token of her subjection She might, with equal decency (or indecency), cut her hair short, or cut it close, which was the custom of the man in that age. This would be in a manner to declare that she was desirous of changing sexes, a manifest (striving after) that superiority which God had conferred on the other sex. The sexes should not strive to change places. The order in which divine wisdom has placed persons and things is best and fittest; to endeavor to amend it is to destroy all order, and introduce confusion. The woman should keep to the rank God has chosen for her, and not dishonor her head; for this, in the result, is to dishonor God. If she was made out of the man, and for the man, and made to be the glory of the man, she should do nothing, especially in public, that looks like a wish of having this order inverted. We should learn from all to behave in the public assemblies of divine worship so as to express a reverence for God, and a content and satisfaction with that rank in which He has placed us. 

6 For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head.

  • Numbers 5:18 After the priest has had the woman stand before the LORD, he shall loosen her hair and place in her hands the reminder-offering, the grain offering for jealousy, while he himself holds the bitter water that brings a curse.

7 For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man.

  • Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

8 For man was not made from woman, but woman from man.

  • Matthew Henry commentary:
    • Another reason against this conduct is that the man is the representative of that glorious dominion and headship which God has over the world. It is the man, who is set at the head of this lower creation. Woman is the glory of the man: She is his representative. She, too, has dominion over the inferior creatures, and is God’s representative., too, but it is second-hand. She is the image of God, inasmuch as she is the image of the man. The man was made first, and made head of the reation here below, and in that, the image of the divine dominion. The woman was made out of the man, and shone with a reflection of his glory, but made superior to the other creatures, but in subjection to her husband, and deriving that honor from him out of whom she was made. She was naturally, therefore, made subject to him, because she was made for him, help and comfort. 
  • 1 Timothy 2:11-13 Let a woman learn in silence with all submission. 12 And I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man, but to be in silence. 13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve.

9 Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. 10 That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels.

  • angels:
    • Matthew 18:10 “Take heed that you do not despise one of these little ones, for I say to you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father who is in heaven.
    • Ephesians 3:9-10 and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places,
    • Job 38:4, 7 “Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth? Tell Me, if you have understanding. 7 When the morning stars sang together, And all the sons of God shouted for joy?
  • Matthew Henry:
    • Some say, because of “evil angels.” The woman was first deceived by the devil, which increased her subjection to man. Evil angel (demonic spirits) will be sure to mix in all Christian assemblies.  
    • Some say, because of “good angels.” Jews and Christians have had an opinion that these ministering spirits are present in their assemblies. Their presence should restrain Christians from all indecencies in the worship of God. We should learn to behave in public assemblies of divine worship so as to express a reverence for God, and a content and satisfaction with that rank in which He has placed us. 

11 Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man nor man of woman;

  • Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

12 for as woman was made from man, so man is now born of woman. And all things are from God.

  • Matthew Henry commentary: neither is the man without the woman:They were made for one another, Gen 2:18. They were made to be a mutual comfort and blessing, not one a slave and the other a tyrant. As the woman was first formed out of the man, the man is ever propagated by the woman. The authority and subjection should be no greater than are suitable to two in such near relationship and close union to each other. As it is the will of God that the woman know her place, so it is His will also that the man abuse NOT his power.
    • Genesis 2:18 Then the Lord God said, “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him.”
  • Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

13 Judge for yourselves: is it proper for a wife to pray to God with her head uncovered? 14 Does not nature itself teach you that if a man wears long hair it is a disgrace for him, 15 but if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For her hair is given to her for a covering. 16 If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.

  • 1 Timothy 6:4 they are conceited and understand nothing. They have an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions

Adam’s notes: For an EXCELLENT commentary on “head coverings”, please do yourself a favor and read the commentary on this 1 Corinthians’ chapter on “gotquestions.org

Additionally, if you want an excellent commentary on this chapter, see John MacArthur’s book entitled “1 Corinthians, Godly Solutions for Church Problems.” Lesson 7 discusses Chapter 11 and does a great job in breaking this down for us.

The Lord’s Supper (Return to TOP)

17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part, 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized.

  • Matthew 18:7 Woe to the world because of the things that cause people to stumble! Such things must come, but woe to the person through whom they come!
  • Luke 17:1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.
  • 1 Timothy 4:1 The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.
  • Luke 2:35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”
  • 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

20 When you come together, it is not the Lord’s supper that you eat. 21 For in eating, each one goes ahead with his own meal. One goes hungry, another gets drunk.

  • 2 Peter 2:13 They will be paid back with harm for the harm they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you.
  • Jude 1:12 These people are blemishes at your love feasts, eating with you without the slightest qualm—shepherds who feed only themselves. They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind; autumn trees, without fruit and uprooted—twice dead.

22 What! Do you not have houses to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God and humiliate those who have nothing? What shall I say to you? Shall I commend you in this? No, I will not.

  • James 2:6 But you have dishonored the poor. Is it not the rich who are exploiting you? Are they not the ones who are dragging you into court?

23 For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,

  • Matthew 26:26 While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take and eat; this is my body.”
  • Luke 22:19 And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.”

24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body, which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.

  • John 14:3 And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.
  • Acts 1:11 “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord.

  • John 6:51 I am the living bread that came down from heaven. Whoever eats this bread will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.”

28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.

  • 2 Corinthians 13:5 Examine yourselves to see whether you are in the faith; test yourselves. Do you not realize that Christ Jesus is in you—unless, of course, you fail the test?

29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged.

  • Psalms 32:5 Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the LORD.” And you forgave the guilt of my sin.
  • 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.

32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

  • Psalms 94:12 Blessed is the one you discipline, LORD, the one you teach from your law;

33 So then, my brothers, when you come together to eat, wait for one another— 34 if anyone is hungry, let him eat at home—so that when you come together it will not be for judgment. About the other things I will give directions when I come.

Chapter Twelve

Spiritual Gifts (Return to TOP)

12 Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. 2 You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led.

  • Ephesians 2:11 Therefore, remember that formerly you who are Gentiles by birth and called “uncircumcised” by those who call themselves “the circumcision” (which is done in the body by human hands)—
  • Psalms 115:5 They have mouths, but cannot speak, eyes, but cannot see.

3 Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

  • Matthew 16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.

4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit;

  • Romans 12:4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function,
  • Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;

5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord;

  • Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;

6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone.

  • Ephesians 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit,

  • 2 Corinthians 8:7 But since you excel in everything—in faith, in speech, in knowledge, in complete earnestness and in the love we have kindled in you —see that you also excel in this grace of giving.

9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit,

  • Matthew 17:19 Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?”
  • 2 Corinthians 4:13 It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” Since we have that same spirit of faith, we also believe and therefore speak,
  • Mark 16:18 they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.”
  • James 5:14 Is anyone among you sick? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord.

10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.

  • Mark 16:17 And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues;
  • Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
  • Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

  • Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
  • 2 Corinthians 10:13 We, however, will not boast beyond proper limits, but will confine our boasting to the sphere of service God himself has assigned to us, a sphere that also includes you.
  • John 3:8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

One Body with Many Members (Return to TOP)

12 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.

  • Romans 12:4-5 For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, 5 so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. 
  • Ephesians 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called;
  • Galatians 3:16 The promises were spoken to Abraham and to his seed. Scripture does not say “and to seeds,” meaning many people, but “and to your seed,” meaning one person, who is Christ.

13 For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.

  • Romans 6:5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his.
  • Galatians 3:28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • Colossians 3:11 Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in al
  • John 6:63 The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing. The words I have spoken to you—they are full of the Spirit and life.

14 For the body does not consist of one member but of many. 15 If the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” that would not make it any less a part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would be the sense of hearing? If the whole body were an ear, where would be the sense of smell? 18 But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose.

  • Romans 12:3 For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.

19 If all were a single member, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, yet one body. 21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” 22 On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and on those parts of the body that we think less honorable we bestow the greater honor, and our unpresentable parts are treated with greater modesty, 24 which our more presentable parts do not require. But God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, 25 that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. 26 If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together. 27 Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it.

  • Romans 12:5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.
  • Ephesians 1:23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.
  • Ephesians 4:12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up
  • Ephesians 5:23, 30 For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior. 30 for we are members of his body.
  • Colossians 1:24 Now I rejoice in what I am suffering for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.

28 And God has appointed in the church first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, then miracles, then gifts of healing, helping, administrating, and various kinds of tongues.

  • Ephesians 4:11 So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers,
  • Ephesians 2:20 built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone.
  • Ephesians 3:5 which was not made known to people in other generations as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to God’s holy apostles and prophets.
  • Acts 13:1 Now in the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul.
  • Romans 12:6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith;
  • Numbers 11:17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.
  • Romans 12:8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
  • 1 Timothy 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.
  • Hebrews 13:17, 24 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you. 24 Greet all of your leaders and all the saints. Those from Italy greet you.

29 Are all apostles? Are all prophets? Are all teachers? Do all work miracles? 30 Do all possess gifts of healing? Do all speak with tongues? Do all interpret? 31 But earnestly desire the higher gifts. And I will show you a still more excellent way.

Chapter Thirteen

The Way of Love (Return to TOP)

13 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

  • Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’
  • Matthew 17:20 He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”
  • Mark 11:23 “Truly I tell you, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in their heart but believes that what they say will happen, it will be done for them.
  • Luke 17:6 He replied, “If you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it will obey you.

3 If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

  • Matthew 6:1, 2 Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven. 2 “So when you give to the poor, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be honored by men. Truly I say to you, they have their reward in full. 

4 Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant

  • Proverbs 10:12 Hatred stirs up conflict, but love covers over all wrongs.
  • 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

5 or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful;

  • Philippians 2:4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

6 it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth.

  • Psalms 10:3 He boasts about the cravings of his heart; he blesses the greedy and reviles the LORD.
  • Romans 1:32 Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them.

7 Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

  • Romans 15:1 We who are strong ought to bear with the failings of the weak and not to please ourselves.
  • Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
  • 2 Timothy 2:24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful.

8 Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will pass away. 11 When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. 12 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

  • 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
  • 2 Corinthians 5:7 For we live by faith, not by sight.
  • Philippians 3:12 Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me.
  • Matthew 8:10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith.
  • 1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

13 So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

Chapter Fourteen

Prophecy and Tongues (Return to TOP)

1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts, especially that you may prophesy.

  • Numbers 11:25, 29 Then the LORD came down in the cloud and spoke to him; and He took of the Spirit who was upon him and placed Him upon the seventy elders. And when the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied. But they did not do it again. 29 But Moses said to him, “Are you jealous for my sake? Would that all the LORD’S people were prophets, that the LORD would put His Spirit upon them!”
  • prophesy:
    • John MacArthur = Prophets were especially gifted men in the local churches, who preached God’s Word (Acts 11:21-28; 13:1) Any message preached by a prophet had to be judged by the word of the apostles.
  • prophecy:
    • John MacArthur = “speaking forth”, or “proclaiming publicly.” Prediction wasn’t added until sometime in the Middle Ages. Since the completion of Scripture, prophecy has not been a means of new revelation but is limited to proclaiming what has already been revealed in the written Word.
    • NIV Study bible = Prophecy may involve predicting future events, but its main purpose is to communicate God’s message to people, providing insight, warning, correction, and encouragement.

2 For one who speaks in a tongue speaks not to men but to God; for no one understands him, but he utters mysteries in the Spirit.

  • Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.
  • Acts 10:46 For they heard them speaking in tongues and praising God. Then Peter said,

3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding and encouragement and consolation. 4 The one who speaks in a tongue builds up himself, but the one who prophesies builds up the church. 5 Now I want you all to speak in tongues, but even more to prophesy. The one who prophesies is greater than the one who speaks in tongues, unless someone interprets, so that the church may be built up. 6 Now, brothers, if I come to you speaking in tongues, how will I benefit you unless I bring you some revelation or knowledge or prophecy or teaching? 7 If even lifeless instruments, such as the flute or the harp, do not give distinct notes, how will anyone know what is played? 8 And if the bugle gives an indistinct sound, who will get ready for battle? 9 So with yourselves, if with your tongue you utter speech that is not intelligible, how will anyone know what is said? For you will be speaking into the air. 10 There are doubtless many different languages in the world, and none is without meaning, 11 but if I do not know the meaning of the language, I will be a foreigner to the speaker and the speaker a foreigner to me. 12 So with yourselves, since you are eager for manifestations of the Spirit, strive to excel in building up the church. 13 Therefore, one who speaks in a tongue should pray that he may interpret. 14 For if I pray in a tongue, my spirit prays but my mind is unfruitful. 15 What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.

  • Ephesians 5:19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,
  • Colossians 3:16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
  • Psalms 47:7 For God is the King of all the earth; sing to him a psalm of praise.

16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying? 17 For you may be giving thanks well enough, but the other person is not being built up. 18 I thank God that I speak in tongues more than all of you. 19 Nevertheless, in church I would rather speak five words with my mind in order to instruct others, than ten thousand words in a tongue. 20 Brothers, do not be children in your thinking. Be infants in evil, but in your thinking be mature.

  • Psalms 131:2 But I have calmed and quieted myself, I am like a weaned child with its mother; like a weaned child I am content.
  • Matthew 11:25 At that time Jesus said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children.
  • Matthew 18:3 And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.
  • Matthew 19:14 Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.”
  • Romans 16:19 Everyone has heard about your obedience, so I rejoice because of you; but I want you to be wise about what is good, and innocent about what is evil.
  • Ephesians 4:14 Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.
  • Hebrews 5:12, 13 For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you have need again for someone to teach you the elementary principles of the oracles of God, and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  13 For everyone who partakes only of milk is not accustomed to the word of righteousness, for he is an infant.
  • 1 Peter 2:2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation,

21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”

  • John 10:34 Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods”’?
  • Isaiah 28:11, 12 Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue, 12 He who said to them, “Here is rest, give rest to the weary,” And, “Here is repose,” but they would not listen.

22 Thus tongues are a sign not for believers but for unbelievers, while prophecy is a sign not for unbelievers but for believers. 23 If, therefore, the whole church comes together and all speak in tongues, and outsiders or unbelievers enter, will they not say that you are out of your minds?

  • Acts 2:13 Some, however, made fun of them and said, “They have had too much wine.”

24 But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or outsider enters, he is convicted by all, he is called to account by all, 25 the secrets of his heart are disclosed, and so, falling on his face, he will worship God and declare that God is really among you.

  • Isaiah 45:14 This is what the LORD says: “The products of Egypt and the merchandise of Cush, and those tall Sabeans— they will come over to you and will be yours; they will trudge behind you, coming over to you in chains. They will bow down before you and plead with you, saying, ‘Surely God is with you, and there is no other; there is no other god.’”
  • Zechariah 8:23 This is what the LORD Almighty says: “In those days ten people from all languages and nations will take firm hold of one Jew by the hem of his robe and say, ‘Let us go with you, because we have heard that God is with you.’”

Orderly Worship (Return to TOP)

26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.

  • 2 Corinthians 12:19 Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves to you? We have been speaking in the sight of God as those in Christ; and everything we do, dear friends, is for your strengthening.
  • Ephesians 4:12 to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up

27 If any speak in a tongue, let there be only two or at most three, and each in turn, and let someone interpret. 28 But if there is no one to interpret, let each of them keep silent in church and speak to himself and to God. 29 Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others weigh what is said. 30 If a revelation is made to another sitting there, let the first be silent.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:19, 20 Do not quench the Spirit;  20 do not despise prophetic utterances.

31 For you can all prophesy one by one, so that all may learn and all be encouraged, 32 and the spirits of prophets are subject to prophets.

  • 1 John 4:1 Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

33 For God is not a God of confusion but of peace. As in all the churches of the saints, 34 the women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

  • 1 Timothy 2:11, 12 A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. 12 But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet.
  • Genesis 3:16 To the woman he said, “I will make your pains in childbearing very severe; with painful labor you will give birth to children. Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you.”

35 If there is anything they desire to learn, let them ask their husbands at home. For it is shameful for a woman to speak in church. 36 Or was it from you that the word of God came? Or are you the only ones it has reached? 37 If anyone thinks that he is a prophet, or spiritual, he should acknowledge that the things I am writing to you are a command of the Lord.

  • 2 Corinthians 10:7 You are judging by appearances. If anyone is confident that they belong to Christ, they should consider again that we belong to Christ just as much as they do.
  • 1 John 4:6 We are from God, and whoever knows God listens to us; but whoever is not from God does not listen to us. This is how we recognize the Spirit of truth and the spirit of falsehood.

38 If anyone does not recognize this, he is not recognized. 39 So, my brothers, earnestly desire to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues.

  • 1 Thessalonians 5:20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt

40 But all things should be done decently and in order.

Chapter Fifteen

The Resurrection of Christ (Return to TOP)

1 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand,

  • Galatians 1:11 I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that the gospel I preached is not of human origin.

2 and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

  • Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes: first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.
  • Galatians 3:4 Have you experienced so much in vain—if it really was in vain?

3 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,

  • Galatians 1:12 I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it; rather, I received it by revelation from Jesus Christ.
  • Psalms 22:15 My mouth is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue sticks to the roof of my mouth; you lay me in the dust of death.
  • Acts 3:18 But this is how God fulfilled what he had foretold through all the prophets, saying that his Messiah would suffer.
  • 1 Peter 1:11 trying to find out the time and circumstances to which the Spirit of Christ in them was pointing when he predicted the sufferings of the Messiah and the glories that would follow.

4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,

  • Psalms 16:10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.
  • Isaiah 53:10 Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.
  • Luke 24:26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?”
  • Acts 2:25 David said about him: “’I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken.

5 and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

  • Luke 24:34 and saying, “It is true! The Lord has risen and has appeared to Simon.”
  • Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.

6 Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. 7 Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.

  • Luke 24:50 When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them.
  • Acts 1:3, 4 To these He also presented Himself alive after His suffering, by many convincing proofs, appearing to them over a period of forty days and speaking of the things concerning the kingdom of God. 4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me;

8 Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

  • Acts 9:4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”

9 For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

  • Ephesians 3:8Although I am less than the least of all the Lord’s people, this grace was given me: to preach to the Gentiles the boundless riches of Christ,
  • Acts 8:3 But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off both men and women and put them in prison.

10 But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.

  • Ephesians 3:7, 8 of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. 8 To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ,
  • Matthew 28:17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted.
  • Romans 15:18 I will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through me in leading the Gentiles to obey God by what I have said and done
  • Galatians 2:8 For God, who was at work in Peter as an apostle to the circumcised, was also at work in me as an apostle to the Gentiles.
  • Philippians 2:13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

11 Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

The Resurrection of the Dead (Return to TOP)

12 Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised.

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:14 For we believe that Jesus died and rose again, and so we believe that God will bring with Jesus those who have fallen asleep in him.

14 And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. 15 We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised.

  • Acts 2:4 All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

16 For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. 17 And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.

  • Romans 4:25 He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.

18 Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

  • 2 Timothy 3:12 In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

20 But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.

  • 1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
  • Acts 26:23 that the Messiah would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would bring the message of light to his own people and to the Gentiles.”

21 For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.

  • Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned—
  • John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die;

22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. 23 But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ.

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.

24 Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power.

  • Daniel 7:14 He was given authority, glory and sovereign power; all nations and peoples of every language worshiped him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion that will not pass away, and his kingdom is one that will never be destroyed.

25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.

  • Psalms 110:1 Of David. A psalm. The LORD says to my lord: “Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”

26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death.

  • 2 Timothy 1:10 but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.

27 For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him.

  • Psalms 8:6 You made them rulers over the works of your hands; you put everything under their feet:

28 When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

  • Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

29 Otherwise, what do people mean by being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why are people baptized on their behalf? 30 Why are we in danger every hour?

  • 2 Corinthians 11:26 I have been constantly on the move. I have been in danger from rivers, in danger from bandits, in danger from my fellow Jews, in danger from Gentiles; in danger in the city, in danger in the country, in danger at sea; and in danger from false believers.

31 I protest, brothers, by my pride in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die every day!

  • 1 Thessalonians 2:19 For what is our hope, our joy, or the crown in which we will glory in the presence of our Lord Jesus when he comes? Is it not you?
  • Romans 8:36 As it is written: “For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

  • 2 Corinthians 1:18 But as surely as God is faithful, our message to you is not “Yes” and “No.”
  • Ecclesiastes 2:24 A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God,

33 Do not be deceived: “Bad company ruins good morals.” 34 Wake up from your drunken stupor, as is right, and do not go on sinning. For some have no knowledge of God. I say this to your shame.

  • Romans 13:11 And do this, understanding the present time: The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.
  • Ephesians 5:14 This is why it is said: “Wake up, sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”
  • 1 Thessalonians 4:5 not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God;

The Resurrection Body (Return to TOP)

35 But someone will ask, “How are the dead raised? With what kind of body do they come?”

  • Ezekiel 37:3 He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?” I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”

36 You foolish person! What you sow does not come to life unless it dies.

Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.

37 And what you sow is not the body that is to be, but a bare kernel, perhaps of wheat or of some other grain. 38 But God gives it a body as he has chosen, and to each kind of seed its own body. 39 For not all flesh is the same, but there is one kind for humans, another for animals, another for birds, and another for fish. 40 There are heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is of one kind, and the glory of the earthly is of another. 41 There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory. 42 So is it with the resurrection of the dead. What is sown is perishable; what is raised is imperishable.

  • Daniel 12:3 Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens, and those who lead many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.
  • Matthew 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Whoever has ears, let them hear.

43 It is sown in dishonor; it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness; it is raised in power.

  • Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. 45 Thus it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being”; the last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

  • Genesis 2:7 Then the LORD God formed a man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
  • Romans 5:14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come.
  • John 5:21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, even so the Son gives life to whom he is pleased to give it.
  • Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
  • Colossians 3:4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

46 But it is not the spiritual that is first but the natural, and then the spiritual. 47 The first man was from the earth, a man of dust; the second man is from heaven.

  • John 3:31 The one who comes from above is above all; the one who is from the earth belongs to the earth, and speaks as one from the earth. The one who comes from heaven is above all.
  • Genesis 3:19 By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”
  • John 3:13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.

48 As was the man of dust, so also are those who are of the dust, and as is the man of heaven, so also are those who are of heaven.

  • Philippians 3:20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ,

49 Just as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the man of heaven.

  • Genesis 5:3 When Adam had lived 130 years, he had a son in his own likeness, in his own image; and he named him Seth.
  • Romans 8:29 For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters.
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.
  • Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.
  • 1 John 3:2 Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.

Mystery and Victory (Return to TOP)

50 I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

  • Matthew 16:17 Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven.
  • John 3:3, 5 Jesus answered and said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” 5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

51 Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed,

  • 1 Thessalonians 4:15 According to the Lord’s word, we tell you that we who are still alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will certainly not precede those who have fallen asleep.
  • Philippians 3:21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed.

  • Zechariah 9:14 Then the LORD will appear over them; his arrow will flash like lightning. The Sovereign LORD will sound the trumpet; he will march in the storms of the south,
  • Matthew 24:31 And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.
  • John 5:25 Very truly I tell you, a time is coming and has now come when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God and those who hear will live.

53 For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality.

  • 2 Corinthians 5:4 For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed instead with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.

54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

  • Isaiah 25:8 he will swallow up death forever. The Sovereign LORD will wipe away the tears from all faces; he will remove his people’s disgrace from all the earth. The LORD has spoken.
  • Revelation 20:14 Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.

55  “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

  • Hosea 13:14 “I will deliver this people from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. Where, O death, are your plagues? Where, O grave, is your destruction? “I will have no compassion,

56 The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.

  • Romans 4:15 because the law brings wrath. And where there is no law there is no transgression.

57 But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

  • Romans 7:25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.
  • 1 John 5:4 for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.

58 Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

  • 2 Peter 3:14 So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

Chapter Sixteen

The Collection for the Saints (Return to TOP)

1 Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do.

  • Acts 11:29 The disciples, as each one was able, decided to provide help for the brothers and sisters living in Judea.
  • Galatians 2:10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come.

  • Acts 20:7 On the first day of the week we came together to break bread. Paul spoke to the people and, because he intended to leave the next day, kept on talking until midnight.

3 And when I arrive, I will send those whom you accredit by letter to carry your gift to Jerusalem.

  • 2 Corinthians 8:19 What is more, he was chosen by the churches to accompany us as we carry the offering, which we administer in order to honor the Lord himself and to show our eagerness to help.

4 If it seems advisable that I should go also, they will accompany me.

  • 2 Corinthians 8:4, 19 begging us with much urging for the favor of participation in the support of the saints, 19 and not only this, but he has also been appointed by the churches to travel with us in this gracious work, which is being administered by us for the glory of the Lord Himself, and to show our readiness, 

Plans for Travel (Return to TOP)

5 I will visit you after passing through Macedonia, for I intend to pass through Macedonia,

  • Acts 19:21 After all this had happened, Paul decided to go to Jerusalem, passing through Macedonia and Achaia. “After I have been there,” he said, “I must visit Rome also.”
  • 2 Corinthians 1:16 I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia and to come back to you from Macedonia, and then to have you send me on my way to Judea.

6 and perhaps I will stay with you or even spend the winter, so that you may help me on my journey, wherever I go.

  • Acts 15:3 The church sent them on their way, and as they traveled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad.
  • Romans 15:24 I plan to do so when I go to Spain. I hope to see you while passing through and to have you assist me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.

7 For I do not want to see you now just in passing. I hope to spend some time with you, if the Lord permits.

  • Acts 18:21 But as he left, he promised, “I will come back if it is God’s will.” Then he set sail from Ephesus.
  • James 4:15 Instead, you ought to say, “If it is the Lord’s will, we will live and do this or that.”

8 But I will stay in Ephesus until Pentecost, 9 for a wide door for effective work has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.

  • Acts 14:27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.
  • 2 Corinthians 2:12 Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me,
  • Colossians 4:3 And pray for us, too, that God may open a door for our message, so that we may proclaim the mystery of Christ, for which I am in chains.
  • Acts 19:9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

10 When Timothy comes, see that you put him at ease among you, for he is doing the work of the Lord, as I am.

  • Acts 19:22 He sent two of his helpers, Timothy and Erastus, to Macedonia, while he stayed in the province of Asia a little longer.
  • Philippians 2:20 I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare.
  • 1 Thessalonians 3:2 We sent Timothy, who is our brother and co-worker in God’s service in spreading the gospel of Christ, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith,

11 So let no one despise him. Help him on his way in peace, that he may return to me, for I am expecting him with the brothers.

  • 1 Tim 4:12 Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.
  • Acts 15:33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them.

Final Instructions (Return to TOP)

12 Now concerning our brother Apollos, I strongly urged him to visit you with the other brothers, but it was not at all his will to come now. He will come when he has opportunity. 13 Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

  • Matthew 24:42 “Therefore keep watch, because you do not know on what day your Lord will come.
  • Philippians 1:27 Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel
  • Ephesians 6:10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power.

14 Let all that you do be done in love.

  • 1 Peter 4:8 Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins.

15 Now I urge you, brothers—you know that the household of Stephanas were the first converts in Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves to the service of the saints—

  • Romans 16:5 Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.
  • 2 Corinthians 8:4 they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people.

16 be subject to such as these, and to every fellow worker and laborer.

  • Hebrews 13:17 Have confidence in your leaders and submit to their authority, because they keep watch over you as those who must give an account. Do this so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no benefit to you.
  • Hebrews 6:10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

17 I rejoice at the coming of Stephanas and Fortunatus and Achaicus, because they have made up for your absence,

  • 2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.

18 for they refreshed my spirit as well as yours. Give recognition to such people.

  • Colossians 4:8 I am sending him to you for the express purpose that you may know about our circumstances and that he may encourage your hearts.
  • Philippians 2:29 So then, welcome him in the Lord with great joy, and honor people like him,

It is better not to eat meat or drink wine or to do anything else that will cause your brother or sister to fall.

19 The churches of Asia send you greetings. Aquila and Prisca, together with the church in their house, send you hearty greetings in the Lord.

  • Romans 16:5 Greet also the church that meets at their house. Greet my dear friend Epenetus, who was the first convert to Christ in the province of Asia.

20 All the brothers send you greetings. Greet one another with a holy kiss.

  • Romans 16:16 Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.

21 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand.

  • Colossians 4:18 I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand. Remember my chains. Grace be with you.

22 If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed. Our Lord, come!

  • Ephesians 6:24 Grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.
  • Galatians 1:8, 9 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! 9 As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!
  • Jude 14, 15 It was also about these men that Enoch, in the seventh generation from Adam, prophesied, saying, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, 15t o execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” 

23 The grace of the Lord Jesus be with you.

  • Romans 16:20 The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus be with you.

24 My love be with you all in Christ Jesus. Amen.
The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. 2016. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles. (Return to TOP)

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July 22, 2021

Nehemiah-7.22.21

Filed under: Old Testament — Adam Osborne @ 9:51 am

CHAPTER 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11| 12 | 13 | Biblical Leadership Principles | Christ Revealed | Historical Background | Historical Timeframe | Outline | The Return from Exile |

Date Written: 425-400 BC

Period Covered: 450-430 BC

Historical Timeframe:

  • 568 Jerusalem destroyed, exiles go to Babylon
  • 539 Babylon falls to Persia. Persian empire begins
  • 538 First exiles return to Jerusalem, led by Zerubbabel
  • 516 Temple completed
  • 486 Xerxes becomes king of Persia
  • 465 Artaxerxes 1 becomes king of Persia
  • 458 Ezra leads the second refugee group back to Jerusalem
  • 445-432 Book of Nehemiah written
  • 445 Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem, God had softened the heart of Artaxerxes 1, who allowed Nehemiah to go to Jerusalem. The wall was completed; he brought back the third group (last group) of exiles to build the walls
  • 433 Nehemiah returns to Babylon
  • 432 Nehemiah goes back to Jerusalem
  • 430 (?) Malachi begins his ministry
  • 331 End of Persian empire

Type: History

Vernon McGee notes about the book of Nehemiah:

WRITER: Perhaps Ezra
Nehemiah was a layman; Ezra was a priest. In the Book of Ezra, the emphasis is upon the rebuilding of the temple; in the Book of Nehemiah, the emphasis is upon the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem. In Ezra, we have the religious aspect of the return; in Nehemiah, we have the political aspect of the return. Ezra is a fine representative of the priest and scribe; Nehemiah is a noble representative of the businessman. Nehemiah had an important office at the court of the powerful Persian king, Artaxerxes, but his heart was with God’s people and God’s program in Jerusalem. The personal note is the main characteristic of the book.
DATE: Chronologically, this is the last of the historical books. We have come to the end of the line as far as time is concerned. The Old Testament goes no further. The Book of Ezra picks up the thread of the story about 70 years after 2 Chronicles. The 70-year captivity is over and a remnant returns to the land of Israel. The return under Ezra takes place about 50 years after Zerubbabel. Nehemiah returns about 15 years after Ezra. These figures are approximate and are given to show the stages in the history of Israel after the captivity. This enables one to see how the “70 weeks” of Daniel fit into the picture in a normal and reasonable way. The “70 weeks” of Daniel begin with the Book of Nehemiah (not with Ezra) “from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah, the Prince, shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks….” The background of the events of Nehemiah is “…the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times” (Daniel 9:25).

KEY WORD: “So” occurs 32 times. It denotes a man of action and few words. Mark this word in your Bible and notice how this ordinarily unimportant word stands out in this book.

KEY VERSES:
Nehemiah 1:4 And it came to pass when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven.
Nehemiah 6:3 And I sent messengers unto them, saying, I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease, while I leave it, and come down to you?

OUTLINE:
I. REBUILDING the WALLS, Chapters 1 — 7
A. Nehemiah’s prayer for remnant at Jerusalem, Chapter 1
B. Nehemiah’s request of the king, return to Jerusalem, and
review of ruins of Jerusalem, Chapter 2:1-16
C. Nehemiah’s encouragement to rebuild the walls, Chapter
2:17-20
D. Rebuilding the walls and gates, Chapter 3
E. Nehemiah’s response to opposition, Chapters 4 — 6 (Oz notes… He faces opposition from three powerful neighbors, the Samaritans, the Ammonites, and the Arabs, but manages to rebuild the walls. )
Wall completed, 6:15
F. Nehemiah’s register of people, Chapter 7
(Only 42,360 people, 7,337 servants, and 245 singers returned. Compare this with the fact that Judah alone had 470,000 warriors [1 Chronicles 21:5].)


II. REVIVAL and REFORM, Chapters 8 — 13
A. Great Bible reading led by Ezra, Chapter 8
B. Revival — the result, Chapters 9, 10
C. Reform — another result, Chapters 11 — 13


THE BABYLONIAN CAPTIVITY: God’s chosen people were called to witness against idolatry, but too often they themselves succumed and became idolaters. God sent them to Babylon, the fountainhead of idolatry. They returned repudiating idolatry. Their restoration as an independent nation was incomplete. They were not free from this time on to the time of the Roman Empire. The New Testament opens with them under the rule of Rome.

BIBLICAL LEADERSHIP PRINCIPLES FROM NEHEMIAH:

  1. Identify Your Calling (1:1-11)
  2. Pray for Everything (2:1-8)
  3. Maintain Brutal Honesty (2:9-20)
  4. Delegate and Motivate (3:1-32 ; 12:44-47 ; 13:13)
  5. Couple Prayer with Action (4:1-23)
  6. Demonstrate Integrity (5:1-13)
  7. Serve your Followers (5:14-19)
  8. Maintain Focus (6:1-14)
  9. Depend upon the Lord (6:15 to 7:4)
  10. Teach (8:1-8)
  11. Celebrate Well (8:9-18, 12:27-43)
  12. Take Ownership of Problems and Mistakes (9:1-10 to 10:27)
  13. Give Generously (10:28-39)
  14. Take the First Step (11:1-36)
  15. Repeat Vision. Repeat Vision (13:1-30)

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: In the early 6th century Judah rebelled against Babylon and was destroyed (586 BC). The royal court and the priests, prophets and scribes were taken into captivity in Babylon. There the exiles blamed their fate on disobedience to God and looked forward to a future when a penitent and purified people would be allowed return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. (These ideas are expressed in the prophets Jeremiah (although he was not exiled to Babylon), Isaiah, and, especially, Ezekiel). The same period saw the rapid rise of Persia, previously an unimportant kingdom in present-day southern Iran, and in 539 BC Cyrus the Great, the Persian ruler, conquered Babylon.

THE RETURN FROM EXILE: (Oz note: remember, Jerusalem had been conquered and destroyed by Babylon in 586 BC (142 years earlier than the book of Nehemiah). Then, later, Persia conquered Babylon.

  1. FIRST: 538 BC. Ezra 1-6. Persian Ruler was Cyrus. Anyone could go and rebuild the temple in Jerusalem. Zerubbabel led the first return.
  2. SECOND: 458 BC. Ezra 7-10. Persian Ruler Artaxerxes. Anyone could go, Jewish magistrates and judges were allowed. Ezra led the second return.
  3. THIRD: 444 BC. Nehemiah 1-13. Persian Ruler Artaxerxes. Rebuilding Jerusalem was allowed. The book of Nehemiah is actually the THIRD return to rebuild the temple and the walls. Rebuilding of the walls was done in 52 days.

CHRIST REVEALED in the book of Nehemiah:

  • Ezra called on the people to remember God and to remember the Law. He guarded the people until Christ arrives.
  • Christ is not directly referred to in Nehemiah but he typifies Christ by the life he modeled.
  • He was a courageous leader, defying the odds and encouraging the people to do Yahweh’s work.
  • He was an ardent prayer, as was Christ.
  • He was dedicated to God’s Law, an important element in Christ’s life as well.

444 B.C.

Chapter One

Nehemiah’s Prayer

The words of Nehemiah son of Hakaliah:

In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, 

  • Kislev (or Chislev) is the ninth month on the Jewish calendar, counting from Nisan. It is best known for the holiday of Chanukah, which begins on 25 Kislev. 
  • Vernon McGee: v. 1 — The use of the first person pronoun gives the impression that Nehemiah was the writer. If Ezra was the writer, he was copying from the journal of Nehemiah. This book, as was true in the Book of Ezra, has copies of letters, decrees, registers and other documents. The same man wrote both books — Ezra and Nehemiah are one book in the Hebrew canon.

Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem.

  • Vernon McGee vv. 2-4 — Visitors from Jerusalem come to the palace, and Nehemiah makes inquiry of them about Jerusalem and he condition of the remnant that had returned. When he learns the sad plight of the people and that the walls and gates of Jerusalem are still in shambles, Nehemiah sits down and weeps, mourns and fasts. Then he prays before the God of heaven.

They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.”

  • 2 Kings 25:10 The whole Babylonian army under the commander of the imperial guard broke down the walls around Jerusalem.

When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven. 

  • Nehemiah responded to the news about Jerusalem by mourning, fasting, and praying for days. When we go about our daily lives, this should be our first response when facing all of life’s challenges.
  • For the walls to be in the state they were meant the people had neglected to honor and worship the Lord.
  • Jerusalem became the capital of Israel. It was in Jerusalem that Solomon built the temple and his palace. 1 Kings 6-7.
  • The bible predicted that the Jewish people would return to Israel and Jerusalem figures prominently in prophecies the end times.
    • Joel 3:1 “For behold, in those days and at that time, when I restore the fortunes of Judah and Jerusalem,
    • Jeremiah 23:3 Then I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and I will bring them back to their fold, and they shall be fruitful and multiply.
    • Jeremiah 30:7 Alas! That day is so great there is none like it; it is a time of distress for Jacob; yet he shall be saved out of it.
    • Ezekiel 11:17 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: I will gather you from the peoples and assemble you out of the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel.’
  • Someday the Jewish temple will be rebuilt in Jerusalem
    • Daniel 12:11 And from the time that the regular burnt offering is taken away and the abomination that makes desolate is set up, there shall be 1,290 days.
    • Matthew 24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand),
    • 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 Let no one deceive you in any way. For that day will not come, unless the rebellion comes first, and the man of lawlessness is revealed, the son of destruction, 4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.
  • Currently Jerusalem is still experiencing what Jesus called “the times of the Gentiles” in Luke 21:24: “Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.” This period began with the Babylonian Exile and will continue through the tribulation period.
    • Revelation 11:2 but do not measure the court outside the temple; leave that out, for it is given over to the nations, and they will trample the holy city for forty-two months.

Then I said:

“Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 

  • Vernon McGee – vv. 5-11 — This is the record of Nehemiah’s prayer. “Terrible God” (v. 5 KJV) is “reverend God.” Reverend” should never be used in addressing a pastor or ordained preacher. It should be applied only to God. someone has expressed it this way:
    • Call me Mister, call me friend, A loving ear to all I lend, But do not my soul with anguish rend, PLEASE stop calling me “Reverend.”
  • Nehemiah pleads with God and confesses his sins and those of his people (vv. 6, 7). He reminds God of His promises (vv. 8, 9). Nehemiah casts himself upon the mercy and goodness of God (vv. 10, 11). “This man” refers to King Artaxerxes.
  • Daniel 9:4 I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed: “Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments,
  • Exodus 20:6 but showing love to a thousand generations of those who love me and keep my commandments.

let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you.

  • 1 Kings 8:28-29 Yet give attention to your servant’s prayer and his plea for mercy, Lord my God. Hear the cry and the prayer that your servant is praying in your presence this day. 29 May your eyes be open toward this temple night and day, this place of which you said, ‘My Name shall be there,’ so that you will hear the prayer your servant prays toward this place.
  • 2 Chronicles 6:40 “Now, my God, may your eyes be open and your ears attentive to the prayers offered in this place
  • Daniel 9:17-18 17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary. 18 Give ear, our God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.
  • Daniel 9:20 20 While I was speaking and praying, confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel and making my request to the Lord my God for his holy hill—
  • I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you = Israel’s adversities had resulted from the nation’s covenant unfaithfulness. The only reason they were still alive was because of God’s faithfulness and mercy.

We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

  • Psalms 106:6 We have sinned, even as our ancestors did; we have done wrong and acted wickedly.
  • Daniel 9:5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.
  • Deuteronomy 28:15 However, if you do not obey the Lord your God and do not carefully follow all his commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come on you and overtake you:

“Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 

  • Leviticus 26:33  I will scatter you among the nations and will draw out my sword and pursue you. Your land will be laid waste, and your cities will lie in ruins.
  • Deuteronomy 4:25-27 After you have had children and grandchildren and have lived in the land a long time—if you then become corrupt and make any kind of idol, doing evil in the eyes of the Lord your God and arousing his anger, 26 I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you this day that you will quickly perish from the land that you are crossing the Jordan to possess. You will not live there long but will certainly be destroyed. 27 The Lord will scatter you among the peoples, and only a few of you will survive among the nations to which the Lord will drive you.
  • Deuteronomy 28:64 Then the Lord will scatter you among all nations, from one end of the earth to the other. There you will worship other gods—gods of wood and stone, which neither you nor your ancestors have known.

but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

  • Leviticus 26:39 Those of you who are left will waste away in the lands of their enemies because of their sins; also because of their ancestors’ sins they will waste away.
  • Deuteronomy 4:29-31 But if from there you seek the Lord your God, you will find him if you seek him with all your heart and with all your soul. 30 When you are in distress and all these things have happened to you, then in later days you will return to the Lord your God and obey him. 31 For the Lord your God is a merciful God; he will not abandon or destroy you or forget the covenant with your ancestors, which he confirmed to them by oath.
  • Deuteronomy 30:2, 4 and when you and your children return to the Lord your God and obey him with all your heart and with all your soul according to everything I command you today, Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back.

10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 

  • Deuteronomy 9:29 But they are your people, your inheritance that you brought out by your great power and your outstretched arm.”
  • Daniel 9:15 “Now, Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.
  • Nehemiah was “reminding God” of who these people were. They were God’s chosen children, whom he loved, and had brought them out of Egypt with His awesome power.

11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

I was cupbearer to the king.

  • Isaiah 26:8 Yes, Lord, walking in the way of your laws, we wait for you; your name and renown are the desire of our hearts.
  • Hebrews 13:18 Pray for us. We are sure that we have a clear conscience and desire to live honorably in every way.
  • Notice that Nehemiah’s content of his prayer was more focused upon God than the people.
  • Nehemiah’s prayer revealed the character of God.
  • Nehemiah had great faith and confidence in who God was and all He had done in the past, and all He would do for his people in the future.
  • Nehemiah understood his place in God’s story and acknowledges his helplessness before God.
  • A cupbearer was a very prominent position, especially considering that Nehemiah was a foreigner. Nehemiah was faithful in small things, and God used him to make a big difference.
  • Nehemiah knew that the real problem wasn’t a broken down city, or broken down walls. The true problem was the people’s relationship with God.
  • Not only was Nehemiah called to rebuild a city, but he was also called to rebuild a community of people in shambles. Because of the exile, Jerusalem was in need of both physical and spiritual renewal.

Chapter Two [return to top]

  • Timeframe: The year now is 443.
    • 538 BC. Cyrus allows the Jews to return to Jerusalem
    • 516 BC. Temple is completed
    • 458 BC. Ezra leads a group of exiles to Jerusalem
    • 444 BC. Nehemiah goes to Jerusalem
  • As you begin to study Chapter Two, the first 10 verses, consider this:
    • It is one thing to have dreams or aspirations of great things; it’s another thing to have and implement a plan for meeting those goals.
    • When setting out to achieve new things, often we come across obstacles, some which were expected, others we did not.
    • In the chapter we will see that Nehemiah moved beyond just aspirations, and took action as he sought to restore Jerusalem. NOTE that action is a verb, you must take action.
    • We are called to do the same, even when it requires sacrifice.
    • So the main point of the first ten verses is Nehemiah’s deep concern for Jerusalem led him beyond emotion, toward preparation and action.

Nehemiah Sent to Judah

  1. In the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was before him, I took up the wine and gave it to the king. Now I had not been sad in his presence.
  • Ezra 7:1 Now after this, in the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, Ezra the son of Seraiah, son of Azariah, son of Hilkiah

 2. And the king said to me, “Why is your face sad, seeing you are not sick? This is nothing but sadness of the heart.” Then I was very much afraid.

  • Proverbs 15:13 A glad heart makes a cheerful face, but by sorrow of heart the spirit is crushed.
  • According to most commentaries, you were NOT supposed to have a sad face in front of the King, this was not allowed. That’s why Nehemiah was very much afraid.

 3. I said to the king, “Let the king live forever! Why should not my face be sad, when the city, the place of my fathers’ graves, lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?”

  • Notice that Nehemiah was not half-hearted in his service to God. He took a risk here, being sad before the king was not allowed. We must be like Nehemiah, go “all in” not halfhearted.
  • Things that are sad for the church, should also make us sad…. and we should take action to resolve the problem.
  • 1 Kings 1:31 Then Bathsheba bowed with her face to the ground and paid homage to the king and said, “May my lord King David live forever!” 
  • Daniel 2:4 Then the Chaldeans said to the king in Aramaic, “O king, live forever! Tell your servants the dream, and we will show the interpretation.”
  • Dan 5:10 The queen, because of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banqueting hall, and the queen declared, “O king, live forever! Let not your thoughts alarm you or your color change.
  • Dan 6:6, 21 Then these high officials and satraps came by agreement to the king and said to him, “O King Darius, live forever! … 21  Then Daniel said to the king, “O king, live forever!

4. Then the king said to me, “What are you requesting?” So I prayed to the God of heaven. 

  • Vernon McGee: Here is the beginning of the use of the word “so”.

5. And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, and if your servant has found favor in your sight, that you send me to Judah, to the city of my fathers’ graves, that I may rebuild it.” 

  • Nehemiah asks for a leave of absence that he might go to Jerusalem to rebuild the walls. Note however that he did NOT mention Jerusalem because it might have carried negative connotations from the past. He said “the city of my fathers’ graves”.
  • The Persian rulers went to great expanse building tombs for their ancestors.
  • Nehemiah’s request to rebuild Jerusalem was bold in light of the king’s earlier decision to stop all construction on the project.
    • Ezra 4:12-16 be it known to the king that the Jews who came up from you to us have gone to Jerusalem. They are rebuilding that rebellious and wicked city. They are finishing the walls and repairing the foundations. 13 Now be it known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and the walls finished, they will not pay tribute, custom, or toll, and the royal revenue will be impaired. 14 Now because we eat the salt of the palace and it is not fitting for us to witness the king’s dishonor, therefore we send and inform the king, 15 in order that search may be made in the book of the records of your fathers. You will find in the book of the records and learn that this city is a rebellious city, hurtful to kings and provinces, and that sedition was stirred up in it from of old. That was why this city was laid waste. 16 We make known to the king that if this city is rebuilt and its walls finished, you will then have no possession in the province Beyond the River.”

6 And the king said to me (the queen sitting beside him), “How long will you be gone, and when will you return?” So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time. 

  • The queen must concur too.

7 And I said to the king, “If it pleases the king, let letters be given me to the governors of the province Beyond the River, that they may let me pass through until I come to Judah, 

  • vv. 7-9 — Nehemiah makes further request for material assistance and protection, as a government official, along the route. An honor guard from the king accompanies Nehemiah.

8 and a letter to Asaph, the keeper of the king’s forest, that he may give me timber to make beams for the gates of the fortress of the temple, and for the wall of the city, and for the house that I shall occupy.” And the king granted me what I asked, for the good hand of my God was upon me.

  • Nehemiah modeled both praying and planning.
    • PRAYING: He prayed before telling the king what his problems were.
    • PLANNING: Vs 6. [So it pleased the king to send me when I had given him a time.] Nehemiah didn’t push too hard, he gave the king the time needed, to help the king feel good about what he was doing.
  • Ezra 5:5 But the eye of their God was on the elders of the Jews, and they did not stop them until the report should reach Darius and then an answer be returned by letter concerning it.
  • Ezra 7:6, 9, 28  this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the LORD, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the LORD his God was on him. 9 For on the first day of the first month he began to go up from Babylonia, and on the first day of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, for the good hand of his God was on him. 28  and who extended to me his steadfast love before the king and his counselors, and before all the king’s mighty officers. I took courage, for the hand of the LORD my God was on me, and I gathered leading men from Israel to go up with me.

Nehemiah Inspects Jerusalem’s Walls

9 Then I came to the governors of the province Beyond the River and gave them the king’s letters. Now the king had sent with me officers of the army and horsemen. 

  • VS 9. Some have criticized Nehemiah for allowing the protection from the King because Ezra would not allow it (Ezra 8:22-23). However, Nehemiah was not showing a lack of faith as some have suggested; no, he was showing his TRUST that this was part of God’s divine plan for protection from his enemies.

10 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant heard this, it displeased them greatly that someone had come to seek the welfare of the people of Israel.

  • The three leading enemies of Israel are grieved that Nehemiah has come to help his people. Here we go, the opposition has started. You will see this all through the book of Nehemiah.
  • We can be sure that as we pursue God’s purposes in our lives, we will face obstacles and that there will be individuals who oppose our efforts. We are called to persevere with concern for the purposes of God over the purposes of men.

As we now move to Chapter Two, verses 11 to 20, we start thinking how we handle obstacles and challenges in our lives. As you study the rest of this chapter, focus on the beauty of God’s work in our lives. As we go about our lives, are we optimistic, depending upon God and his sovereignty, or are we of little faith, and pessimistic? How we respond to those struggles reveals much about our faith.

11 So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days

  • three days: Nehemiah rested after his journey. Probably “planning” too.
  • vv. 11-16 — Nehemiah comes to Jerusalem, immediately makes a secret inspection of the damage, and estimates the extent of the job.
  • Ezra 8:32 We came to Jerusalem, and there we remained three days.

12 Then I arose in the night, I and a few men with me. And I told no one what my God had put into my heart to do for Jerusalem. There was no animal with me but the one on which I rode. 

  • Most likely, Nehemiah took only a few men so as to avoid detection. Most likely Nehemiah limited the men also because some of the people were probably sympathetic to Sanballet and Tobiah. Other commentaries said that they were guards who were responsible for Nehemiah’s safety.
  • Nehemiah retained a bold confidence because God had given him the passion to complete the work.

13 I went out by night by the Valley Gate to the Dragon Spring and to the Dung Gate, and I inspected the walls of Jerusalem that were broken down and its gates that had been destroyed by fire. 

  • The commentaries explain that Nehemiah made his way, one gate at a time, in a counter-clockwise direction.
  • VERSE 13 Dung Gate From the Valley Gate to the Dung Gate was a distance of about 1,500 feet (Neh 3:13). This was the southernmost gate, leading to the Hinnom Valley. It is probably to be identified as the Potsherd Gate mentioned in Jer 19:2.
  • were broken down. The gates and walls of Jerusalem were destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar in 586 bc (2 Kgs 25:8–12).
    • 2 Kings 25:8-12 In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month—that was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon—Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. 9 And he burned the house of the Lord and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. 10 And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. 11 And the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the multitude, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile. 12 But the captain of the guard left some of the poorest of the land to be vinedressers and plowmen.
  • King’s Pool – Possibly the Pool of Siloam. The Pool of Siloam was fed by an aqueduct created during the reign of Hezekiah that brought water from the Gihon spring.
  • 2 Chronicles 26:9 Moreover, Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate and at the Valley Gate and at the Angle, and fortified them.

14 Then I went on to the Fountain Gate and to the King’s Pool, but there was no room for the animal that was under me to pass. 

  • no room: notice the condition of the walls, crumpled and destroyed, lots of debris, no room for men or animals to pass. Sometimes unexpected obstacles get in our path. Don’t give up, keep on going.
  • The Fountain Gate reportedly led to a water spring.
  • Nehemiah had to detour because of all the rubble. From there he proceeded on foot.

15 Then I went up in the night by the valley and inspected the wall, and I turned back and entered by the Valley Gate, and so returned. 

  • the valley The Kidron Valley, east of the city.
  • 2 Samuel 15:23 And all the land wept aloud as all the people passed by, and the king crossed the brook Kidron, and all the people passed on toward the wilderness.
  • Jeremiah 31:40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the LORD. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

16 And the officials did not know where I had gone or what I was doing, and I had not yet told the Jews, the priests, the nobles, the officials, and the rest who were to do the work.

  • In verses 11 to 16, Nehemiah came in and inspected the reality of the situation.
  • He wanted to see with his eyes what God was calling him to do.
  • Once he examined and knew what the reality was, he cast a vision for what the future could look like.
  • Nehemiah’s final inspection of the walls provided him further important information to finalize his plans.
  • At this point, Nehemiah again emphasized that the project was entirely on his request; the officials still did not know where he had gone or what he was doing.

17 Then I said to them, “You see the trouble we are in, how Jerusalem lies in ruins with its gates burned. Come, let us build the wall of Jerusalem, that we may no longer suffer derision.” 

  • vv. 17, 18 — Then Nehemiah calls together the leaders of Israel and reveals his plan to rebuild the walls and gates of Jerusalem. The people are encouraged to begin the undertaking.
  • Psalms 44:13 You have made us the taunt of our neighbors, the derision and scorn of those around us.
  • Psalms 79:4 We have become a taunt to our neighbors, mocked and derided by those around us.
  • Jeremiah 24:9  I will make them a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth, to be a reproach, a byword, a taunt, and a curse in all the places where I shall drive them.
  • Ezekiel 5:14-15 Moreover, I will make you a desolation and an object of reproach among the nations all around you and in the sight of all who pass by. 15 You shall be a reproach and a taunt, a warning and a horror, to the nations all around you, when I execute judgments on you in anger and fury, and with furious rebukes—I am the LORD; I have spoken—
  • Ezekiel 22:4 You have become guilty by the blood that you have shed, and defiled by the idols that you have made, and you have brought your days near, the appointed time of your years has come. Therefore I have made you a reproach to the nations, and a mockery to all the countries.

18 And I told them of the hand of my God that had been upon me for good, and also of the words that the king had spoken to me. And they said, “Let us rise up and build.” So they strengthened their hands for the good work. 

  • Nehemiah found his purpose and calling to rebuild Jerusalem from the Lord his God.
  • Notice that Nehemiah said “Let us rise up and build”….Nehemiah made himself part of those he wished to enlist in the project. Good leaders lead by example and roll up their shirtsleeves along with the rest of them.
  • Nehemiah drew them a mental picture, showing them how they were in danger because they did not have any protection since the walls were destroyed.
  • Nehemiah also painted the vivid picture of Jerusalem in ruins along with its burned gates, thus appealing to the people’s sense of loyalty and obligation toward the city of their ancestors. Only then would Jerusalem’s citizens no longer be a disgrace.
  • 2 Samuel 2:7 Now therefore let your hands be strong, and be valiant, for Saul your lord is dead, and the house of Judah has anointed me king over them.”

19 But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite servant and Geshem the Arab heard of it, they jeered at us and despised us and said, “What is this thing that you are doing? Are you rebelling against the king?” 

  • The 3 enemies use the weapon of ridicule to deter the people from attempting the Herculean project of rebuilding the walls and gates.
  • Geshem … was a powerful chieftain of Qedar in Northwest Arabia. He was somewhat under the control of the Persians but had great freedom to govern over a confederation of Arab tribes that included Edom and the southern part of Judah.

20 Then I replied to them, “The God of heaven will make us prosper, and we his servants will arise and build, but you have no portion or right or claim in Jerusalem.”

  • Notice that Nehemiah didn’t mention the king’s approval of his work, instead, he voiced his confidence in the God of heaven.
  • For the sake of the workers, Nehemiah’s response to this first oppositional strategy was important. His answers had three parts:
    1. He did not speak of his own authority, or even the king’s authority, but of his trust in the “God of heaven”.
    2. Nehemiah advised his people to ignore the ridicule and threats and simply work.
    3. He refused to compromise. He denied his opponents a share in the work, the land, or the worship of the Jewish community.
  • Ezra 4:3 But Zerubbabel, Jeshua, and the rest of the heads of fathers’ houses in Israel said to them, “You have nothing to do with us in building a house to our God; but we alone will build to the LORD, the God of Israel, as King Cyrus the king of Persia has commanded us.”

LESSONS LEARNED CHAPTER TWO:

  • Because he heard from God, Nehemiah could speak for God.
  • Because he heard from God, his vision was clear, compelling, and included everyone.
  • His vision was right on, and so was his method for reaching his vision.
  • Nehemiah wasn’t trusting his own leadership or the skills of the people.
  • He was trusting in God alone.
  • Any vision of God is going to come with some opposition.
  • It’s not always as easy as it seems to live the vision God has given to you.
  • Nehemiah would experience opposition to his God-centered vision.

NOTES CHAPTER TWO:

Verse 10: Sanballat the Horonite  – or Sanballat I – was a Samaritan leader and official of the Achaemenid Empire of Greater Iran who lived in the mid to late 5th century BC and was a contemporary of Nehemiah.

He is best known from the Book of Nehemiah, which casts him as one of the chief opponents of the Jewish governor Nehemiah during the latter’s efforts to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and carrying out his reforms among the Jews. In Jewish tradition, he was called “the Horonite,” (another possible “the Harranite”) and was associated with Tobiah the Ammonite and Geshem the Arabian. His home was evidently at Samaria.

According to Nehemiah, when he and his escort arrived in Jerusalem, their return aroused the enmity of Sanballat and his allies. They were aggrieved that the welfare of the Jews should be fostered. When Nehemiah actually disclosed his intention of building the walls of Jerusalem they laughed him to scorn, and said, “Will ye rebel against the king?” Nehemiah resented their insinuation, and told them that they had no right in Jerusalem, nor any interest in its affairs. As soon as Sanballat and his associates heard that Nehemiah and the Jews were actually building the walls, they were angry; and Sanballat addressed the army of Samaria with a contemptuous reference to “these feeble Jews.” Tobiah appeased him by saying that a fox (or a jackal) climbing on the wall they were building would break it down. Nehemiah and his builders, the Jews, vigorously hurried the work, while Sanballat and his associates organized their forces to fight against Jerusalem. Nehemiah prepared to meet the opposition and continued the work on the walls. Five different times Sanballat and his confederates challenged Nehemiah and the Jews to meet them for a parley in the plain of Ono. Nehemiah was equal to the emergency and attended strictly to his work. Then Sanballat, with Jews in Jerusalem who were his confederates, attempted to entrap Nehemiah in the Temple; but the scheme failed. Sanballat’s Jewish allies, however, kept Sanballat and Tobiah informed as to the progress of the work in Jerusalem. With the hand of the Lord upon Nehemiah along with Nehemiah’s far-sighted policy and his shrewdness, he was kept out of the hands of these neighbor-foes. In his reforms, so effectively carried out, he discovered that one of the grandsons of the current high priest Eliashib had married a daughter of this Sanballat, and was thus son-in-law of the chief enemy of the Jews. Nehemiah also found that Eliashib had leased the storerooms of the temple to Tobiah, thus depriving the Levites of their share of the offerings in Nehemiah’s absence. The high priest (and/or possibly his son Jehoida and the unnamed grandson) was driven out of Jerusalem on the ground that he had defiled the priesthood (Nehemiah 13:28).

VERSE 10: Tobiah the Ammonite

Opposition to Nehemiah’s rebuilding effort

Tobiah was an Ammomite official (possibly a governor of Ammon, possibly also of Jewish descent). He incited the Ammonites to hinder Nehemiah’s efforts to rebuild Jerusalem.  He, along with Sanballat the Horonite and Geshem the Arabian, resorted to a stratagem and, pretending to wish a conference with Nehemiah, invited him to meet them at Ono, Benjamin. Four times they made the request, and every time Nehemiah refused to come. Their object was to frighten him from completing the restoration of Jerusalem’s walls and to do him some kind of harm.

Tobiah also had married a daughter of Shecaniah, a Judahite leader, and had given his son, Jehohanan, in marriage to the daughter of Meshullam, another Judahite leader, for ostensibly political purposes. Because of this, he somehow gained enough of a Judahite coalition to use the Judahites themselves to send letters to Nehemiah, telling him of Tobiah’s “good deeds” in an apparent attempt to weaken Nehemiah’s resolve to keep Tobiah out of the rebuilding effort. Tobiah meanwhile sent intimidating letters directly to Nehemiah.

Acquisition of the temple storerooms

Additionally, Tobiah exploited his relationship with High Priest Eliashib, whose grandson had married the daughter of Sanballat. He persuaded Eliashib to lease the storerooms of the temple to him, so that he could conduct business in the newly constructed temple. These storerooms had been intended for the Israelites’ grain offerings, incense, temple articles, and the tithes of grain, new wine and oil meant for the work of the temple and the temple workers themselves. Upon hearing this, Nehemiah, who was then in Babylon serving Artaxerxes I of Persia, requested permission to return to Judah. After returning, he promptly threw all of Tobiah’s belongings out of the temple room, purified the room, and put back all that had originally been there.

LASTLY….Lesson from the life of Nehemiah. Don’t pray to be comfortable in our circumstances; pray to be available and ready to do the will of God in every situation.

Chapter Three [return to top]

COMMENTS BEFORE CHAPTER THREE and FOUR: like the earlier reconstruction efforts under Zerubbabel and Ezra, Nehemiah’s rebuilding corps faces opposition both from without and within. As the walls begin to rise, so does opposition from leaders in surrounding provinces. For each problem, Nehemiah seeks – and finds – a God-honoring solution: Ridicule is handled with prayer; threats of violence are dealt with by adequate preparation; discouragement is met with a personal example in faith in God’s power.

A MAIN POINT in this chapter could be “God’s people must be faithful to the work He has called them to do.”

  • Matthew 5:11-12 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and falsely say every kind of evil against you because of Me. Be glad and rejoice, because your reward is great in heaven.

Rebuilding the Wall

NOTE 1: This chapter focuses on the rebuilding of the Jerusalem walls, and the 10 gates. The 10 gates of Jerusalem are:

(1) the Sheep Gate (vv. 1, 32); (2) the Fish Gate (v. 3); (3) the Jeshanah (or Old) Gate (v. 6); (4) the Valley Gate (v. 13); (5) the Dung Gate (v. 14); (6) the Fountain Gate (v. 15); (7) the Water Gate (v. 26); (8) the Horse Gate (v. 28); (9) the East Gate (v. 29); (10) and the Inspection (or Muster) Gate (v. 31). Since the gates were the most vulnerable sections of ancient walls, these were the most important segments of the project.

1 Then Eliashib the high priest rose up with his brothers the priests, and they built the Sheep Gate. They consecrated it and set its doors. They consecrated it as far as the Tower of the Hundred, as far as the Tower of Hananel.

  • Two things to notice here…the Sheep Gate:
    • The Sheep Gate was the gate were the sacrifices were held. So, it made sense that the priest take care of this area.
    • Notice that they “consecrated” this area…they set it apart for God.
  • John 5:2 Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaic called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades.
  • Jeremiah 31:38 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when the city shall be rebuilt for the Lord from the Tower of Hananel to the Corner Gate.
  • Zechariah 14:10 The whole land shall be turned into a plain from Geba to Rimmon south of Jerusalem. But Jerusalem shall remain aloft on its site from the Gate of Benjamin to the place of the former gate, to the Corner Gate, and from the Tower of Hananel to the king’s winepresses.
  • The Tower of Hananeel (or Hananel; (God) is gracious”) is a tower in the walls of Jerusalem, adjoining the Tower of Meah (or Hammeah: “the Tower of the Hundred”) to the east connecting to the “sheep gate”. It is mentioned in Nehemiah 3:1 and Nehemiah 12:39 It is located on the northern wall section of the old city, near the northeastern corner, a point of the city always requiring special fortification and later the sites successively of the Hasmonean Baris and of the Antonia Fortress.

2 And next to him the men of Jericho built. And next to them Zaccur the son of Imri built.

  • Ezra 2:34 The sons of Jericho, 345.

3 The sons of Hassenaah built the Fish Gate. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

  • 2 Chronicles 33:14 Afterward he built an outer wall for the city of David west of Gihon, in the valley, and for the entrance into the Fish Gate, and carried it around Ophel, and raised it to a very great height. He also put commanders of the army in all the fortified cities in Judah.
  • Zephaniah 1:10 “On that day,” declares the Lord, “a cry will be heard from the Fish Gate a wail from the Second Quarter, a loud crash from the hills.

4 And next to them Meremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired. And next to them Meshullam the son of Berechiah, son of Meshezabel repaired. And next to them Zadok the son of Baana repaired.

5 And next to them the Tekoites repaired, but their nobles would not stoop to serve their Lord.

6 Joiada the son of Paseah and Meshullam the son of Besodeiah repaired the Gate of Yeshanah. They laid its beams and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

7 And next to them repaired Melatiah the Gibeonite and Jadon the Meronothite, the men of Gibeon and of Mizpah, the seat of the governor of the province Beyond the River.

8 Next to them Uzziel the son of Harhaiah, goldsmiths, repaired. Next to him Hananiah, one of the perfumers, repaired, and they restored Jerusalem as far as the Broad Wall.

9 Next to them Rephaiah the son of Hur, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired.

10 Next to them Jedaiah the son of Harumaph repaired opposite his house. And next to him Hattush the son of Hashabneiah repaired.

11 Malchijah the son of Harim and Hasshub the son of Pahath-moab repaired another section and the Tower of the Ovens.

12 Next to him Shallum the son of Hallohesh, ruler of half the district of Jerusalem, repaired, he and his daughters.

13 Hanun and the inhabitants of Zanoah repaired the Valley Gate. They rebuilt it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars, and repaired a thousand cubits of the wall, as far as the Dung Gate.

14 Malchijah the son of Rechab, ruler of the district of Beth-haccherem, repaired the Dung Gate. He rebuilt it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars.

15 And Shallum the son of Col-hozeh, ruler of the district of Mizpah, repaired the Fountain Gate. He rebuilt it and covered it and set its doors, its bolts, and its bars. And he built the wall of the Pool of Shelah of the king’s garden, as far as the stairs that go down from the city of David.

  • John 9:7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing

16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, ruler of half the district of Beth-zur, repaired to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool, and as far as the house of the mighty men.

  • 2 Kings 20:20 The rest of the deeds of Hezekiah and all his might and how he made the pool and the conduit and brought water into the city, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Judah?
  • Isaiah 22:10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall.

17 After him the Levites repaired: Rehum the son of Bani. Next to him Hashabiah, ruler of half the district of Keilah, repaired for his district.

18 After him their brothers repaired: Bavvai the son of Henadad, ruler of half the district of Keilah.

19 Next to him Ezer the son of Jeshua, ruler of Mizpah, repaired another section opposite the ascent to the armory at the buttress.

  • 2 Chronicles 26:9 Moreover, Uzziah built towers in Jerusalem at the Corner Gate and at the Valley Gate and at the Angle, and fortified them.

20 After him Baruch the son of Zabbai repaired another section from the buttress to the door of the house of Eliashib the high priest.

21 After him Meremoth the son of Uriah, son of Hakkoz repaired another section from the door of the house of Eliashib to the end of the house of Eliashib.

22 After him the priests, the men of the surrounding area, repaired.

23 After them Benjamin and Hasshub repaired opposite their house. After them Azariah the son of Maaseiah, son of Ananiah repaired beside his own house.

24 After him Binnui the son of Henadad repaired another section, from the house of Azariah to the buttress

25 and to the corner. Palal the son of Uzai repaired opposite the buttress and the tower projecting from the upper house of the king at the court of the guard. After him Pedaiah the son of Parosh

  • Jeremiah 32:2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah.
  • Jeremiah 33:1 The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah a second time, while he was still shut up in the court of the guard:
  • Jeremiah 37:21 So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.

26 and the temple servants living on Ophel repaired to a point opposite the Water Gate on the east and the projecting tower.

  • Ezra 2:43 The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth,
  • 2 Chronicles 27:3 He built the upper gate of the house of the Lord and did much building on the wall of Ophel.

27 After him the Tekoites repaired another section opposite the great projecting tower as far as the wall of Ophel.

28 Above the Horse Gate the priests repaired, each one opposite his own house.

  • 2 Kings 11:16 So they laid hands on her; and she went through the horses’ entrance to the king’s house, and there she was put to death.
  • 2 Chronicles 23:14 Then Jehoiada the priest brought out the captains who were set over the army, saying to them, “Bring her out between the ranks, and anyone who follows her is to be put to death with the sword.” For the priest said, “Do not put her to death in the house of the Lord.”
  • Jeremiah 31:40 The whole valley of the dead bodies and the ashes, and all the fields as far as the brook Kidron, to the corner of the Horse Gate toward the east, shall be sacred to the Lord. It shall not be plucked up or overthrown anymore forever.”

19 After them Zadok the son of Immer repaired opposite his own house. After him Shemaiah the son of Shecaniah, the keeper of the East Gate, repaired.

30 After him Hananiah the son of Shelemiah and Hanun the sixth son of Zalaph repaired another section. After him Meshullam the son of Berechiah repaired opposite his chamber.

31 After him Malchijah, one of the goldsmiths, repaired as far as the house of the temple servants and of the merchants, opposite the Muster Gate, and to the upper chamber of the corner.

32 And between the upper chamber of the corner and the Sheep Gate the goldsmiths and the merchants repaired.

NOTEWORTHY ITEMS TO REMEMBER IN CHAPTER THREE:

  • The 32 verses in Chapter Three offer just a snapshot of the group that worked on the wall.
  • Nehemiah organized those working on the wall to rebuild a section “near their home”.
  • Goldsmiths, perfumers, and priests were all building the wall together, but building was not their primary skill set.
  • What we should learn from this is sometimes God calls us to work outside our comfort zone. God equips each of us with spiritual gifts to do the work of his ministry, but, sometimes, we are to step outside our comfort zone and we should do so with zeal and an ignited spirit for God’s work.
  • ANOTHER GREAT reading about people working together is 1 Corinthians 12:27-27. The “one body, and has many members” lesson from Paul.

Chapter Four [return to top]

Notes on Chapter Four and Chapter Five: The Samaritan army makes the work of building the walls increasingly difficult, resulting in half the men provide security duty while the other half build. Nehemiah discovers that people are in bondage to one another, having borrowed money to pay taxes, and he calls them to repent.

Opposition to the Work – 443 B.C.


Now when Sanballat heard that we were building the wall, he was angry and greatly enraged, and he jeered at the Jews. 2 And he said in the presence of his brothers and of the army of Samaria, “What are these feeble Jews doing? Will they restore it for themselves? Will they sacrifice? Will they finish up in a day? Will they revive the stones out of the heaps of rubbish, and burned ones at that?” 3 Tobiah the Ammonite was beside him, and he said, “Yes, what they are building—if a fox goes up on it he will break down their stone wall!” 4 Hear, O our God, for we are despised. Turn back their taunt on their own heads and give them up to be plundered in a land where they are captives.

  • vv. 1-3 — As the work progresses, the enemy continues to use the weapon of ridicule. They make light of the zeal of the workmen and laugh at their workmanship, saying that even a nimble fox could knock down the wall.
  • vv. 4-6 — Nehemiah ignores their sarcasm and prays to God, but continues to build.
  • Psalms123:3-4 Have mercy upon us, O Lord, have mercy upon us, for we have had more than enough of contempt. 4  Our soul has had more than enough of the scorn of those who are at ease, of the contempt of the proud.
  • Psalms 79:12 Return sevenfold into the lap of our neighbors the taunts with which they have taunted you, O Lord!
  • Proverbs 3:34 Toward the scorners he is scornful, but to the humble he gives favor.

5 Do not cover their guilt, and let not their sin be blotted out from your sight, for they have provoked you to anger in the presence of the builders.

  • Psalms 83:3-5 They lay crafty plans against your people; they consult together against your treasured ones. 4  They say, “Come, let us wipe them out as a nation; let the name of Israel be remembered no more!” 5  For they conspire with one accord; against you they make a covenant—

6 So we rebuilt the wall until all of it was joined together up to half its height, for the people had a mind to work.

7 When Sanballat and Tobiah, together with the Arabs, Ammonites, and Ashdodites, heard that the repair to the walls of Jerusalem was progressing and that the gaps were being closed, they were furious, 

  • vv. 7-9 — When the enemy sees that the wall is going up in spite of their ridicule, they become angry and decide to try to destroy the wall. Nehemiah continues to pray and build.

8 and all of them conspired to come and fight against Jerusalem and create a hindrance.

9 And we prayed to our God and set a guard as a protection against them day and night.

  • Psalms 50:15 and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me.”

10 In Judah it was said, “The strength of those who bear the burdens is failing. There is too much rubble. By ourselves we will not be able to rebuild the wall.”

  • 10 — Opposition comes next from within their own ranks — discouragement in the presence of the huge undertaking and the threat of the enemy making a surprise attack. Nehemiah arms the workmen.

11 And our enemies said, “They will not know or see till we come among them and kill them and stop the work.” 12 At that time the Jews who lived near them came from all directions and said to us ten times, “You must return to us.” 13 So in the lowest parts of the space behind the wall, in open places, I stationed the people by their clans, with their swords, their spears, and their bows. 14 And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.”

  • Numbers 14:9 Only do not rebel against the Lord. And do not fear the people of the land, for they are bread for us. Their protection is removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”
  • Deuteronomy 1:29 Then I said to you, ‘Do not be in dread or afraid of them.
  • Deuteronomy 10:17 For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe
  • 2 Sam 10:12 Be of good courage, and let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and may the Lord do what seems good to him.”


The Work Resumes


15 When our enemies heard that it was known to us and that God had frustrated their plan, we all returned to the wall, each to his work.

  • Job 5:12 He frustrates the devices of the crafty, so that their hands achieve no success.

16 From that day on, half of my servants worked on construction, and half held the spears, shields, bows, and coats of mail. And the leaders stood behind the whole house of Judah, 17 who were building on the wall. Those who carried burdens were loaded in such a way that each labored on the work with one hand and held his weapon with the other. 18 And each of the builders had his sword strapped at his side while he built. The man who sounded the trumpet was beside me. 19 And I said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “The work is great and widely spread, and we are separated on the wall, far from one another. 20 In the place where you hear the sound of the trumpet, rally to us there. Our God will fight for us.”

  • Exodus 14:14, 25 The Lord will fight for you, and you have only to be silent.” 25  clogging their chariot wheels so that they drove heavily. And the Egyptians said, “Let us flee from before Israel, for the Lord fights for them against the Egyptians.”
  • Deuteronomy 1:30 The Lord your God who goes before you will himself fight for you, just as he did for you in Egypt before your eyes,
  • Deuteronomy 3:22 You shall not fear them, for it is the Lord your God who fights for you.’
  • Deuteronomy 20:4 for the Lord your God is he who goes with you to fight for you against your enemies, to give you the victory.’
  • Joshua 23:10 One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the Lord your God who fights for you, just as he promised you.


21 So we labored at the work, and half of them held the spears from the break of dawn until the stars came out. 22 I also said to the people at that time, “Let every man and his servant pass the night within Jerusalem, that they may be a guard for us by night and may labor by day.” 23 So neither I nor my brothers nor my servants nor the men of the guard who followed me, none of us took off our clothes; each kept his weapon at his right hand.

  • 23 — Nehemiah injects a humorous note by adding that they did not take off their clothes during this trying experience — except, of course, when they took a bath!

Chapter Five [return to top]

Notes on Chapter Four and Chapter Five: The Samaritan army makes the work of building the walls increasingly difficult, resulting in half the men provide security duty while the other half build. Nehemiah discovers that people are in bondage to one another, having borrowed money to pay taxes, and he calls them to repent.

Notes on Chapter Five and Chapter Six: With progress continuing on the rebuilding of the walls, Nehemiah’s opponents shift their attacks from direct confrontation to subtle conspiracy. Sanballat and Geshem repeatedly try to sidetrack Nehemiah from his God-given assignment. Even a false prophet arises to lead Nehemiah into a potentially fatal trap-only to have his plan foiled by Nehemiah’s keen discernment. In spite of loan sharks, espionage, deceit, and attempted assassination, Nehemiah and his dedicated band of bricklayers complete the city walls in less than two months-a feat even Israel’s enemies perceive is “accomplished by God“. And now come new responsibilities for Nehemiah. As governor, he appoints, delegates, organizes, and utilizes the new leadership in the newly built city.

MAIN POINTS TO CATCH, VERSES 5:1-13:

  • We are called to respond when we see the gap between what is and what should be.
  • Anytime a nation turns its attention toward a large undertaking like a war or building project, other areas tend to suffer.
  • In Israel’s case, much of the focus had turned to rebuilding the wall, as well as defending that work, so it’s not surprising that an issue like caring for the poor was neglected.
  • Add this to a famine, and Nehemiah suddenly had a serous issue to deal with, this time coming from inside his camp.
  • Nehemiah’s example challenges us to confront sin courageously and make personal sacrifices for the good of others.

Nehemiah Stops Oppression of the Poor


5 Now there arose a great outcry of the people and of their wives against their Jewish brothers.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 1-5 — Some of their own brethren take advantage of the hard lot of others and give “help” by taking mortgages at excessive interest and also by buying their sons and daughters into slavery. This display of covetousness is the same as the idolatry which sent them into captivity.
  • Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the men of Judah are his pleasant planting; and he looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; for righteousness, but behold, an outcry!
  • Leviticus 25:35-37 “If your brother becomes poor and cannot maintain himself with you, you shall support him as though he were a stranger and a sojourner, and he shall live with you. 36 Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you. 37 You shall not lend him your money at interest, nor give him your food for profit.
  • Deuteronomy 15:7 “If among you, one of your brothers should become poor, in any of your towns within your land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart or shut your hand against your poor brother,

2 For there were those who said, “With our sons and our daughters, we are many. So let us get grain, that we may eat and keep alive.” 3 There were also those who said, “We are mortgaging our fields, our vineyards, and our houses to get grain because of the famine.” 4 And there were those who said, “We have borrowed money for the king’s tax on our fields and our vineyards. 5 Now our flesh is as the flesh of our brothers, our children are as their children. Yet we are forcing our sons and our daughters to be slaves, and some of our daughters have already been enslaved, but it is not in our power to help it, for other men have our fields and our vineyards.”

  • Isaiah 58:7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
  • Exodus 21:7 “When a man sells his daughter as a slave, she shall not go out as the male slaves do.
  • Leviticus 25:29 “If a man sells a dwelling house in a walled city, he may redeem it within a year of its sale. For a full year he shall have the right of redemption.


6 I was very angry when I heard their outcry and these words. 7 I took counsel with myself, and I brought charges against the nobles and the officials. I said to them, “You are exacting interest, each from his brother.” And I held a great assembly against them

  • Vernon McGee: 6-11 — Nehemiah is very angry when this is called to his attention, and he forces these greedy brethren to restore what they had taken.
  • Exodus 22:25 “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him.
  • Leviticus 25:36 Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.
  • Ezekiel 22:12 In you they take bribes to shed blood; you take interest and profit and make gain of your neighbors by extortion; but me you have forgotten, declares the Lord God.

8 and said to them, “We, as far as we are able, have bought back our Jewish brothers who have been sold to the nations, but you even sell your brothers that they may be sold to us!” They were silent and could not find a word to say.

  • Leviticus 25:48 then after he is sold he may be redeemed. One of his brothers may redeem him,

9 So I said, “The thing that you are doing is not good. Ought you not to walk in the fear of our God to prevent the taunts of the nations our enemies?

  • Leviticus 25:36 Take no interest from him or profit, but fear your God, that your brother may live beside you.
  • 2 Samuel 12:14 Nevertheless, because by this deed you have utterly scorned the Lord, the child who is born to you shall die.”
  • Romans 2:24  For, as it is written, “The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.”
  • 1 Peter 2:12 Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.

10 Moreover, I and my brothers and my servants are lending them money and grain. Let us abandon this exacting of interest. 11 Return to them this very day their fields, their vineyards, their olive orchards, and their houses, and the percentage of money, grain, wine, and oil that you have been exacting from them.” 12 Then they said, “We will restore these and require nothing from them. We will do as you say.” And I called the priests and made them swear to do as they had promised.

  • Ezra 10:5 Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.
  • Jeremiah 34:8-9 The word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord, after King Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people in Jerusalem to make a proclamation of liberty to them, 9 that everyone should set free his Hebrew slaves, male and female, so that no one should enslave a Jew, his brother.

13 I also shook out the fold of my garment and said, “So may God shake out every man from his house and from his labor who does not keep this promise. So may he be shaken out and emptied.” And all the assembly said “Amen” and praised the Lord. And the people did as they had promised.

  • Matthew 10:14 And if anyone will not receive you or listen to your words, shake off the dust from your feet when you leave that house or town.
  • Acts 13:51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.
  • Acts 18:6 And when they opposed and reviled him, he shook out his garments and said to them, “Your blood be on your own heads! I am innocent. From now on I will go to the Gentiles.”
  • 2 Kings 23:3 And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.

FINAL COMMENTARY NOTES VERSES 1-13. The business men were legal in their business interactions, loaning money and charging interest, they were not breaking the law. BUT, due to the current situation, where all the men were trying to rebuild the temple walls, the business men were taking advantage of the poor and demanding payment in light of the severe economic situation.

INTRODUCTORY COMMENTS ON CHAPTER FIVE, VERSES 14 TO 19:

  • Despite the power he was given, Nehemiah treated people in a way that honored God.
  • In Nehemiah’s day, internal injustices threatened to compromise the rebuilding task. Nehemiah had to deal with these problems quickly and decisively.
  • As we serve God, we may also be called on to address injustices that come to our attention.
  • Stepping up to serve the Lord does not give us permission to mistreat others.
  • Indeed, as we will see in verses 14 to 19, as we serve God, we need to make fair treatment of others a priority.


Nehemiah’s Generosity
14 Moreover, from the time that I was appointed to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, neither I nor my brothers ate the food allowance of the governor.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 14-19 — Nehemiah, on a leave of absence from his position as cupbearer for King Artaxerxes, had refused to accept the salary formerly paid to the governor of Israel, which came from taxing the people. His example should have been an inspiration and example to his brethren.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:4, 15 Do we not have the right to eat and drink? 15 But I have made no use of any of these rights, nor am I writing these things to secure any such provision. For I would rather die than have anyone deprive me of my ground for boasting.

15 The former governors who were before me laid heavy burdens on the people and took from them for their daily ration forty shekels of silver. Even their servants lorded it over the people. But I did not do so, because of the fear of God.

  • 2 Corinthians 11:9 And when I was with you and was in need, I did not burden anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied my need. So I refrained and will refrain from burdening you in any way.
  • 2 Corinthians 12:13 For in what were you less favored than the rest of the churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!

16 I also persevered in the work on this wall, and we acquired no land, and all my servants were gathered there for the work. 17 Moreover, there were at my table 150 men, Jews and officials, besides those who came to us from the nations that were around us.

  • 2 Samuel 9:7 And David said to him, “Do not fear, for I will show you kindness for the sake of your father Jonathan, and I will restore to you all the land of Saul your father, and you shall eat at my table always.”
  • 1 Kings 18:19 Now therefore send and gather all Israel to me at Mount Carmel, and the 450 prophets of Baal and the 400 prophets of Asherah, who eat at Jezebel’s table.”

18 Now what was prepared at my expense for each day was one ox and six choice sheep and birds, and every ten days all kinds of wine in abundance. Yet for all this I did not demand the food allowance of the governor, because the service was too heavy on this people. 19 Remember for my good, O my God, all that I have done for this people.

  • 1 Kings 4:22 Solomon’s provision for one day was thirty cors of fine flour and sixty cors of meal,

Chapter Six [return to top]

Notes on Chapter Six, Chapter Seven, and Chapter Eight. Nehemiah experiences more opposition from the neighboring foes, yet the wall is completed incredibly in just 52 days. Nehemiah gives the genealogy of Jews who have returned to Jerusalem and they celebrate the completion of the work.

Conspiracy Against Nehemiah


6 Now when Sanballat and Tobiah and Geshem the Arab and the rest of our enemies heard that I had built the wall and that there was no breach left in it (although up to that time I had not set up the doors in the gates), 2 Sanballat and Geshem sent to me, saying, “Come and let us meet together at Hakkephirim in the plain of Ono.” But they intended to do me harm.

  • Vernon McGee vv. 1-3 — The enemies (Sanballat, Tobiah and Geshem) hear that the wall is completed, but Nehemiah honestly admits the report is a bit exaggerated (the gates are not set up). The enemy reverses the opposition. Since they could not stop the work, they now propose to get together with Nehemiah and work out a compromise. However, their intention is not to promote the welfare of Nehemiah. This is the satanic method of “when you can’t beat them, join them.” Today it is called the ecumenical movement. Nehemiah properly turns it down and for the 14th time inserts the little word “so” that tells us much.
  • Proverbs 26:24-25 Whoever hates disguises himself with his lips and harbors deceit in his heart; 25  when he speaks graciously, believe him not, for there are seven abominations in his heart;
  • Psalms 37:12, 32 The wicked plots against the righteous and gnashes his teeth at him, 32 The wicked watches for the righteous and seeks to put him to death.

3 And I sent messengers to them, saying, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down. Why should the work stop while I leave it and come down to you?” 4 And they sent to me four times in this way, and I answered them in the same manner.

  • Vernon McGee: v. 4 — The enemy approaches Nehemiah 4 times. It is interesting to note (v. 2) the name of the village where they proposed to meet — Ono. That is Nehemiah’s answer, “O, no!”

5 In the same way Sanballat for the fifth time sent his servant to me with an open letter in his hand.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 5-7 — On the 5th approach to Nehemiah, they insert a subtle pressure to force him to meet with them. They circulate a false report that Nehemiah is attempting to rebel against Persia and set up a separate state. Gashmu (the gossip) is spreading the report (v. 6).

6 In it was written, “It is reported among the nations, and Geshem also says it, that you and the Jews intend to rebel; that is why you are building the wall. And according to these reports you wish to become their king. 7 And you have also set up prophets to proclaim concerning you in Jerusalem, ‘There is a king in Judah.’ And now the king will hear of these reports. So now come and let us take counsel together.” 8 Then I sent to him, saying, “No such things as you say have been done, for you are inventing them out of your own mind.” 9 For they all wanted to frighten us, thinking, “Their hands will drop from the work, and it will not be done.” But now, O God, strengthen my hands.

  • Vernon McGee vv. 9-14 — The enemy then hires false prophets to make Nehemiah and the people afraid.

10 Now when I went into the house of Shemaiah the son of Delaiah, son of Mehetabel, who was confined to his home, he said, “Let us meet together in the house of God, within the temple. Let us close the doors of the temple, for they are coming to kill you. They are coming to kill you by night.” 11 But I said, “Should such a man as I run away? And what man such as I could go into the temple and live? I will not go in.” 12 And I understood and saw that God had not sent him, but he had pronounced the prophecy against me because Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.

  • Ezekiel 12:22 “Son of man, what is this proverb that you have about the land of Israel, saying, ‘The days grow long, and every vision comes to nothing’?

13 For this purpose he was hired, that I should be afraid and act in this way and sin, and so they could give me a bad name in order to taunt me. 14 Remember Tobiah and Sanballat, O my God, according to these things that they did, and also the prophetess Noadiah and the rest of the prophets who wanted to make me afraid.

  • Ezekiel 13:17 “And you, son of man, set your face against the daughters of your people, who prophesy out of their own hearts. Prophesy against them

INTRODUCTION TO CHAPTER SIX, VERSE 15, to CHAPTER SEVEN, VERSE 5:

  • The wall is finished but opposition still existed.
  • The best defense was for God’s people to continue to follow Him in faithfulness.
  • As we read the end of Chapter Six, we learn that the rebuilding of the wall was complete. However, this didn’t solve all their problems.
  • They still faced opposition.
  • Israel had to continue to be vigilant in following the Lord in faithfulness.


The Wall Is Finished


15 So the wall was finished on the twenty-fifth day of the month Elul, in fifty-two days.

  • Vernon McGee vv. 15-19 — Without fanfare of trumpets, great ceremony or ribbon cutting, the wall is finished. The brief, expressive word “so” tells the story — “So the wall was finished” (v. 15). The enemy still persists in its opposition by circulating letters to the nobles of Judah, as Tobiah had evidently married a daughter of one of the nobles.

16 And when all our enemies heard of it, all the nations around us were afraid and fell greatly in their own esteem, for they perceived that this work had been accomplished with the help of our God.

  • Psalms 126:2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter, and our tongue with shouts of joy; then they said among the nations, “The Lord has done great things for them.”
  • fell greatly in their own esteem” … Original text indicates “were much cast down in their own eyes.”

17 Moreover, in those days the nobles of Judah sent many letters to Tobiah, and Tobiah’s letters came to them. 18 For many in Judah were bound by oath to him, because he was the son-in-law of Shecaniah the son of Arah: and his son Jehohanan had taken the daughter of Meshullam the son of Berechiah as his wife. 19 Also they spoke of his good deeds in my presence and reported my words to him. And Tobiah sent letters to make me afraid.

  • Tobiah had married the daughter of Shecaniah son of Arah.
  • Tobiah’s son Jehohanan had married the daughter of Meshullam son of Berekiah.
  • These Jewish connections indicate that Tobiah enjoyed a great deal of influence among it’s leaders and wealthy residents.
  • Unlike Sanballat, Tobiah was NOT an outsider.
  • Tobiah’s efforts to oppose Nehemiah were more subtle than an army coming to attack the new wall.
  • He infiltrated Judah’s ranks and built ties with influential people.
  • He did these things to undermine Nehemiah’s leadership, and Nehemiah knew it.

Chapter Seven [return to top]

Now when the wall had been built and I had set up the doors, and the gatekeepers, the singers, and the Levites had been appointed, 2 I gave my brother Hanani and Hananiah the governor of the castle charge over Jerusalem, for he was a more faithful and God-fearing man than many.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 1-4 — Nehemiah, having finished the wall, gives Hanani and Hananiah charge of Jerusalem. He instructs them to keep the gates closed at certain times to prevent the enemy from entering. “Eternal vigilance” is the price of Christian liberty.
  • Nehemiah put Godly men in charge of Security. He also gave them instructions on how to protect the city.
  • Exodus 18:21 Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens.
  • gatekeepers = See Ezra 2:42 and 1 Chronicles 9:17-19. Gatekeepers normally guarded the temple gates, but because of the danger in the city, they were appointed to stand guard at the city gates along with the singers and the Levites.

3 And I said to them, “Let not the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot. And while they are still standing guard, let them shut and bar the doors. Appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, some at their guard posts and some in front of their own homes.” 4 The city was wide and large, but the people within it were few, and no houses had been rebuilt.

  • Vs 3. The gates were to be shut and bolted before the guards went off duty.


Lists of Returned Exiles

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 5-73 — This is a repetition of the genealogy given in Ezra 2. Unnecessary though this may seem to us, it is repeated because it is important to God and He challenges us to read it. “The righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance” (Psalm 112:6). God never forgets the faithful. This chapter comes from the book of eternity.

5 Then my God put it into my heart to assemble the nobles and the officials and the people to be enrolled by genealogy. And I found the book of the genealogy of those who came up at the first, and I found written in it:

  • The wall was only the first step in the rebuilding process
  • Jerusalem was still a desolate place and sparsely populated
  • God put it in Nehemiah’s heart to rebuild the spiritual integrity and development of the Hebrew community, not just the physical city.
  • The census prompted the gathering of the people for registration so each family could prove their lineage, a process which would encourage Jews to move back to Jerusalem.

6 These were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried into exile. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his town.

  • Ezra 2:1 Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town.
  • Commentaries note that verses 6-25 are “Families”; verses 26 to 28 are “Villagers; and verses 29 to 42 are Priests; and verse 43 is Levites; and verses 44 to 60 are the Temple Staff; verses 61 to 65 are individuals without evidence of genealogies.

7 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Azariah, Raamiah, Nahamani, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispereth, Bigvai, Nehum, Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel: 8 the sons of Parosh, 2,172. 9 The sons of Shephatiah, 372. 10 The sons of Arah, 652. 11 The sons of Pahath-moab, namely the sons of Jeshua and Joab, 2,818. 12 The sons of Elam, 1,254. 13 The sons of Zattu, 845. 14 The sons of Zaccai, 760. 15 The sons of Binnui, 648. 16 The sons of Bebai, 628. 17 The sons of Azgad, 2,322. 18 The sons of Adonikam, 667. 19 The sons of Bigvai, 2,067. 20 The sons of Adin, 655. 21 The sons of Ater, namely of Hezekiah, 98. 22 The sons of Hashum, 328. 23 The sons of Bezai, 324. 24 The sons of Hariph, 112. 25 The sons of Gibeon, 95. 26 The men of Bethlehem and Netophah, 188. 27 The men of Anathoth, 128. 28 The men of Beth-azmaveth, 42. 29 The men of Kiriath-jearim, Chephirah, and Beeroth, 743. 30 The men of Ramah and Geba, 621. 31 The men of Michmas, 122. 32 The men of Bethel and Ai, 123. 33 The men of the other Nebo, 52. 34 The sons of the other Elam, 1,254. 35 The sons of Harim, 320. 36 The sons of Jericho, 345. 37 The sons of Lod, Hadid, and Ono, 721. 38 The sons of Senaah, 3,930. 39 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, namely the house of Jeshua, 973.

  • 1 Chronicles 24:7 The first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,

40 The sons of Immer, 1,052.

  • 1 Chronicles 24:14 the thirteenth to Huppah, the fourteenth to Jeshebeab,


41 The sons of Pashhur, 1,247. 42 The sons of Harim, 1,017.

  • 1 Chronicles 24:8 The first lot fell to Jehoiarib, the second to Jedaiah,

43 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua, namely of Kadmiel of the sons of Hodevah, 74.

  • Ezra 2:40 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, 74.
  • Ezra 3:9 And Jeshua with his sons and his brothers, and Kadmiel and his sons, the sons of Judah, together supervised the workmen in the house of God, along with the sons of Henadad and the Levites, their sons and brothers.

44 The singers: the sons of Asaph, 148. 45 The gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, the sons of Shobai, 138. 46 The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth, 47 the sons of Keros, the sons of Sia, the sons of Padon, 48 the sons of Lebana, the sons of Hagaba, the sons of Shalmai, 49 the sons of Hanan, the sons of Giddel, the sons of Gahar, 50 the sons of Reaiah, the sons of Rezin, the sons of Nekoda, 51 the sons of Gazzam, the sons of Uzza, the sons of Paseah, 52 the sons of Besai, the sons of Meunim, the sons of Nephushesim, 53 the sons of Bakbuk, the sons of Hakupha, the sons of Harhur, 54 the sons of Bazlith, the sons of Mehida, the sons of Harsha, 55 the sons of Barkos, the sons of Sisera, the sons of Temah, 56 the sons of Neziah, the sons of Hatipha. 57 The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Sophereth, the sons of Perida, 58 the sons of Jaala, the sons of Darkon, the sons of Giddel, 59 the sons of Shephatiah, the sons of Hattil, the sons of Pochereth-hazzebaim, the sons of Amon. 60 All the temple servants and the sons of Solomon’s servants were 392.
61 The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addon, and Immer, but they could not prove their fathers’ houses nor their descent, whether they belonged to Israel:

  • Ezra 2:59 The following were those who came up from Tel-melah, Tel-harsha, Cherub, Addan, and Immer, though they could not prove their fathers’ houses or their descent, whether they belonged to Israel:

62 the sons of Delaiah, the sons of Tobiah, the sons of Nekoda, 642. 63 Also, of the priests: the sons of Hobaiah, the sons of Hakkoz, the sons of Barzillai (who had taken a wife of the daughters of Barzillai the Gileadite and was called by their name). 64 These sought their registration among those enrolled in the genealogies, but it was not found there, so they were excluded from the priesthood as unclean. 65 The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food until a priest with Urim and Thummim should arise.


Totals of People and Gifts


66 The whole assembly together was 42,360, 67 besides their male and female servants, of whom there were 7,337. And they had 245 singers, male and female. 68 Their horses were 736, their mules 245, 69 their camels 435, and their donkeys 6,720. 70 Now some of the heads of fathers’ houses gave to the work. The governor gave to the treasury 1,000 darics of gold, 50 basins, 30 priests’ garments and 500 minas of silver. 71 And some of the heads of fathers’ houses gave into the treasury of the work 20,000 darics of gold and 2,200 minas of silver. 72 And what the rest of the people gave was 20,000 darics of gold, 2,000 minas of silver, and 67 priests’ garments. 73 So the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, some of the people, the temple servants, and all Israel, lived in their towns. And when the seventh month had come, the people of Israel were in their towns

  • Ezra 3:1 When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem.
  • Nehemiah was sensitive to the long-term needs of the community.
  • Jerusalem would not have been safe if it was underpopulated.
  • Apparently some of the people preferred to live in the surrounding villages and not in Jerusalem.
  • The genealogical list is used to choose those who would live in Jerusalem.
  • It is important to show that this community, those small and weak, furthered God’s plan for Israel.
  • It was important that members of the community be valued as individuals by God, and to be sure of their genealogy.
  • To God, each individual and each family is significant.
  • Inhabitants were not simply lumped together with a single identity.
  • Instead, valuable space in Scripture was given to otherwise unknown families and individuals.
  • The people needed to recognize their roots in the pre-exilic Israelite community as a reassurance that they were the continuation of God’s redemptive plan, and that God would not forsake them.
  • Through this community and their descendants, we have the Scriptures; and through this community, Jesus Christ came into the world.
  • Even though the community was practically unnoticed in the world at the time, they constituted the center of God’s redemptive plan.

Chapter Eight [return to top]

443 BC

Note 1: The first half of the book of Nehemiah teaches valuable lessons about working for God; the second half emphasizes worshiping God. Beginning with Chapter 8 the account becomes biographical rather than autobiographical (no longer is it in the first person, “I”). Now it centers on the spiritual rather than physical wellbeing of the people. The public reading and explanation of God’s Word brings a sweeping revival to the city. Rejoicing at the sound of God’s precious laws preached by Ezra the priest, the people respond with prayers and confession, worship to God, and a fresh resolve to live godly lives in keeping with their commitment.

Note 2: Ezra and his assistants read from “the book of the law of God, translating and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was read.” (Nehemiah 8:8). After their years of exile, many of the Jews no longer understood Hebrew, requiring interpretation an explanation in Aramaic – the language of the common people.

Vernon McGee: II. REVIVAL and REFORM, Chapters 8 — 13

Ezra Reads the Law
1 And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate. And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 1-6 — Ezra stands upon a pulpit of wood before the water gate. (The Word of God is spiritual water.) Ezra reads in the Law of Moses from morning until noon.
  • Ezra 3:1 When the seventh month came, and the children of Israel were in the towns, the people gathered as one man to Jerusalem.

2 So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month.

  • Deuteronomy 31:11-12 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law,
  • Leviticus 23:24 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.

3 And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand. And the ears of all the people were attentive to the Book of the Law. 4 And Ezra the scribe stood on a wooden platform that they had made for the purpose. And beside him stood Mattithiah, Shema, Anaiah, Uriah, Hilkiah, and Maaseiah on his right hand, and Pedaiah, Mishael, Malchijah, Hashum, Hashbaddanah, Zechariah, and Meshullam on his left hand. 5 And Ezra opened the book in the sight of all the people, for he was above all the people, and as he opened it all the people stood.

  • Judges 3:20 And Ehud came to him as he was sitting alone in his cool roof chamber. And Ehud said, “I have a message from God for you.” And he arose from his seat.

6 And Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God, and all the people answered, “Amen, Amen,” lifting up their hands. And they bowed their heads and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.

  • 1 Corinthians 14:16 Otherwise, if you give thanks with your spirit, how can anyone in the position of an outsider say “Amen” to your thanksgiving when he does not know what you are saying?
  • Lamentations 3:41 Let us lift up our hearts and hands to God in heaven:
  • 1 Timothy 2:8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;
  • Exodus 4:31 And the people believed; and when they heard that the Lord had visited the people of Israel and that he had seen their affliction, they bowed their heads and worshiped.
  • Exodus 12:27 you shall say, ‘It is the sacrifice of the Lord’s Passover, for he passed over the houses of the people of Israel in Egypt, when he struck the Egyptians but spared our houses.’ ” And the people bowed their heads and worshiped.
  • 2 Chronicles 20:18 Then Jehoshaphat bowed his head with his face to the ground, and all Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem fell down before the Lord, worshiping the Lord.

7 Also Jeshua, Bani, Sherebiah, Jamin, Akkub, Shabbethai, Hodiah, Maaseiah, Kelita, Azariah, Jozabad, Hanan, Pelaiah, the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 7, 8 — Ezra evidently reads a portion and then the Levites, scattered in the crowd, explain it to the people. (Note: The method used here is still God’s method. The Word is to be read distinctly and explained so that the people can understand it.)
  • Leviticus 10:11 and you are to teach the people of Israel all the statutes that the Lord has spoken to them by Moses.”
  • Deuteronomy 33:10 They shall teach Jacob your rules and Israel your law; they shall put incense before you and whole burnt offerings on your altar.
  • 2 Chronicles 17:7 In the third year of his reign he sent his officials, Ben-hail, Obadiah, Zechariah, Nethanel, and Micaiah, to teach in the cities of Judah;
  • Malachi 2:7 For the lips of a priest should guard knowledge, and people should seek instruction from his mouth, for he is the messenger of the Lord of hosts.

8 They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
This Day Is Holy
9 And Nehemiah, who was the governor, and Ezra the priest and scribe, and the Levites who taught the people said to all the people, “This day is holy to the Lord your God; do not mourn or weep.” For all the people wept as they heard the words of the Law.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 9-12 — Many people are overcome with emotion as they had never before heard the Word of God. They weep. Nehemiah urges the people not to weep but to rejoice. Here is the source of Christian strength, “for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (8:10).
  • Ezra 2:63 The governor told them that they were not to partake of the most holy food, until there should be a priest to consult Urim and Thummim.
  • Leviticus 23:24 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.
  • Numbers 29:1 “On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work.
  • Deuteronomy 16:14 You shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow who are within your towns.
  • Ecclesiastes 3:4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance;
  • This verse is important because it links the ministries of Nehemiah and Ezra. Many critical scholars regard the mention of these great leaders together as an anachronistic attempt to link together the ministries of two men who, according to these scholars, were not contemporaries. Yet there are no insurmountable problems, either textually or historically, that preclude the historicity of this event. Admittedly it seems odd that Nehemiah makes no mention of Ezra, a man of such prominence, until this point in the narrative. This does not necessarily mean that Ezra was not there. The prophets Haggai and Zechariah were contemporaries who both prophesied to the people of Jerusalem and Judah, yet neither mentions the other. Here the author clearly attests to a joint ministry of Ezra and Nehemiah, who participated together in the covenant renewal (chaps. 8–10) and took part together in the great procession and dedication of the walls of Jerusalem (12:27-43). The command, “Do not mourn or weep,” seems baffling since the leaders would have been encouraged by the contrition and repentance of the people. However, this dedication of the wall occurred on the “first day of the seventh month” (v. 2) during the New Year celebration. The feast days were to be days of joy (Lev. 23:24; Deut. 12:12; 16:11), not mourning.

10 Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.”

  • Esther 9:19 Therefore the Jews of the villages, who live in the rural towns, hold the fourteenth day of the month of Adar as a day for gladness and feasting, as a holiday, and as a day on which they send gifts of food to one another.
  • Revelation 11:10  and those who dwell on the earth will rejoice over them and make merry and exchange presents, because these two prophets had been a torment to those who dwell on the earth.
  • Rather than mourning, the people were commanded to go and “eat what is rich, drink what is sweet.” The term “rich” translates a Hebrew word found in the Old Testament only here in this verse but clearly related to the verb “to make fat, to be fat.” It refers to choice foods appropriate for a celebration. The “sweet” drink mentioned here may have been wine mixed with honey, a popular drink long before the time of Christ. The people were to stop grieving because their strength came from the joy of the Lord . True security was found in Yahweh alone.

11 So the Levites calmed all the people, saying, “Be quiet, for this day is holy; do not be grieved.” 12 And all the people went their way to eat and drink and to send portions and to make great rejoicing, because they had understood the words that were declared to them.

  • The peace offering, or fellowship offering, explained in Lev 3 was often accompanied by a meal. Most of the meat of the offering was eaten by the one who offered the sacrifice. The peace offering, or fellowship offering, is mentioned together with feasting in 2 Sam 6:18–19; 1 Chr 29:22; 2 Chr 30:21–26. Here, too, there may have been a combination of fellowship offering and fellowship meal. Some must have prepared it, but they were to share with those who did not have it prepared, perhaps in some cases because they were too poor. The day was “sacred” and deserved to be celebrated. God calls his people to the celebration of new life (Luke 19:1–10). One’s faith is optimistic because of God’s power. Real joy is an expression of faith in what God can do and is doing.

COMMENT: As we move into Chapter 8, verses 13 to 18, we discuss “celebration“. Because of God’s call to obey His commands, some people view Christianity as somber and joyless. However, nothing could be further from the truth. God’s Word calls us to repentance and obedience, but it also calls us to celebrate! In Nehemiah 8, verses 13 to 18, we’ll see that when the people learned from God’s Word that they should be observing the Festival of Booths, they got right to it. God created us and it brings Him joy when we celebrate Him and His goodness in our lives.


Feast of Booths Celebrated
13 On the second day the heads of fathers’ houses of all the people, with the priests and the Levites, came together to Ezra the scribe in order to study the words of the Law. 14 And they found it written in the Law that the Lord had commanded by Moses that the people of Israel should dwell in booths during the feast of the seventh month,

  • Leviticus 23:34, 42 “Speak to the people of Israel, saying, On the fifteenth day of this seventh month and for seven days is the Feast of Booths to the Lord. 42 You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All native Israelites shall dwell in booths,
  • Deuteronomy 16:13 You shall keep the Feast of Booths seven days, when you have gathered in the produce from your threshing floor and your winepress.

15 and that they should proclaim it and publish it in all their towns and in Jerusalem, “Go out to the hills and bring branches of olive, wild olive, myrtle, palm, and other leafy trees to make booths, as it is written.”

  • Leviticus 23:4 These are the appointed feasts of the Lord, the holy convocations, which you shall proclaim at the time appointed for them.
  • Deuteronomy 16:16 Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Booths.
  • Leviticus 23:40 And you shall take on the first day the fruit of splendid trees, branches of palm trees and boughs of leafy trees and willows of the brook, and you shall rejoice before the Lord your God seven days.

16 So the people went out and brought them and made booths for themselves, each on his roof, and in their courts and in the courts of the house of God, and in the square at the Water Gate and in the square at the Gate of Ephraim.

  • Deuteronomy 22:8 “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, that you may not bring the guilt of blood upon your house, if anyone should fall from it.
  • 2 Kings 14:13  And Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem for four hundred cubits, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate.

17 And all the assembly of those who had returned from the captivity made booths and lived in the booths, for from the days of Jeshua the son of Nun to that day the people of Israel had not done so. And there was very great rejoicing.

  • 2 Chronicles 30:21 And the people of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness, and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing with all their might to the Lord.

18 And day by day, from the first day to the last day, he read from the Book of the Law of God. They kept the feast seven days, and on the eighth day there was a solemn assembly, according to the rule.

  • Deuteronomy 31:10 And Moses commanded them, “At the end of every seven years, at the set time in the year of release, at the Feast of Booths,
  • Leviticus 23:36 For seven days you shall present food offerings to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall hold a holy convocation and present a food offering to the Lord. It is a solemn assembly; you shall not do any ordinary work.

COMMENTS on verses 13 to 18: When the Jews heard this Law read, they recognized they were to live in booths during the feast of the seventh month. They immediately responded by building booths and obeying what they had learned from God’s Word. Obedience to God is evidence of love for Him and relationship with Him. Obedience to God’s Word affirms our belief in the truth of His Word and is evidence of love for God. Those who hear God’s Word should listen attentively and then obey the Word. Lives are changed and communities are impacted when people hear and understand God’s Word.

Chapter Nine [return to top]

Notes for Chapter Nine, Chapter Ten, Chapter Eleven, and Chapter Twelve. Nehemiah records the remnant of the Jews’ formal repentance of past sins and promise to keep God’s commandments. He also provides list of overseers and priests, and the walls of Jerusalem are dedicated.

Vernon McGee: Revival — the result, Chapters 9, 10

The People of Israel Confess Their Sin
 Now on the twenty-fourth day of this month the people of Israel were assembled with fasting and in sackcloth, and with earth on their heads.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 1-3 — The ingredients and order of revival are important. Reading the Word of God (studying and understanding it) is essential and basic. Fasting, sackcloth, and ashes reveal their attitude and sincerity. Confession and worship follow.
  • Joshua 7:6 Then Joshua tore his clothes and fell to the earth on his face before the ark of the Lord until the evening, he and the elders of Israel. And they put dust on their heads.
  • 1 Samuel 4:12  A man of Benjamin ran from the battle line and came to Shiloh the same day, with his clothes torn and with dirt on his head.
  • 2 Samuel 1:2 And on the third day, behold, a man came from Saul’s camp, with his clothes torn and dirt on his head. And when he came to David, he fell to the ground and paid homage.
  • Job 2:12 And when they saw him from a distance, they did not recognize him. And they raised their voices and wept, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads toward heaven.

2 And the Israelites separated themselves from all foreigners and stood and confessed their sins and the iniquities of their fathers.

  • Ezra 10:11 Now then make confession to the Lord, the God of your fathers and do his will. Separate yourselves from the peoples of the land and from the foreign wives.”

3 And they stood up in their place and read from the Book of the Law of the Lord their God for a quarter of the day; for another quarter of it they made confession and worshiped the Lord their God. 4 On the stairs of the Levites stood Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani; and they cried with a loud voice to the Lord their God.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 4-38 — This is a great prayer of confession — praise and adoration of God as Creator (vv. 5, 6); praise and adoration because of His providential dealings with Israel; recitation and reminder of their long history. (Stephen recited this same history in Acts 7, but it led to murder, not to revival; to his condemnation, not to their confession.) Note the confession of their sins (vv. 34-38).

5 Then the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabneiah, Sherebiah, Hodiah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said, “Stand up and bless the Lord your God from everlasting to everlasting. Blessed be your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise.

  • 1 Chronicles 29:13 And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.


6  “You are the Lord, you alone. You have made heaven, the heaven of heavens, with all their host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them; and you preserve all of them; and the host of heaven worships you.

  • 2 Kings 19:15, 19 15 And Hezekiah prayed before the Lord and said: “O Lord, the God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 19 So now, O Lord our God, save us, please, from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, O Lord, are God alone.”
  • Psalms 86:10 For you are great and do wondrous things; you alone are God.
  • Isaiah 37:16, 20 “O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, enthroned above the cherubim, you are the God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 20 So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.”
  • Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
  • Exodus 20:11 For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
  • Revelation 14:7 7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”
  • Deuteronomy 10:14 Behold, to the Lord your God belong heaven and the heaven of heavens, the earth with all that is in it.
  • 1 Kings 8:27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!
  • Genesis 2:1 Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. 2
  • Psalms 36:6 Your righteousness is like the mountains of God; your judgments are like the great deep; man and beast you save, O Lord.

7 You are the Lord, the God who chose Abram and brought him out of Ur of the Chaldeans and gave him the name Abraham.

  • Genesis 11:31 Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram’s wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan, but when they came to Haran, they settled there.
  • Genesis 17:5 No longer shall your name be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham, for I have made you the father of a multitude of nations.

8 You found his heart faithful before you, and made with him the covenant to give to his offspring the land of the Canaanite, the Hittite, the Amorite, the Perizzite, the Jebusite, and the Girgashite. And you have kept your promise, for you are righteous.

  • Genesis 15:18 On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates,
  • Joshua 23:14 “And now I am about to go the way of all the earth, and you know in your hearts and souls, all of you, that not one word has failed of all the good things that the Lord your God promised concerning you. All have come to pass for you; not one of them has failed.


9 “And you saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt and heard their cry at the Red Sea,

  • Exodus 2:25 God saw the people of Israel—and God knew.
  • Exodus 14:10 When Pharaoh drew near, the people of Israel lifted up their eyes, and behold, the Egyptians were marching after them, and they feared greatly. And the people of Israel cried out to the Lord.

10 and performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh and all his servants and all the people of his land, for you knew that they acted arrogantly against our fathers. And you made a name for yourself, as it is to this day.

  • Exodus 18:11 Now I know that the Lord is greater than all gods, because in this affair they dealt arrogantly with the people.”
  • Jeremiah 32:20 You have shown signs and wonders in the land of Egypt, and to this day in Israel and among all mankind, and have made a name for yourself, as at this day.

11 And you divided the sea before them, so that they went through the midst of the sea on dry land, and you cast their pursuers into the depths, as a stone into mighty waters.

  • Exodus 14:21 Then Moses stretched out his hand over the sea, and the Lord drove the sea back by a strong east wind all night and made the sea dry land, and the waters were divided.
  • Exodus 15:5 The floods covered them they went down into the depths like a stone.

12 By a pillar of cloud you led them in the day, and by a pillar of fire in the night to light for them the way in which they should go.

  • Exodus 13:21 And the Lord went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

13 You came down on Mount Sinai and spoke with them from heaven and gave them right rules and true laws, good statutes and commandments,

  • Exodus 20:1 And God spoke all these words, saying,
  • Romans 7:12 So the law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good.

14 and you made known to them your holy Sabbath and commanded them commandments and statutes and a law by Moses your servant.

  • Genesis 2:3 So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all his work that he had done in creation.

15 You gave them bread from heaven for their hunger and brought water for them out of the rock for their thirst, and you told them to go in to possess the land that you had sworn to give them.

  • Exodus 16:14 And when the dew had gone up, there was on the face of the wilderness a fine, flake-like thing, fine as frost on the ground.
  • Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.
  • Deuteronomy 1:8 See, I have set the land before you. Go in and take possession of the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give to them and to their offspring after them.’
  • Numbers 14:30 not one shall come into the land where I swore that I would make you dwell, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun.

16 “But they and our fathers acted presumptuously and stiffened their neck and did not obey your commandments.

  • Psalms 106:6 Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
  • Deuteronomy 31:27 For I know how rebellious and stubborn you are. Behold, even today while I am yet alive with you, you have been rebellious against the Lord. How much more after my death!

17 They refused to obey and were not mindful of the wonders that you performed among them, but they stiffened their neck and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt. But you are a God ready to forgive, gracious and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and did not forsake them.

  • Psalms 78:11 They forgot his works and the wonders that he had shown them.
  • Numbers 14:4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”
  • Joel 2:13 and rend your hearts and not your garments.” Return to the Lord your God, for he is gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love; and he relents over disaster.

18 Even when they had made for themselves a golden calf and said, ‘This is your God who brought you up out of Egypt,’ and had committed great blasphemies,

  • Exodus 32:4 And he received the gold from their hand and fashioned it with a graving tool and made a golden calf. And they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt!”

19 you in your great mercies did not forsake them in the wilderness. The pillar of cloud to lead them in the way did not depart from them by day, nor the pillar of fire by night to light for them the way by which they should go.

  • Psalms 106:45 For their sake he remembered his covenant, and relented according to the abundance of his steadfast love.
  • 1 Corinthians 10:1 For I do not want you to be unaware, brothers, that our fathers were all under the cloud, and all passed through the sea,

20 You gave your good Spirit to instruct them and did not withhold your manna from their mouth and gave them water for their thirst.

  • Numbers 11:17 And I will come down and talk with you there. And I will take some of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them, and they shall bear the burden of the people with you, so that you may not bear it yourself alone.
  • Exodus 16:15 When the people of Israel saw it, they said to one another, “What is it?” For they did not know what it was. And Moses said to them, “It is the bread that the Lord has given you to eat.
  • Exodus 17:6 Behold, I will stand before you there on the rock at Horeb, and you shall strike the rock, and water shall come out of it, and the people will drink.” And Moses did so, in the sight of the elders of Israel.

21 Forty years you sustained them in the wilderness, and they lacked nothing. Their clothes did not wear out and their feet did not swell.

  • Deuteronomy 2:7 For the Lord your God has blessed you in all the work of your hands. He knows your going through this great wilderness. These forty years the Lord your God has been with you. You have lacked nothing.” ’
  • Deuteronomy 8:4 Your clothing did not wear out on you and your foot did not swell these forty years.

22 “And you gave them kingdoms and peoples and allotted to them every corner. So they took possession of the land of Sihon king of Heshbon and the land of Og king of Bashan.

  • Numbers 21:21 Then Israel sent messengers to Sihon king of the Amorites, saying, 22 “Let me pass through your land. We will not turn aside into field or vineyard. We will not drink the water of a well. We will go by the King’s Highway until we have passed through your territory.”

23 You multiplied their children as the stars of heaven, and you brought them into the land that you had told their fathers to enter and possess.

  • Genesis 22:17 I will surely bless you, and I will surely multiply your offspring as the stars of heaven and as the sand that is on the seashore. And your offspring shall possess the gate of his enemies,

24 So the descendants went in and possessed the land, and you subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, and gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land, that they might do with them as they would.

  • Joshua 1:2 “Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel.
  • Psalms 44:2,3 you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free; 3  for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.

25 And they captured fortified cities and a rich land, and took possession of houses full of all good things, cisterns already hewn, vineyards, olive orchards and fruit trees in abundance. So they ate and were filled and became fat and delighted themselves in your great goodness.

  • Numbers 13:27 And they told him, “We came to the land to which you sent us. It flows with milk and honey, and this is its fruit.
  • Deuteronomy 6:11 and houses full of all good things that you did not fill, and cisterns that you did not dig, and vineyards and olive trees that you did not plant—and when you eat and are full,
  • Deuteronomy 32:15 “But Jeshurun grew fat, and kicked; you grew fat, stout, and sleek; then he forsook God who made him and scoffed at the Rock of his salvation.
  • Hosea 3:5 Afterward the children of Israel shall return and seek the Lord their God, and David their king, and they shall come in fear to the Lord and to his goodness in the latter days.

26 “Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies.

  • Judges 2:11 And the people of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the Lord and served the Baals.
  • 1 Kings 14:9 but you have done evil above all who were before you and have gone and made for yourself other gods and metal images, provoking me to anger, and have cast me behind your back,
  • Psalms 50:17 For you hate discipline, and you cast my words behind you.
  • 1 Kings 18:14 And now you say, ‘Go, tell your lord, “Behold, Elijah is here” ’; and he will kill me.”

27 Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies.

  • Judges 2:14 So the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, and he gave them over to plunderers, who plundered them. And he sold them into the hand of their surrounding enemies, so that they could no longer withstand their enemies.
  • Psalms 106:41 he gave them into the hand of the nations, so that those who hated them ruled over them.
  • Psalms 106:44 Nevertheless, he looked upon their distress, when he heard their cry
  • Judges 2:18 Whenever the Lord raised up judges for them, the Lord was with the judge, and he saved them from the hand of their enemies all the days of the judge. For the Lord was moved to pity by their groaning because of those who afflicted and oppressed them.

28 But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies.

  • Judges 3:11 So the land had rest forty years. Then Othniel the son of Kenaz died.
  • Psalms 106:43 Many times he delivered them, but they were rebellious in their purposes and were brought low through their iniquity.

29 And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.

  • Leviticus 18:5 You shall therefore keep my statutes and my rules; if a person does them, he shall live by them: I am the Lord.
  • Romans 10:5 For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.
  • Galatians 3:12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.”

30 Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

  • 2 Kings 17:13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the Law that I commanded your fathers, and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.”
  • 2 Chronicles 36:15 The Lord, the God of their fathers, sent persistently to them by his messengers, because he had compassion on his people and on his dwelling place.
  • Jeremiah 7:25 From the day that your fathers came out of the land of Egypt to this day, I have persistently sent all my servants the prophets to them, day after day.
  • Acts 7:51 You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.
  • 1 Peter 1:11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories.
  • Isaiah 5:5 And now I will tell you what I will do to my vineyard. I will remove its hedge, and it shall be devoured; I will break down its wall, and it shall be trampled down.

31 Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

  • Jeremiah 4:27 For thus says the Lord, “The whole land shall be a desolation; yet I will not make a full end.

32 “Now, therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and steadfast love, let not all the hardship seem little to you that has come upon us, upon our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers, and all your people, since the time of the kings of Assyria until this day.

  • Exodus 34:6,7 6 The Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The Lord, the Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, 7 keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children and the children’s children, to the third and the fourth generation.”
  • 2 Kings 17:3 Against him came up Shalmaneser king of Assyria. And Hoshea became his vassal and paid him tribute.

33 Yet you have been righteous in all that has come upon us, for you have dealt faithfully and we have acted wickedly.

  • Psalms 119:137 Righteous are you, O Lord, and right are your rules.
  • Daniel 9:14 Therefore the Lord has kept ready the calamity and has brought it upon us, for the Lord our God is righteous in all the works that he has done, and we have not obeyed his voice.
  • Psalms 106:6 Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.
  • Daniel 9:5, 6, 8 we have sinned and done wrong and acted wickedly and rebelled, turning aside from your commandments and rules. 6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 8 To us, O Lord, belongs open shame, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against you.

34 Our kings, our princes, our priests, and our fathers have not kept your law or paid attention to your commandments and your warnings that you gave them. 35 Even in their own kingdom, and amid your great goodness that you gave them, and in the large and rich land that you set before them, they did not serve you or turn from their wicked works. 36 Behold, we are slaves this day; in the land that you gave to our fathers to enjoy its fruit and its good gifts, behold, we are slaves.

  • Deuteronomy 28:48 therefore you shall serve your enemies whom the Lord will send against you, in hunger and thirst, in nakedness, and lacking everything. And he will put a yoke of iron on your neck until he has destroyed you.
  • Ezra 9:9 For we are slaves. Yet our God has not forsaken us in our slavery, but has extended to us his steadfast love before the kings of Persia, to grant us some reviving to set up the house of our God, to repair its ruins, and to give us protection in Judea and Jerusalem.

37 And its rich yield goes to the kings whom you have set over us because of our sins. They rule over our bodies and over our livestock as they please, and we are in great distress.

  • Deuteronomy 28:33, 51 A nation that you have not known shall eat up the fruit of your ground and of all your labors, and you shall be only oppressed and crushed continually, 51 It shall eat the offspring of your cattle and the fruit of your ground, until you are destroyed; it also shall not leave you grain, wine, or oil, the increase of your herds or the young of your flock, until they have caused you to perish.

38  “Because of all this we make a firm covenant in writing; on the sealed document are the names of our princes, our Levites, and our priests.

  • 2 Kings 23:3 And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.
  • 2 Chronicles 29:10 Now it is in my heart to make a covenant with the Lord, the God of Israel, in order that his fierce anger may turn away from us. 11 My sons, do not now be negligent, for the Lord has chosen you to stand in his presence, to minister to him and to be his ministers and make offerings to him.”
  • Ezra 10:3 Therefore let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and their children, according to the counsel of my lord and of those who tremble at the commandment of our God, and let it be done according to the Law.

Chapter Ten [return to top]

443 BC

Vernon McGee: Chapter 10 — The people make and sign a covenant to serve God. Reform — another result, Chapters 11 — 13

The People Who Sealed the Covenant
  “On the seals are the names of Nehemiah the governor, the son of Hacaliah, Zedekiah, 2 Seraiah, Azariah, Jeremiah, 3 Pashhur, Amariah, Malchijah, 4 Hattush, Shebaniah, Malluch, 5 Harim, Meremoth, Obadiah, 6 Daniel, Ginnethon, Baruch, 7 Meshullam, Abijah, Mijamin, 8 Maaziah, Bilgai, Shemaiah; these are the priests. 9 And the Levites: Jeshua the son of Azaniah, Binnui of the sons of Henadad, Kadmiel; 10 and their brothers, Shebaniah, Hodiah, Kelita, Pelaiah, Hanan, 11 Mica, Rehob, Hashabiah, 12 Zaccur, Sherebiah, Shebaniah, 13 Hodiah, Bani, Beninu. 14 The chiefs of the people: Parosh, Pahath-moab, Elam, Zattu, Bani, 15 Bunni, Azgad, Bebai, 16 Adonijah, Bigvai, Adin, 17 Ater, Hezekiah, Azzur, 18 Hodiah, Hashum, Bezai, 19 Hariph, Anathoth, Nebai, 20 Magpiash, Meshullam, Hezir, 21 Meshezabel, Zadok, Jaddua, 22 Pelatiah, Hanan, Anaiah, 23 Hoshea, Hananiah, Hasshub, 24 Hallohesh, Pilha, Shobek, 25 Rehum, Hashabnah, Maaseiah, 26 Ahiah, Hanan, Anan, 27 Malluch, Harim, Baanah.
The Obligations of the Covenant
28 “The rest of the people, the priests, the Levites, the gatekeepers, the singers, the temple servants, and all who have separated themselves from the peoples of the lands to the Law of God, their wives, their sons, their daughters, all who have knowledge and understanding,

  • Ezra 2:36-43 The priests: the sons of Jedaiah, of the house of Jeshua, 973. 37 The sons of Immer, 1,052. 38 The sons of Pashhur, 1,247. 39 The sons of Harim, 1,017. 40 The Levites: the sons of Jeshua and Kadmiel, of the sons of Hodaviah, 74. 41 The singers: the sons of Asaph, 128. 42 The sons of the gatekeepers: the sons of Shallum, the sons of Ater, the sons of Talmon, the sons of Akkub, the sons of Hatita, and the sons of Shobai, in all 139. 43 The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth,
  • Ezra 9:1 After these things had been done, the officials approached me and said, “The people of Israel and the priests and the Levites have not separated themselves from the peoples of the lands with their abominations, from the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Jebusites, the Ammonites, the Moabites, the Egyptians, and the Amorites.

29 join with their brothers, their nobles, and enter into a curse and an oath to walk in God’s Law that was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord and his rules and his statutes.

  • Deuteronomy 29:12 so that you may enter into the sworn covenant of the Lord your God, which the Lord your God is making with you today,
  • Psalms 119:106 I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules.
  • 2 Kings 23:3 And the king stood by the pillar and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of this covenant that were written in this book. And all the people joined in the covenant.
  • 2 Chronicles 34:31 And the king stood in his place and made a covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord and to keep his commandments and his testimonies and his statutes, with all his heart and all his soul, to perform the words of the covenant that were written in this book.

30 We will not give our daughters to the peoples of the land or take their daughters for our sons.

  • Exodus 34:16 16 and you take of their daughters for your sons, and their daughters whore after their gods and make your sons whore after their gods.
  • Deuteronomy 7:3 You shall not intermarry with them, giving your daughters to their sons or taking their daughters for your sons,
  • Ezra 9:12 Therefore do not give your daughters to their sons, neither take their daughters for your sons, and never seek their peace or prosperity, that you may be strong and eat the good of the land and leave it for an inheritance to your children forever.’

31 And if the peoples of the land bring in goods or any grain on the Sabbath day to sell, we will not buy from them on the Sabbath or on a holy day. And we will forego the crops of the seventh year and the exaction of every debt.

  • Exodus 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
  • Leviticus 23:3 “Six days shall work be done, but on the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, a holy convocation. You shall do no work. It is a Sabbath to the Lord in all your dwelling places.
  • Deuteronomy 5:12 “ ‘Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you.
  • Exodus 23:10 For six years you shall sow your land and gather in its yield,
  • Leviticus 25:4 but in the seventh year there shall be a Sabbath of solemn rest for the land, a Sabbath to the Lord. You shall not sow your field or prune your vineyard.
  • Deuteronomy 15:1 “At the end of every seven years you shall grant a release.


32 “We also take on ourselves the obligation to give yearly a third part of a shekel for the service of the house of our God: 33 for the showbread, the regular grain offering, the regular burnt offering, the Sabbaths, the new moons, the appointed feasts, the holy things, and the sin offerings to make atonement for Israel, and for all the work of the house of our God.

  • Leviticus 24:5 You shall take fine flour and bake twelve loaves from it; two tenths of an ephah shall be in each loaf.
  • 2 Chronicles 2:4 Behold, I am about to build a house for the name of the Lord my God and dedicate it to him for the burning of incense of sweet spices before him, and for the regular arrangement of the showbread, and for burnt offerings morning and evening, on the Sabbaths and the new moons and the appointed feasts of the Lord our God, as ordained forever for Israel.

34 We, the priests, the Levites, and the people, have likewise cast lots for the wood offering, to bring it into the house of our God, according to our fathers’ houses, at times appointed, year by year, to burn on the altar of the Lord our God, as it is written in the Law.

  • Isaiah 40:16 Lebanon would not suffice for fuel, nor are its beasts enough for a burnt offering.
  • Leviticus 6:12 The fire on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not go out. The priest shall burn wood on it every morning, and he shall arrange the burnt offering on it and shall burn on it the fat of the peace offerings.

35 We obligate ourselves to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of every tree, year by year, to the house of the Lord;

  • Exodus 23:19 “The best of the firstfruits of your ground you shall bring into the house of the Lord your God. “You shall not boil a young goat in its mother’s milk.
  • Leviticus 19:23 “When you come into the land and plant any kind of tree for food, then you shall regard its fruit as forbidden.
  • Numbers 18:12 All the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the firstfruits of what they give to the Lord, I give to you.

36 also to bring to the house of our God, to the priests who minister in the house of our God, the firstborn of our sons and of our cattle, as it is written in the Law, and the firstborn of our herds and of our flocks;

  • Exodus 13:2, 12, 13 “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” you shall set apart to the Lord all that first opens the womb. All the firstborn of your animals that are males shall be the Lord’s. 13 Every firstborn of a donkey you shall redeem with a lamb, or if you will not redeem it you shall break its neck. Every firstborn of man among your sons you shall redeem.
  • Leviticus 27:26, 27 “But a firstborn of animals, which as a firstborn belongs to the Lord, no man may dedicate; whether ox or sheep, it is the Lord’s. 27 And if it is an unclean animal, then he shall buy it back at the valuation, and add a fifth to it; or, if it is not redeemed, it shall be sold at the valuation.
  • Numbers 18:15, 16 Everything that opens the womb of all flesh, whether man or beast, which they offer to the Lord, shall be yours. Nevertheless, the firstborn of man you shall redeem, and the firstborn of unclean animals you shall redeem. 16 And their redemption price (at a month old you shall redeem them) you shall fix at five shekels in silver, according to the shekel of the sanctuary, which is twenty gerahs.

37 and to bring the first of our dough, and our contributions, the fruit of every tree, the wine and the oil, to the priests, to the chambers of the house of our God; and to bring to the Levites the tithes from our ground, for it is the Levites who collect the tithes in all our towns where we labor.

  • Leviticus 23:17 You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven, as firstfruits to the Lord.
  • Numbers 15:19 and when you eat of the bread of the land, you shall present a contribution to the Lord.
  • Numbers 18:12 All the best of the oil and all the best of the wine and of the grain, the firstfruits of what they give to the Lord, I give to you.
  • Deuteronomy 18:4 The firstfruits of your grain, of your wine and of your oil, and the first fleece of your sheep, you shall give him.
  • Deuteronomy 26:2 you shall take some of the first of all the fruit of the ground, which you harvest from your land that the Lord your God is giving you, and you shall put it in a basket, and you shall go to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name to dwell there.
  • Leviticus 27:30 “Every tithe of the land, whether of the seed of the land or of the fruit of the trees, is the Lord’s; it is holy to the Lord.
  • Numbers 18:21 “To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting,

38 And the priest, the son of Aaron, shall be with the Levites when the Levites receive the tithes. And the Levites shall bring up the tithe of the tithes to the house of our God, to the chambers of the storehouse.

  • Numbers 18:26 Moreover, you shall speak and say to the Levites, ‘When you take from the people of Israel the tithe that I have given you from them for your inheritance, then you shall present a contribution from it to the Lord, a tithe of the tithe.
  • 1 Chronicles 9:26  for the four chief gatekeepers, who were Levites, were entrusted to be over the chambers and the treasures of the house of God.
  • 2 Chronicles 31:12 And they faithfully brought in the contributions, the tithes, and the dedicated things. The chief officer in charge of them was Conaniah the Levite, with Shimei his brother as second,

39 For the people of Israel and the sons of Levi shall bring the contribution of grain, wine, and oil to the chambers, where the vessels of the sanctuary are, as well as the priests who minister, and the gatekeepers and the singers. We will not neglect the house of our God.”

  • Deuteronomy 12:6, 11 and there you shall bring your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, your vow offerings, your freewill offerings, and the firstborn of your herd and of your flock. 11 then to the place that the Lord your God will choose, to make his name dwell there, there you shall bring all that I command you: your burnt offerings and your sacrifices, your tithes and the contribution that you present, and all your finest vow offerings that you vow to the Lord.
  • 2 Chronicles 31:12 And they faithfully brought in the contributions, the tithes, and the dedicated things. The chief officer in charge of them was Conaniah the Levite, with Shimei his brother as second,

Chapter Eleven [return to top]

443 BC

Overview Chapters 11, 12, and 13: With the walls in place and the spiritual condition of the nation revived, Nehemiah now sets about the task of consolidating and organizing the population. One-tenth of the people are chosen by lot to relocate within the city walls, while the rest remain in the suburb. The walls are formally dedicated and temple officers commissioned to oversee the functions of national worship. After an extended leave of absence, Nehemiah returns from Babylon to find Tobiah living in a temple storeroom, and the people displaying a shocking disregard for God’s laws concerning marriage and the Sabbath. Assuming again the role of reformer, Nehemiah labors to restore national purity.

Vernon McGee: Chapter 11 — The rulers cast lots to see who is to dwell in
Jerusalem and who is to live elsewhere in the land.

The Leaders in Jerusalem
 Now the leaders of the people lived in Jerusalem. And the rest of the people cast lots to bring one out of ten to live in Jerusalem the holy city, while nine out of ten remained in the other towns.

  • Matthew 4:5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and set him on the pinnacle of the temple
  • Matthew 27:53 and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many.

2 And the people blessed all the men who willingly offered to live in Jerusalem.

  • Judges 5:9 My heart goes out to the commanders of Israel who offered themselves willingly among the people. Bless the Lord.


3 These are the chiefs of the province who lived in Jerusalem; but in the towns of Judah everyone lived on his property in their towns: Israel, the priests, the Levites, the temple servants, and the descendants of Solomon’s servants.

  • 1 Chronicles 9:2, 3 Now the first to dwell again in their possessions in their cities were Israel, the priests, the Levites, and the temple servants. 3 And some of the people of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem:
  • Ezra 2:43 The temple servants: the sons of Ziha, the sons of Hasupha, the sons of Tabbaoth,
  • Ezra 2:55 The sons of Solomon’s servants: the sons of Sotai, the sons of Hassophereth, the sons of Peruda,

4 And in Jerusalem lived certain of the sons of Judah and of the sons of Benjamin. Of the sons of Judah: Athaiah the son of Uzziah, son of Zechariah, son of Amariah, son of Shephatiah, son of Mahalalel, of the sons of Perez;

  • 1 Chronicles 9:3 And some of the people of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim, and Manasseh lived in Jerusalem:
  • Genesis 38:29 But as he drew back his hand, behold, his brother came out. And she said, “What a breach you have made for yourself!” Therefore his name was called Perez.

5 and Maaseiah the son of Baruch, son of Col-hozeh, son of Hazaiah, son of Adaiah, son of Joiarib, son of Zechariah, son of the Shilonite. 6 All the sons of Perez who lived in Jerusalem were 468 valiant men.
7 And these are the sons of Benjamin: Sallu the son of Meshullam, son of Joed, son of Pedaiah, son of Kolaiah, son of Maaseiah, son of Ithiel, son of Jeshaiah, 8 and his brothers, men of valor, 928. 9 Joel the son of Zichri was their overseer; and Judah the son of Hassenuah was second over the city.
10 Of the priests: Jedaiah the son of Joiarib, Jachin,

  • 1 Chronicles 9:10 Of the priests: Jedaiah, Jehoiarib, Jachin,

11 Seraiah the son of Hilkiah, son of Meshullam, son of Zadok, son of Meraioth, son of Ahitub, ruler of the house of God, 12 and their brothers who did the work of the house, 822; and Adaiah the son of Jeroham, son of Pelaliah, son of Amzi, son of Zechariah, son of Pashhur, son of Malchijah, 13 and his brothers, heads of fathers’ houses, 242; and Amashsai, the son of Azarel, son of Ahzai, son of Meshillemoth, son of Immer, 14 and their brothers, mighty men of valor, 128; their overseer was Zabdiel the son of Haggedolim.
15 And of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, son of Bunni; 16 and Shabbethai and Jozabad, of the chiefs of the Levites, who were over the outside work of the house of God;

  • 1 Chronicles 26:29 Of the Izharites, Chenaniah and his sons were appointed to external duties for Israel, as officers and judges.

17 and Mattaniah the son of Mica, son of Zabdi, son of Asaph, who was the leader of the praise, who gave thanks, and Bakbukiah, the second among his brothers; and Abda the son of Shammua, son of Galal, son of Jeduthun. 18 All the Levites in the holy city were 284. 19 The gatekeepers, Akkub, Talmon and their brothers, who kept watch at the gates, were 172. 20 And the rest of Israel, and of the priests and the Levites, were in all the towns of Judah, every one in his inheritance. 21 But the temple servants lived on Ophel; and Ziha and Gishpa were over the temple servants. 22 The overseer of the Levites in Jerusalem was Uzzi the son of Bani, son of Hashabiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Mica, of the sons of Asaph, the singers, over the work of the house of God. 23 For there was a command from the king concerning them, and a fixed provision for the singers, as every day required.

  • Ezra 6:8, 9 Moreover, I make a decree regarding what you shall do for these elders of the Jews for the rebuilding of this house of God. The cost is to be paid to these men in full and without delay from the royal revenue, the tribute of the province from Beyond the River. 9 And whatever is needed—bulls, rams, or sheep for burnt offerings to the God of heaven, wheat, salt, wine, or oil, as the priests at Jerusalem require—let that be given to them day by day without fail,
  • Ezra 7:20 And whatever else is required for the house of your God, which it falls to you to provide, you may provide it out of the king’s treasury.

24 And Pethahiah the son of Meshezabel, of the sons of Zerah the son of Judah, was at the king’s side in all matters concerning the people.

  • Genesis 38:30 Afterward his brother came out with the scarlet thread on his hand, and his name was called Zerah.
  • 1 Chronicles 18:17 and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were the chief officials in the service of the king.
  • 1 Chronicles 23:28 For their duty was to assist the sons of Aaron for the service of the house of the Lord, having the care of the courts and the chambers, the cleansing of all that is holy, and any work for the service of the house of God.


Villages Outside Jerusalem
25 And as for the villages, with their fields, some of the people of Judah lived in Kiriath-arba and its villages, and in Dibon and its villages, and in Jekabzeel and its villages,

  • Joshua 14:15 Now the name of Hebron formerly was Kiriath-arba. (Arba was the greatest man among the Anakim.) And the land had rest from war.

26 and in Jeshua and in Moladah and Beth-pelet, 27 in Hazar-shual, in Beersheba and its villages, 28 in Ziklag, in Meconah and its villages, 29 in En-rimmon, in Zorah, in Jarmuth, 30 Zanoah, Adullam, and their villages, Lachish and its fields, and Azekah and its villages. So they encamped from Beersheba to the Valley of Hinnom. 31 The people of Benjamin also lived from Geba onward, at Michmash, Aija, Bethel and its villages, 32 Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah, 33 Hazor, Ramah, Gittaim, 34 Hadid, Zeboim, Neballat, 35 Lod, and Ono, the valley of craftsmen.

  • 1 Chronicles 4:14 Meonothai fathered Ophrah; and Seraiah fathered Joab, the father of Ge-harashim, so-called because they were craftsmen.

36 And certain divisions of the Levites in Judah were assigned to Benjamin.

Chapter Twelve [return to top]

443 BC

Priests and Levites
 These are the priests and the Levites who came up with Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua: Seraiah, Jeremiah, Ezra,

  • Ezra 2:1, 2 Now these were the people of the province who came up out of the captivity of those exiles whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried captive to Babylonia. They returned to Jerusalem and Judah, each to his own town. 2 They came with Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, Seraiah, Reelaiah, Mordecai, Bilshan, Mispar, Bigvai, Rehum, and Baanah. The number of the men of the people of Israel:

2 Amariah, Malluch, Hattush, 3 Shecaniah, Rehum, Meremoth, 4 Iddo, Ginnethoi, Abijah,

  • Luke 1:5 In the days of Herod, king of Judea, there was a priest named Zechariah, of the division of Abijah. And he had a wife from the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth.

5 Mijamin, Maadiah, Bilgah, 6 Shemaiah, Joiarib, Jedaiah, 7 Sallu, Amok, Hilkiah, Jedaiah. These were the chiefs of the priests and of their brothers in the days of Jeshua.

  • Ezra 3:3 They set the altar in its place, for fear was on them because of the peoples of the lands, and they offered burnt offerings on it to the Lord, burnt offerings morning and evening.
  • Haggai 1:1 In the second year of Darius the king, in the sixth month, on the first day of the month, the word of the Lord came by the hand of Haggai the prophet to Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, governor of Judah, and to Joshua the son of Jehozadak, the high priest:
  • Zechariah 3:1 Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to accuse him.


8 And the Levites: Jeshua, Binnui, Kadmiel, Sherebiah, Judah, and Mattaniah, who with his brothers was in charge of the songs of thanksgiving. 9 And Bakbukiah and Unni and their brothers stood opposite them in the service. 10 And Jeshua was the father of Joiakim, Joiakim the father of Eliashib, Eliashib the father of Joiada, 11 Joiada the father of Jonathan, and Jonathan the father of Jaddua.
12 And in the days of Joiakim were priests, heads of fathers’ houses: of Seraiah, Meraiah; of Jeremiah, Hananiah; 13 of Ezra, Meshullam; of Amariah, Jehohanan; 14 of Malluchi, Jonathan; of Shebaniah, Joseph; 15 of Harim, Adna; of Meraioth, Helkai; 16 of Iddo, Zechariah; of Ginnethon, Meshullam; 17 of Abijah, Zichri; of Miniamin, of Moadiah, Piltai; 18 of Bilgah, Shammua; of Shemaiah, Jehonathan; 19 of Joiarib, Mattenai; of Jedaiah, Uzzi; 20 of Sallai, Kallai; of Amok, Eber; 21 of Hilkiah, Hashabiah; of Jedaiah, Nethanel.
22 In the days of Eliashib, Joiada, Johanan, and Jaddua, the Levites were recorded as heads of fathers’ houses; so too were the priests in the reign of Darius the Persian. 23 As for the sons of Levi, their heads of fathers’ houses were written in the Book of the Chronicles until the days of Johanan the son of Eliashib.

  • 1 Chronicles 9:14 Of the Levites: Shemaiah the son of Hasshub, son of Azrikam, son of Hashabiah, of the sons of Merari;

24 And the chiefs of the Levites: Hashabiah, Sherebiah, and Jeshua the son of Kadmiel, with their brothers who stood opposite them, to praise and to give thanks, according to the commandment of David the man of God, watch by watch.

  • Ezra 3:11 And they sang responsively, praising and giving thanks to the Lord, “For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever toward Israel.” And all the people shouted with a great shout when they praised the Lord, because the foundation of the house of the Lord was laid.

25 Mattaniah, Bakbukiah, Obadiah, Meshullam, Talmon, and Akkub were gatekeepers standing guard at the storehouses of the gates. 26 These were in the days of Joiakim the son of Jeshua son of Jozadak, and in the days of Nehemiah the governor and of Ezra, the priest and scribe.

  • Ezra 7:6, 11 this Ezra went up from Babylonia. He was a scribe skilled in the Law of Moses that the Lord, the God of Israel, had given, and the king granted him all that he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. 11 This is a copy of the letter that King Artaxerxes gave to Ezra the priest, the scribe, a man learned in matters of the commandments of the Lord and his statutes for Israel:


Dedication of the Wall
27 And at the dedication of the wall of Jerusalem they sought the Levites in all their places, to bring them to Jerusalem to celebrate the dedication with gladness, with thanksgivings and with singing, with cymbals, harps, and lyres.

  • Deuteronomy 20:5 Then the officers shall speak to the people, saying, ‘Is there any man who has built a new house and has not dedicated it? Let him go back to his house, lest he die in the battle and another man dedicate it.
  • 1 Chronicles 25:6 They were all under the direction of their father in the music in the house of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres for the service of the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun, and Heman were under the order of the king.
  • 2 Chronicles 1:13 So Solomon came from the high place at Gibeon, from before the tent of meeting, to Jerusalem. And he reigned over Israel.
  • 2 Chronicles 7:6 The priests stood at their posts; the Levites also, with the instruments for music to the Lord that King David had made for giving thanks to the Lord—for his steadfast love endures forever—whenever David offered praises by their ministry; opposite them the priests sounded trumpets, and all Israel stood.

28 And the sons of the singers gathered together from the district surrounding Jerusalem and from the villages of the Netophathites; 29 also from Beth-gilgal and from the region of Geba and Azmaveth, for the singers had built for themselves villages around Jerusalem. 30 And the priests and the Levites purified themselves, and they purified the people and the gates and the wall.
31 Then I brought the leaders of Judah up onto the wall and appointed two great choirs that gave thanks. One went to the south on the wall to the Dung Gate. 32 And after them went Hoshaiah and half of the leaders of Judah, 33 and Azariah, Ezra, Meshullam, 34 Judah, Benjamin, Shemaiah, and Jeremiah, 35 and certain of the priests’ sons with trumpets: Zechariah the son of Jonathan, son of Shemaiah, son of Mattaniah, son of Micaiah, son of Zaccur, son of Asaph;

  • Numbers 10:2, 8 “Make two silver trumpets. Of hammered work you shall make them, and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for breaking camp. 8 And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets. The trumpets shall be to you for a perpetual statute throughout your generations.

36 and his relatives, Shemaiah, Azarel, Milalai, Gilalai, Maai, Nethanel, Judah, and Hanani, with the musical instruments of David the man of God. And Ezra the scribe went before them.

  • 1 Chronicles 23:5 4,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 shall offer praises to the Lord with the instruments that I have made for praise.”

37 At the Fountain Gate they went up straight before them by the stairs of the city of David, at the ascent of the wall, above the house of David, to the Water Gate on the east.
38 The other choir of those who gave thanks went to the north, and I followed them with half of the people, on the wall, above the Tower of the Ovens, to the Broad Wall, 39 and above the Gate of Ephraim, and by the Gate of Yeshanah, and by the Fish Gate and the Tower of Hananel and the Tower of the Hundred, to the Sheep Gate; and they came to a halt at the Gate of the Guard.

  • 2 Kings 14:13 And Jehoash king of Israel captured Amaziah king of Judah, the son of Jehoash, son of Ahaziah, at Beth-shemesh, and came to Jerusalem and broke down the wall of Jerusalem for four hundred cubits, from the Ephraim Gate to the Corner Gate.
  • Jeremiah 32:2 At that time the army of the king of Babylon was besieging Jerusalem, and Jeremiah the prophet was shut up in the court of the guard that was in the palace of the king of Judah.

40 So both choirs of those who gave thanks stood in the house of God, and I and half of the officials with me; 41 and the priests Eliakim, Maaseiah, Miniamin, Micaiah, Elioenai, Zechariah, and Hananiah, with trumpets; 42 and Maaseiah, Shemaiah, Eleazar, Uzzi, Jehohanan, Malchijah, Elam, and Ezer. And the singers sang with Jezrahiah as their leader. 43 And they offered great sacrifices that day and rejoiced, for God had made them rejoice with great joy; the women and children also rejoiced. And the joy of Jerusalem was heard far away.

  • Romans 12:1 I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.
  • Philippians 4:18 I have received full payment, and more. I am well supplied, having received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God.
  • Hebrews 13:15 Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.


Service at the Temple
44 On that day men were appointed over the storerooms, the contributions, the firstfruits, and the tithes, to gather into them the portions required by the Law for the priests and for the Levites according to the fields of the towns, for Judah rejoiced over the priests and the Levites who ministered.

  • 2 Chronicles 31:11, 12 Then Hezekiah commanded them to prepare chambers in the house of the Lord, and they prepared them. 12 And they faithfully brought in the contributions, the tithes, and the dedicated things. The chief officer in charge of them was Conaniah the Levite, with Shimei his brother as second,

45 And they performed the service of their God and the service of purification, as did the singers and the gatekeepers, according to the command of David and his son Solomon. 46 For long ago in the days of David and Asaph there were directors of the singers, and there were songs of praise and thanksgiving to God.

  • 1 Chronicles 25:1 David and the chiefs of the service also set apart for the service the sons of Asaph, and of Heman, and of Jeduthun, who prophesied with lyres, with harps, and with cymbals. The list of those who did the work and of their duties was:

47 And all Israel in the days of Zerubbabel and in the days of Nehemiah gave the daily portions for the singers and the gatekeepers; and they set apart that which was for the Levites; and the Levites set apart that which was for the sons of Aaron.

  • Numbers 28:21, 24, 26 a tenth shall you offer for each of the seven lambs; 24 In the same way you shall offer daily, for seven days, the food of a food offering, with a pleasing aroma to the Lord. It shall be offered besides the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 26 “On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the Lord at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work,

Chapter Thirteen [return to top]

  • 432 BC

Notes on Chapter Thirteen: Nehemiah removes Tobiah from the Temple, a leader who had been living there. Nehemiah helps the Levites suffering neglect and prays that the work is preserved.

Vernon McGee: Chapter 13 — Nehemiah, who had returned to Persia, comes again
to Jerusalem and institutes reforms.

Nehemiah’s Final Reforms
 On that day they read from the Book of Moses in the hearing of the people. And in it was found written that no Ammonite or Moabite should ever enter the assembly of God,

  • Deuteronomy 31:11, 12 when all Israel comes to appear before the Lord your God at the place that he will choose, you shall read this law before all Israel in their hearing. 12 Assemble the people, men, women, and little ones, and the sojourner within your towns, that they may hear and learn to fear the Lord your God, and be careful to do all the words of this law,
  • 2 Kings 23:2 And the king went up to the house of the Lord, and with him all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem and the priests and the prophets, all the people, both small and great. And he read in their hearing all the words of the Book of the Covenant that had been found in the house of the Lord.
  • Isaiah 34:16 Seek and read from the book of the Lord: Not one of these shall be missing; none shall be without her mate. For the mouth of the Lord has commanded, and his Spirit has gathered them.
  • Deuteronomy 23:3, 4 No Ammonite or Moabite may enter the assembly of the Lord. Even to the tenth generation, none of them may enter the assembly of the Lord forever, 4 because they did not meet you with bread and with water on the way, when you came out of Egypt, and because they hired against you Balaam the son of Beor from Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse you.

2 for they did not meet the people of Israel with bread and water, but hired Balaam against them to curse them—yet our God turned the curse into a blessing.

  • Numbers 22:5 sent messengers to Balaam the son of Beor at Pethor, which is near the River in the land of the people of Amaw, to call him, saying, “Behold, a people has come out of Egypt. They cover the face of the earth, and they are dwelling opposite me.
  • Joshua 24:9, 10 Then Balak the son of Zippor, king of Moab, arose and fought against Israel. And he sent and invited Balaam the son of Beor to curse you, 10 but I would not listen to Balaam. Indeed, he blessed you. So I delivered you out of his hand.
  • Numbers 23:11 And Balak said to Balaam, “What have you done to me? I took you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have done nothing but bless them.”
  • Numbers 24:10 And Balak’s anger was kindled against Balaam, and he struck his hands together. And Balak said to Balaam, “I called you to curse my enemies, and behold, you have blessed them these three times.
  • Deuteronomy 23:5 But the Lord your God would not listen to Balaam; instead the Lord your God turned the curse into a blessing for you, because the Lord your God loved you.

3 As soon as the people heard the law, they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent.

  • they separated from Israel all those of foreign descent = KEY POINT here. You must always interpret scripture WITH scripture. Remember that the books of Ezra and Nehemiah were once ONE BOOK, not two books. Ezra 6:21 explains that some foreigners converted to Judaism, and those foreigners were not separated.
    • Ezra 6:21 Then the children of Israel who had returned from the captivity ate together with all who had separated themselves from the filth of the nations of the land in order to seek the LORD God of Israel.


4 Now before this, Eliashib the priest, who was appointed over the chambers of the house of our God, and who was related to Tobiah, 5 prepared for Tobiah a large chamber where they had previously put the grain offering, the frankincense, the vessels, and the tithes of grain, wine, and oil, which were given by commandment to the Levites, singers, and gatekeepers, and the contributions for the priests.

  • Numbers 18:21, 24 To the Levites I have given every tithe in Israel for an inheritance, in return for their service that they do, their service in the tent of meeting, 24 For the tithe of the people of Israel, which they present as a contribution to the Lord, I have given to the Levites for an inheritance. Therefore I have said of them that they shall have no inheritance among the people of Israel.”

6 While this was taking place, I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I went to the king. And after some time I asked leave of the king 7 and came to Jerusalem, and I then discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, preparing for him a chamber in the courts of the house of God. 8 And I was very angry, and I threw all the household furniture of Tobiah out of the chamber. 9 Then I gave orders, and they cleansed the chambers, and I brought back there the vessels of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.

  • 2 Chronicles 29:5 and said to them, “Hear me, Levites! Now consecrate yourselves, and consecrate the house of the Lord, the God of your fathers, and carry out the filth from the Holy Place.


10 I also found out that the portions of the Levites had not been given to them, so that the Levites and the singers, who did the work, had fled each to his field.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 10-14 — The Levites had not been paid. Nehemiah forces the rulers to see that the Levites receive their portion.
  • Malachi 3:8 Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions.
  • Numbers 35:2 Command the people of Israel to give to the Levites some of the inheritance of their possession as cities for them to dwell in. And you shall give to the Levites pasturelands around the cities.

11 So I confronted the officials and said, “Why is the house of God forsaken?” And I gathered them together and set them in their stations. 12 Then all Judah brought the tithe of the grain, wine, and oil into the storehouses. 13 And I appointed as treasurers over the storehouses Shelemiah the priest, Zadok the scribe, and Pedaiah of the Levites, and as their assistant Hanan the son of Zaccur, son of Mattaniah, for they were considered reliable, and their duty was to distribute to their brothers.

  • 2 Chronicles 31:12 And they faithfully brought in the contributions, the tithes, and the dedicated things. The chief officer in charge of them was Conaniah the Levite, with Shimei his brother as second,
  • 1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful.

14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and do not wipe out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God and for his service.
15 In those days I saw in Judah people treading winepresses on the Sabbath, and bringing in heaps of grain and loading them on donkeys, and also wine, grapes, figs, and all kinds of loads, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. And I warned them on the day when they sold food.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 15-22 — The Sabbath day is observed. Men of Tyre bring fish to sell in Jerusalem on the Sabbath day. Nehemiah forces them to leave and orders the gates of Jerusalem to be closed on the Sabbath.
  • Exodus 20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.
  • Jeremiah 17:21 Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem.

16 Tyrians also, who lived in the city, brought in fish and all kinds of goods and sold them on the Sabbath to the people of Judah, in Jerusalem itself! 17 Then I confronted the nobles of Judah and said to them, “What is this evil thing that you are doing, profaning the Sabbath day? 18 Did not your fathers act in this way, and did not our God bring all this disaster on us and on this city? Now you are bringing more wrath on Israel by profaning the Sabbath.”

  • Jeremiah 17:21 Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem.


19 As soon as it began to grow dark at the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I commanded that the doors should be shut and gave orders that they should not be opened until after the Sabbath. And I stationed some of my servants at the gates, that no load might be brought in on the Sabbath day.

  • Leviticus 23:32 It shall be to you a Sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict yourselves. On the ninth day of the month beginning at evening, from evening to evening shall you keep your Sabbath.”
  • Jeremiah 17:21 Thus says the Lord: Take care for the sake of your lives, and do not bear a burden on the Sabbath day or bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem.

20 Then the merchants and sellers of all kinds of wares lodged outside Jerusalem once or twice. 21 But I warned them and said to them, “Why do you lodge outside the wall? If you do so again, I will lay hands on you.” From that time on they did not come on the Sabbath. 22 Then I commanded the Levites that they should purify themselves and come and guard the gates, to keep the Sabbath day holy. Remember this also in my favor, O my God, and spare me according to the greatness of your steadfast love.
23 In those days also I saw the Jews who had married women of Ashdod, Ammon, and Moab.

  • Vernon McGee: vv. 23-31 — Intermarriage among the heathen is still practiced. Nehemiah uses extreme means (v. 25) to force them not to intermarry. (Verse 28 would be humorous if it were not so serious.) Note the humility and dedication of Nehemiah in his desire to please and to serve God (vv. 14, 31).
  • Ezra 9:2 For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.”

24 And half of their children spoke the language of Ashdod, and they could not speak the language of Judah, but only the language of each people. 25 And I confronted them and cursed them and beat some of them and pulled out their hair. And I made them take an oath in the name of God, saying, “You shall not give your daughters to their sons, or take their daughters for your sons or for yourselves.

  • Ezra 10:5 Then Ezra arose and made the leading priests and Levites and all Israel take an oath that they would do as had been said. So they took the oath.

26 Did not Solomon king of Israel sin on account of such women? Among the many nations there was no king like him, and he was beloved by his God, and God made him king over all Israel. Nevertheless, foreign women made even him to sin.

  • 1 Kings 11:1 Now King Solomon loved many foreign women, along with the daughter of Pharaoh: Moabite, Ammonite, Edomite, Sidonian, and Hittite women,
  • 2 Samuel 12:24 Then David comforted his wife, Bathsheba, and went in to her and lay with her, and she bore a son, and he called his name Solomon. And the Lord loved him
  • 1 Kings 11:4 For when Solomon was old his wives turned away his heart after other gods, and his heart was not wholly true to the Lord his God, as was the heart of David his father.

27 Shall we then listen to you and do all this great evil and act treacherously against our God by marrying foreign women?”

  • Ezra 10:2  And Shecaniah the son of Jehiel, of the sons of Elam, addressed Ezra: “We have broken faith with our God and have married foreign women from the peoples of the land, but even now there is hope for Israel in spite of this.


28 And one of the sons of Jehoiada, the son of Eliashib the high priest, was the son-in-law of Sanballat the Horonite. Therefore I chased him from me. 29 Remember them, O my God, because they have desecrated the priesthood and the covenant of the priesthood and the Levites.

  • Malachi 2:4, 11, 12 So shall you know that I have sent this command to you, that my covenant with Levi may stand, says the Lord of hosts. 11 Judah has been faithless, and abomination has been committed in Israel and in Jerusalem. For Judah has profaned the sanctuary of the Lord, which he loves, and has married the daughter of a foreign god. 12 May the Lord cut off from the tents of Jacob any descendant of the man who does this, who brings an offering to the Lord of hosts!


30 Thus I cleansed them from everything foreign, and I established the duties of the priests and Levites, each in his work; 31 and I provided for the wood offering at appointed times, and for the firstfruits.
Remember me, O my God, for good.

June 9, 2020

Isaiah – 06.09.20

Filed under: Old and New Testament — Adam Osborne @ 10:00 pm

Isaiah

Chapters


1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 |
16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29 | 30 | 31 | 32 | 33 | 34 | 35 |36 | 37 | 38 | 39 | 40 | 41 | 42 | 43 | 44 | 45 | 46 | 47 | 48 | 49 | 50 | 51 | 52 | 53 | 54 | 55 | 56 | 57 | 58 | 59 | 60 | 61 | 62 | 63 | 64 | 65 | 66

    Introduction

  • The name “Isaiah” means “the Lord shall save”; or “Yahweh is Salvation”.
  • 740–698
  • From Jerusalem
  • Basic bible passages = 2 Kings, Chapters 19 and 20; book of Isaiah.
  • Central teaching is “hope through repentance and suffering”
  • He warned that the sin of the people of Judah would bring God’s judgment, yet he also declared that God is sovereign and would use Cyrus the Persian to return them from exile
  • Key verses are 1:18 and 53:4-6
  • Isaiah 37:38 suggests that the prophet lived until the death of Sennacherib in 681 BC
  • New Testament books quote Isaiah more than any other Old Testament books.
  • Isaiah son of Amoz
  • Prophecy activity spanned the reigns of four kings of Judah:
    • Uzziah (783–742 BC, Isaiah’s call is dated to this king’s last year, 6:1); see 2Kg 15:1–7; 2Ch 26:1–23.
    • Jotham (742–735 BC); see Kg 15:32–38; 2Ch 27:1–9.
    • Ahaz (735–716 BC); see 2Kg 16:1–20; 2Ch 28:1–27.
    • and Hezekiah (716–686 BC); see 2Kg 18:1–20:21; 2Ch 29:1–32:33.
  • Babylonian Empire pictures on the web.
  • Assyrian Empire pictures on the web.
  • “Bible for Spirit Filled Living”, Nelson Publishers. Book of Isaiah quoted twenty-one times in the New Testament. Isaiah prophesised at the most crucial period in history of Judah and Israel. Both the southern and northern kingdoms had experienced nearly a half-century of increasing prosperity and power. Israel had succumbed to pagan worship; Judah had maintained an outward conformity to orthodoxy, but had gradually fallen into serious moral and spiritual decline. Secret places of pagan worship were tolerated; the wealthy oppressed the poor; the women neglected their families in the quest of carnal pleasure. Isaiah entered his ministry at about the time of the founding of Rome and the first Olympic games of the Greeks.

CSB STUDY NOTES:

  • Isaiah’s message is relatively simple. First, Isaiah accused God’s people of sin: rebelling against the one who made them and redeemed them. Second, Isaiah instructed these sinners to reform their ways and act obediently. Third, Isaiah announced God’s judgment on the people because of their sin. Finally, God revealed his future restoration of the people, or at least of the faithful remnant that survived the judgment. As part of the restoration of God’s people, Isaiah foresaw both judgment on the nations (chaps. 13–23) and a future turning of the nations to God (2:1–4). The first part of the book (chaps. 1–39) emphasizes sin, the call to repentance, and judgment; the second part (chaps. 40–66) emphasizes the hope of restoration.
  • FUTURE ANOINTED KING:
    • Messiah, 9:1–7; 11:1–9
    • servant 42:1–9; 49:1–6; 50:4–6; 52:13–53:12

TIMELINE:

    750–725 BC

  • Death of King Uzziah of Judah 740
  • Isaiah’s call to be a prophet 740
  • Tiglath-pileser III’s invasions of Israel 734–732
  • Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Damascus form a mutual defense alliance against Assyria and invite Ahaz of Judah to join them. 734
  • Ahaz refuses Isaiah’s counsel and seeks protection from Assyria by paying tribute to them, creating a heavy financial burden on Judah for years to come. 734
  • Alliance between Syria and Israel collapses with the fall of Damascus (732) and the fall of Samaria. 722
    725–700 BC

  • Hezekiah of Judah initiates reforms and shows resistance to Assyria. 715–701
  • Hezekiah prepares for war against Assyria, strengthens Jerusalem’s defenses, and receives Merodach-baladan’s envoys from Babylon. 705–701
  • Sennacherib of Assyria defeats the Phoenicians, Philistines, and Egyptians; destroys most cities in Judah; and besieges Jerusalem. 701
  • God delivers Jerusalem from the Assyrian forces. 701
    700–600 BC

  • Manasseh succeeds his father Hezekiah as king of Judah. 687
  • Ashurbanipal (668–631) rules over a declining Assyrian Empire that experiences revolts in 642, contributed to the assassination of Amon of Judah (641) and the rise of his son Josiah (641–609).
  • Josiah killed by the Egyptians at Megiddo 609
  • Babylonians defeat Pharaoh Neco of Egypt at Carchemish. 605
    600–500 BC

  • Babylonians attack Jerusalem and take citizens of Judah into exile. 605, 597, 586
  • Cyrus, Ruler of Medo-Persia, captures Babylon without resistance. 539
  • Cyrus, Ruler of Medo-Persia, issues a decree allowing the Jews to return to Judah. 538
  • Work begins on rebuilding the temple in Jerusalem. 536–537
  • Renewed work on the temple 520–518
  • New temple dedicated 515

OUTLINE:

    I. Rebuke and Promise from the Lord (1:1–6:13)

  • A. Rebellion met with judgment and grace (1:1–31)
  • B. Chastisement will bring future glory (2:1–4:6)
  • C. Judgment and exile for the nation (5:1–30)
  • D. Isaiah cleansed and commissioned (6:1–13)
    II. The Promise of Immanuel (7:1–12:6)

  • A. Immanuel rejected by worldly wisdom (7:1–25)
  • B. God’s deliverance and the coming Deliverer (8:1–9:7)
  • C. Exile is coming for proud Samaria (9:8–10:4)
  • D. Promise of a future glorious empire (10:5–12:6)
    III. Coming Judgment upon the Nations (13:1–23:18)

  • A. Babylon (13:1–14:23)
  • B. Assyria (14:24–27)
  • C. Philistia (14:28–32)
  • D. Moab (15:1–16:14)
  • E. Damascus and Syria (17:1–3)
  • F. Israel (17:4–14)
  • G. Cush (18:1–7)
  • H. Egypt (19:1–20:6)
  • I. Babylon, additional judgment (21:1–10)
  • J. Dumah (21:11–12)
  • K. Arabia (21:13–17)
  • L. Jerusalem (22:1–25)
  • M. Tyre (23:1–18)
    IV. First Cycle of General Judgment and Promise (24:1–27:13)

  • A. Universal judgment for universal sin (24:1–23)
  • B. Praise to the Lord as Deliverer (25:1–12)
  • C. A song of comfort for Judah (26:1–21)
  • D. Promise of preservation for God’s people (27:1–13)
    V. Woes upon the Unbelievers of Israel (28:1–33:24)

  • A. God’s dealings with drunkards and scoffers (28:1–29)
  • B. Judgment for those who try to deceive God (29:1–24)
  • C. Confidence in man vs. confidence in God (30:1–33)
  • D. Deliverance through God’s intervention (31:1–32:20)
  • E. Punishment of deceivers and triumph of Christ (33:1–24)
    VI. Second Cycle of General Judgment and Promise (34:1–39:8)

  • A. Destruction of the Gentile world powers (34:1–17)
  • B. The ultimate bliss of God’s redeemed (35:1–10)
  • C. Deliverance for King Hezekiah (36:1–39:8)
    VII. Comfort for God’s People (40:1–66:24)

  • A. The purpose of peace (40:1–48:22)
  • B. The Prince of Peace (49:1–57:21)
  • C. The program of peace (58:1–66:24)
    Hebrew Greek Key Study Bible – Spriros Zodhiates introduction to Isaiah:

  • Isaiah began his career during a time of relative peace and prosperity.
  • Before long, conditions deteriated.
  • During King Ahaz’s reign (11th King of Judah), Assyria became a superpower and deported Judah’s sister kingdom, Israel, in 722 B.C.
  • Ahaz saw Syria and Israel as greater threats, Isaiah trying to reassure Ahaz, asking only that he have faith in God, but Ahaz refused.
  • During Hezekiah’s reign Assyria ravaged the Judean countryside, and Jerusalem itself almost fell.
  • Again, Isaiah preached a message of hope for a repentant Judah who would trust in the Lord. (Oz: as opposed to those who would NOT repent and trust in the Lord.)
  • Isaiah 1 to 39 deals primary with events during the prophet’s lifetime, but the latter part of the book is all concerned with the future.
  • Isaiah 40 begins with a major section that looks ahead to Judah’s return from Babylon exile in the sixth century B.C. The later chapters also peer beyond Isaih’s day, but the time period covered is more difficult to determine.
  • Isaiah 7:14 = Jesus’ miraculous birth and Isaiah Chapter 53 is Jesus’ suffering and death

Return to top

Chapter 1

740 B.C.

1 The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

  • Numbers 12:6 And he said, “Hear my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the LORD make myself known to him in a vision; I speak with him in a dream.


A Rebellious Nation

2 Hear me, you heavens! Listen, earth!
For the Lord has spoken:
“I reared children and brought them up,
but they have rebelled against me.

  • Jeremiah 2:12 Be appalled, O heavens, at this; be shocked, be utterly desolate, declares the LORD,
  • Deuteronomy 32:1 “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.
  • Lord—Jehovah; in Hebrew, “the self-existing and promise-fulfilling, unchangeable One.” The Jews never pronounced this holy name. but substituted Adonai.

3 The ox knows its master,
the donkey its owner’s manger,
but Israel does not know,
my people do not understand.”

  • Jer 8:7 Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD.
  • Jer 9:3 They bend their tongue like a bow; falsehood and not truth has grown strong in the land; for they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know me, declares the LORD.

4. Oh sinful nation,
people weighed down with iniquity,
brood of evildoers,
depraved children!
They have abandoned the LORD;
they have despised the Holy One of Israel;
they have turned their backs on him.

  • Mat 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming to his baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?
  • The opening Oh marks the beginning of what is commonly called a “woe oracle.” This literary form derives from funeral processions and often signifies the sense that the object of the Oh—in this case the sinful nation (Judah)—is as good as dead.

5 Why do you want more beatings?
Why do you keep on rebelling?
The whole head is hurt,
and the whole heart is sick.

  • Isa 9:13 The people did not turn to him who struck them, nor inquire of the LORD of hosts.

6 From the sole of the foot even to the head,
no spot is uninjured—
wounds, welts, and festering sores
not cleansed, bandaged,
or soothed with oil.
7 Your country is desolate,
your cities burned with fire;
your fields are being stripped by foreigners
right before you,
laid waste as when overthrown by strangers.
Daughter Zion is abandoned
like a shelter in a vineyard,
like a shack in a cucumber field,
like a besieged city.

  • Job 27:18 He builds his house like a moth’s, like a booth that a watchman makes.
  • daughter of Zion—the city, Jerusalem and its inhabitants. The idea of youthful beauty is included in “daughter.”

9 If the LORD of Armies
had not left us a few survivors,
we would be like Sodom,
we would resemble Gomorrah.

  • Lam 3:22 The steadfast love of the LORD never ceases; his mercies never come to an end;

10 Hear the word of the Lord,
you rulers of Sodom;
listen to the instruction of our God,
you people of Gomorrah!

  • Deu 32:32 For their vine comes from the vine of Sodom and from the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of poison; their clusters are bitter;

11 “The multitude of your sacrifices—
what are they to me?” says the Lord.
“I have more than enough of burnt offerings,
of rams and the fat of fattened animals;
I have no pleasure
in the blood of bulls and lambs and goats.

  • 1Sa 15:22 And Samuel said, “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to listen than the fat of rams.
  • CSB Study Notes:God commanded his people to offer sacrifices (Lv 1–7; burnt offerings are specifically described in Lv 1), but the sacrifices of his people were reprehensible to him. They were not offered with pure motives of sincere repentance. Rather, they were offered with “hands covered with blood” (Is 1:15).

12 When you come to appear before me,
who has asked this of you,
this trampling of my courts?

Exo 23:17 Three times in the year shall all your males appear before the Lord GOD.

13 Stop bringing meaningless offerings!
Your incense is detestable to me.
New Moons, Sabbaths and convocations—
I cannot bear your worthless assemblies.

  • Mat 15:9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
  • Joe 1:14 Consecrate a fast; call a solemn assembly. Gather the elders and all the inhabitants of the land to the house of the LORD your God, and cry out to the LORD.
  • incense—put upon the sacrifices, and burnt on the altar of incense. Type of prayer (Ps 141:2; Rev 8:3).
    • Psa 141:2 Let my prayer be counted as incense before you, and the lifting up of my hands as the evening sacrifice!
    • Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,

14 Your New Moon feasts and your appointed festivals
I hate with all my being.
They have become a burden to me;
I am weary of bearing them.

  • Num 28:11 “At the beginnings of your months, you shall offer a burnt offering to the LORD: two bulls from the herd, one ram, seven male lambs a year old without blemish;
  • Lam 2:6 He has laid waste his booth like a garden, laid in ruins his meeting place; the LORD has made Zion forget festival and Sabbath, and in his fierce indignation has spurned king and priest.
  • new moons—observed as festivals (Nu 10:10) with sacrifices and blowing of silver trumpets.
    • Num 10:10 On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God.”

15 When you spread out your hands in prayer,
I hide my eyes from you;
even when you offer many prayers,
I am not listening.
Your hands are full of blood!

  • Pro 1:28 Then they will call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me diligently but will not find me.
  • Psa 66:18 If I had cherished iniquity in my heart, the Lord would not have listened.

16 Wash and make yourselves clean.
Take your evil deeds out of my sight;
stop doing wrong.

  • Jer 4:14 O Jerusalem, wash your heart from evil, that you may be saved. How long shall your wicked thoughts lodge within you?
  • Rom 12:9 Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good.

17 Learn to do right; seek justice.
Defend the oppressed.[a]
Take up the cause of the fatherless;
plead the case of the widow.

18 “Come now, let us settle the matter,”
says the Lord.
“Though your sins are like scarlet,
they shall be as white as snow;
though they are red as crimson,
they shall be like wool.

  • Psa 51:7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.

19 If you are willing and obedient,
you will eat the good things of the land;
20 but if you resist and rebel,
you will be devoured by the sword.”
For the mouth of the Lord has spoken.

  • Tit 1:2 in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

21 See how the faithful city
has become a prostitute!
She once was full of justice;
righteousness used to dwell in her—
but now murderers!

  • Jer 2:20 “For long ago I broke your yoke and burst your bonds; but you said, ‘I will not serve.’ Yes, on every high hill and under every green tree you bowed down like a whore.

22 Your silver has become dross,
your choice wine is diluted with water.

  • Jer 6:8 Be warned, O Jerusalem, lest I turn from you in disgust, lest I make you a desolation, an uninhabited land.”

23 Your rulers are rebels,
partners with thieves;
they all love bribes
and chase after gifts.
They do not defend the cause of the fatherless;
the widow’s case does not come before them.

  • Hos 9:15 Every evil of theirs is in Gilgal; there I began to hate them. Because of the wickedness of their deeds I will drive them out of my house. I will love them no more; all their princes are rebels.
  • Pro 29:24 The partner of a thief hates his own life; he hears the curse, but discloses nothing.
  • Jer 22:17 But you have eyes and heart only for your dishonest gain, for shedding innocent blood, and for practicing oppression and violence.”
  • Jer 5:28 they have grown fat and sleek. They know no bounds in deeds of evil; they judge not with justice the cause of the fatherless, to make it prosper, and they do not defend the rights of the needy.

24 Therefore the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
the Mighty One of Israel, declares:
“Ah! I will vent my wrath on my foes
and avenge myself on my enemies.

  • Deu 28:63 And as the LORD took delight in doing you good and multiplying you, so the LORD will take delight in bringing ruin upon you and destroying you. And you shall be plucked off the land that you are entering to take possession of it.

25 I will turn my hand against you;[b]
I will thoroughly purge away your dross
and remove all your impurities.

  • Mal 3:3 He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, and they will bring offerings in righteousness to the LORD.

26 I will restore your leaders as in days of old,
your rulers as at the beginning.
Afterward you will be called
the City of Righteousness,
the Faithful City.”

  • Jer 33:7 I will restore the fortunes of Judah and the fortunes of Israel, and rebuild them as they were at first.
  • Zec 8:3 Thus says the LORD: I have returned to Zion and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem, and Jerusalem shall be called the faithful city, and the mountain of the LORD of hosts, the holy mountain.

27 Zion will be delivered with justice,
her penitent ones with righteousness.
28 But rebels and sinners will both be broken,
and those who forsake the Lord will perish.

  • Job 31:3 Is not calamity for the unrighteous, and disaster for the workers of iniquity?

29 “You will be ashamed because of the sacred oaks
in which you have delighted;
you will be disgraced because of the gardens
that you have chosen.

30 You will be like an oak with fading leaves,
like a garden without water.

31 The mighty man will become tinder
and his work a spark;
both will burn together,
with no one to quench the fire.”

  • Eze 32:21 The mighty chiefs shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: ‘They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

Chapter 2

740 B.C.
Return to top
The Mountain of the Lord

1 This is what Isaiah son of Amoz saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem:

  • Amos 1:1 (ESV) 1 The words of Amos, who was among the shepherds of Tekoa, which he saw concerning Israel in the days of Uzziah king of Judah and in the days of Jeroboam the son of Joash, king of Israel, two years before the earthquake.
  • Micah 1:1 (ESV) 1 The word of the LORD that came to Micah of Moresheth in the days of Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, which he saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem.

2 In the last days
the mountain of the Lord’s temple will be established
as the highest of the mountains;
it will be exalted above the hills,
and all nations will stream to it.

  • The phrase last days refers to the future, a time beyond the judgment on the sin of God’s people.
  • The mountain of the LORD’s house is a reference to Zion, where the temple was built. Zion was where God made his presence known in a special way among his people.
  • Mic 4:1 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and it shall be lifted up above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it,
  • Gen 49:1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you what shall happen to you in days to come.
  • Ps 68:15 O mountain of God, mountain of Bashan; O many-peaked mountain, mountain of Bashan!
  • Shall flow unto it – This is a figurative expression, denoting that they would be converted to the true religion. It indicates that they would come in multitudes, like the flowing of a mighty river.

3 Many peoples will come and say,
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
to the temple of the God of Jacob.
He will teach us his ways,
so that we may walk in his paths.”
The law will go out from Zion,
the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

  • Luke 24:47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.
  • And many people shall go – This denotes a prevalent “desire” to turn to the true God, and embrace the true religion.
  • ALBERT BARNES: For out of Zion – These are the words of the “prophet,” not of the people. The prophet declares that the law would go from Zion; that is, Zion would be the center from which it would be spread abroad; see the note at Isa 1:8. Zion is put here for Jerusalem, and means that the message of mercy to mankind would be spread “from” Jerusalem. Hence, the Messiah commanded his disciples to tarry ‘in Jerusalem until they should be endued with power from on high.’ Luk 24:49. Hence, also, he said that repentance and remission of sins should ‘be preached among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem’ – perhaps referring to this very passage in Isaiah; Luk 24:47.

4 He will judge between the nations
and will settle disputes for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
Nation will not take up sword against nation,
nor will they train for war anymore.

  • The nation seeking the Lord will experience a great transformation. They will not exert their energies and resources to destruction (swords … spears), but rather to productive activities (plows … pruning knives).

5 Come, descendants of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.
The Day of the Lord

  • Eph 5:8 for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light

6 You, Lord, have abandoned your people,
the descendants of Jacob.
They are full of superstitions from the East;
they practice divination like the Philistines
and embrace pagan customs.

  • Num 23:7 And Balaam took up his discourse and said, “From Aram Balak has brought me, the king of Moab from the eastern mountains: ‘Come, curse Jacob for me, and come, denounce Israel!’
  • Deu 18:14 for these nations, which you are about to dispossess, listen to fortune-tellers and to diviners. But as for you, the LORD your God has not allowed you to do this.
  • Psa 106:35 but they mixed with the nations and learned to do as they did.

7 Their land is full of silver and gold;
there is no end to their treasures.
Their land is full of horses;
there is no end to their chariots.

  • Deu 17:16 Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’

8 Their land is full of idols;
they bow down to the work of their hands,
to what their fingers have made.

  • Rom 1:23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.
  • Jer 2:28 But where are your gods that you made for yourself? Let them arise, if they can save you, in your time of trouble; for as many as your cities are your gods, O Judah.

9 So people will be brought low
and everyone humbled—
do not forgive them.

    shaphel

  • Hebrew pronunciation [shah FAIL]
  • CSB translation be low, humbled
  • Uses in Isaiah 15
  • Uses in the OT 30
  • Focus passage Isaiah 2:9, 11, 17

Isaiah has half the uses of shaphel, which means be lowly (Pr 16:19) or sink (Is 32:19). People are humbled (Is 2:9) or brought down (Is 29:4). Trees are felled (Is 10:33) and mountains leveled (Is 40:4). Causative verbs mean humiliate (Jb 40:11), humble (Pr 29:23), demote (Pr 25:7), bring down or low (Is 25:11–12), stoop down (Ps 113:6), and send down (Is 57:9). Shephelah (20×) is the name for the Judean foothills (Jos 9:1). The adjective shaphal (17×) denotes low (Ezk 17:6), lowly (Is 57:15), humble (Ezk 17:14), or humiliated (Mal 2:9). Once it is lowliest (Ezk 29:15). The phrase “lower than” is translated beneath (Lv 13:20). The noun shephel means humiliation (Ps 136:23) or lowly position (Ec 10:6). Shiphlah, meaning depths, occurs with the verb shaphel (Is 32:19). “Lowness (shiphlut) of hands” suggests negligent hands hanging down (Ec 10:18). The adjective shaphel implies humbled (Is 2:12).
Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1045). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

10 Go into the rocks, hide in the ground
from the fearful presence of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty!

  • Rev 6:15 Then the kings of the earth and the great ones and the generals and the rich and the powerful, and everyone, slave and free, hid themselves in the caves and among the rocks of the mountains,

11 The eyes of the arrogant will be humbled
and human pride brought low;
the Lord alone will be exalted in that day.

  • Hos 2:16 “And in that day, declares the LORD, you will call me ‘My Husband,’ and no longer will you call me ‘My Baal.’
  • With the words the pride of mankind will be humbled, Isaiah expressed one of the major themes of his book. Through judgment, God cuts down the sinful pretensions of his people.
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1045). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

12 The Lord Almighty has a day in store
for all the proud and lofty,
for all that is exalted
(and they will be humbled),

13 for all the cedars of Lebanon, tall and lofty,
and all the oaks of Bashan,

  • Isa 14:8 The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us.’

14 for all the towering mountains
and all the high hills,

  • Isa 30:25 And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall.

15 for every lofty tower
and every fortified wall,

16 for every trading ship
and every stately vessel.

17 The arrogance of man will be brought low
and human pride humbled;
the Lord alone will be exalted in that day,

18 and the idols will totally disappear.

19 People will flee to caves in the rocks
and to holes in the ground
from the fearful presence of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

  • Hos 10:3 For now they will say: “We have no king, for we do not fear the LORD; and a king—what could he do for us?”
  • Rev 9:6 And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them.

20 In that day people will throw away
to the moles and bats
their idols of silver and idols of gold,
which they made to worship.

21 They will flee to caverns in the rocks
and to the overhanging crags
from the fearful presence of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty,
when he rises to shake the earth.

22 Stop trusting in mere humans,
who have but a breath in their nostrils.
Why hold them in esteem?

  • Psa 146:3 Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation.
  • Job 27:8 For what is the hope of the godless when God cuts him off, when God takes away his life?

Chapter 3

740 B.C.
Return to top
JUDAH’S LEADERS JUDGED

1 Note this: The Lord GOD of Armies
is about to remove from Jerusalem and from Judah
every kind of security:
the entire supply of bread and water,

  • 3:1–3 Since God’s people trust in man (2:22) rather than in God, he will remove from them every kind of security. While various political, military, and religious leaders are on the list, it begins with the staples of bread and water. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1045). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 37:21 So King Zedekiah gave orders, and they committed Jeremiah to the court of the guard. And a loaf of bread was given him daily from the bakers’ street, until all the bread of the city was gone. So Jeremiah remained in the court of the guard.
  • Lev 26:26 When I break your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven and shall dole out your bread again by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.

2 heroes and warriors,
judges and prophets,
fortune-tellers and elders,

  • 2Ki 24:14 He carried away all Jerusalem and all the officials and all the mighty men of valor, 10,000 captives, and all the craftsmen and the smiths. None remained, except the poorest people of the land.

3 commanders of fifty and dignitaries,
counselors, cunning magicians, and necromancers.

4 “I will make youths their leaders,
and unstable rulers will govern them.”

  • 3:4–5 With the removal of the leaders in whom the people trust comes the installation of inexperienced youths to replace them. The result will be social chaos and oppression. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1045). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Ecc 10:16 Woe to you, O land, when your king is a child, and your princes feast in the morning!

5 The people will oppress one another,
man against man, neighbor against neighbor;
the young will act arrogantly toward the old,
and the worthless toward the honorable.

6 A man will even seize his brother
in his father’s house, saying,
“You have a cloak—you be our leader!
This heap of rubble will be under your control.”

  • 3:6–7 In such a disorderly society, it did not take much to be a leader among men. In the vignette described in these verses, the people are so unwilling and unfit to lead that a man will be pressed into a leadership role just because he has a cloak. But what would be left for him to lead? Only a heap of rubble. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1046). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

7 On that day he will cry out, saying,
“I’m not a healer.
I don’t even have food or clothing in my house.
Don’t make me the leader of the people!”

8 For Jerusalem has stumbled
and Judah has fallen
because they have spoken and acted against the LORD,
defying his glorious presence.

  • Mic 3:12 Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

9 The look on their faces testifies against them,
and like Sodom, they flaunt their sin;
they do not conceal it.
Woe to them,
for they have brought disaster on themselves.

  • Gen 13:13 Now the men of Sodom were wicked, great sinners against the LORD.

10 Tell the righteous that it will go well for them,
for they will eat the fruit of their labor.

  • Ecc 8:12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him.
  • Psa 128:2 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.

11 Woe to the wicked—it will go badly for them,
for what they have done will be done to them.

  • Psa 11:6 Let him rain coals on the wicked; fire and sulfur and a scorching wind shall be the portion of their cup.

12 Youths oppress my people,
and women rule over them.
My people, your leaders mislead you;
they confuse the direction of your paths.

  • Isa 9:16 for those who guide this people have been leading them astray, and those who are guided by them are swallowed up.

13 The LORD rises to argue the case
and stands to judge the people.

  • 3:13–15 Isaiah returned to the legal language with which the book began (1:2). The leaders were guilty of destroying the vineyard, the land of Judah (5:1–7), through their exploitation of the poor. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1046). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Mic 6:2 Hear, you mountains, the indictment of the LORD, and you enduring foundations of the earth, for the LORD has an indictment against his people, and he will contend with Israel.

14 The LORD brings this charge
against the elders and leaders of his people:
“You have devastated the vineyard.
The plunder from the poor is in your houses.

  • Mat 21:33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country.

15 Why do you crush my people
and grind the faces of the poor?”
This is the declaration
of the Lord GOD of Armies.

  • Mic 3:2-3 you who hate the good and love the evil, who tear the skin from off my people and their flesh from off their bones, Mic 3:3 who eat the flesh of my people, and flay their skin from off them, and break their bones in pieces and chop them up like meat in a pot, like flesh in a cauldron.

JERUSALEM’S WOMEN JUDGED

16 The LORD also says:

Because the daughters of Zion are haughty,
walking with heads held high
and seductive eyes,
prancing along,
jingling their ankle bracelets,
17 the Lord will put scabs on the heads
of the daughters of Zion,
and the LORD will shave their foreheads bare.

  • 3:16 The proud daughters of Zion stand for the city and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (1:8), not just its female inhabitants. Though clearly the inhabitants included a share of rich, snooty women, the fact that the city is clearly described by such a female personification in 3:25–26 confirms the view that the daughters should not be restricted to the female population. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1046). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Deu 28:27 The LORD will strike you with the boils of Egypt, and with tumors and scabs and itch, of which you cannot be healed.
  • Jer 13:22 And if you say in your heart, ‘Why have these things come upon me?’ it is for the greatness of your iniquity that your skirts are lifted up and you suffer violence.

18 On that day the Lord will strip their finery: ankle bracelets, headbands, crescents,

  • Jdg 8:21 Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, “Rise yourself and fall upon us, for as the man is, so is his strength.” And Gideon arose and killed Zebah and Zalmunna, and he took the crescent ornaments that were on the necks of their camels.

19 pendants, bracelets, veils, 20 headdresses, ankle jewelry, sashes, perfume bottles, amulets, 21 signet rings, nose rings, 22 festive robes, capes, cloaks, purses, 23 garments, linen clothes, turbans, and shawls.

24 Instead of perfume there will be a stench;
instead of a belt, a rope;
instead of beautifully styled hair, baldness;
instead of fine clothes, sackcloth;
instead of beauty, branding.

  • Isa 22:12 In that day the Lord GOD of hosts called for weeping and mourning, for baldness and wearing sackcloth;

25 Your men will fall by the sword,
your warriors in battle.
26 Then her gates will lament and mourn;
deserted, she will sit on the ground.

  • Jer 14:2 “Judah mourns, and her gates languish; her people lament on the ground, and the cry of Jerusalem goes up.
  • Lam 2:10 The elders of the daughter of Zion sit on the ground in silence; they have thrown dust on their heads and put on sackcloth; the young women of Jerusalem have bowed their heads to the ground.
  • Exo 21:10-11 If he takes another wife to himself, he shall not diminish her food, her clothing, or her marital rights. 11 And if he does not do these three things for her, she shall go out for nothing, without payment of money. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Ex 21:10–11). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Chapter 4

740 B.C.
Return to top

1 On that day seven women
will seize one man, saying,
“We will eat our own bread
and provide our own clothing.
Just let us bear your name.
Take away our disgrace.”

  • Genesis 30:23 (ESV) She conceived and bore a son and said, “God has taken away my reproach.”
  • 1 Samuel 1:6 (ESV) And her rival used to provoke her grievously to irritate her, because the LORD had closed her womb.
  • Luke 1:25 (ESV) “Thus the Lord has done for me in the days when he looked on me, to take away my reproach among people.”
  • 2Th 3:12 Now such persons we command and encourage in the Lord Jesus Christ to do their work quietly and to earn their own living.
  • 3:25–4:1 War will severely reduce the male population of Jerusalem. There will not be enough men to marry all the women. Women without husbands were socially vulnerable. Thus, seven women will beg a single man to make them his wives. He will not even need to provide their food (bread) and clothing (something mandated even for unloved secondary wives in Ex 21:10–11).
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1046). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

ZION’S FUTURE GLORY

2 On that day the Branch of the LORD will be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land will be the pride and glory of Israel’s survivors.

  • 4:2–6 This pronouncement marks a sudden shift from judgment to future salvation. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 23:5 “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land.
  • 4:2 That day is a future day, a time that comes after the judgment described in 2:5–4:1. Indeed, the new restored state of Zion is a product of passing through the crucible of judgment. The remnant is here described as Israel’s survivors.
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

3 Whoever remains in Zion and whoever is left in Jerusalem will be called holy — all in Jerusalem written in the book of life,

  • 4:3 The remnant will be holy. Holiness means set apart or consecrated for service to the Lord. Such a relationship implies an obedient lifestyle. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 60:21 Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.
  • Phil 4:3 Yes, I ask you also, true companion, help these women, who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

4 when the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion and cleansed the bloodguilt from the heart of Jerusalem by a spirit of judgment and a spirit of burning.

  • Mal 3:2,3 But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears? For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap.
  • 4:4 This verse explicitly states that Zion’s blessed future condition will be accomplished through judgment. It is an act of the grace of God. God’s people must wash themselves (1:16), but it is God who makes them clean.
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

5 Then the LORD will create a cloud of smoke by day and a glowing flame of fire by night over the entire site of Mount Zion and over its assemblies. For there will be a canopy over all the glory,

  • Exo 13:21 And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.
  • Zec 2:5 And I will be to her a wall of fire all around, declares the LORD, and I will be the glory in her midst.'”
  • 4:5 After the exodus from Egypt, God guided Israel through the desert by a cloud and flame (cp. Ex 40:38), which represented God’s mysterious and powerful presence with his people. Isaiah used this language to teach that the future remnant will again enjoy an intimate and assuring relationship with God after the judgment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 25:4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,

6 and there will be a shelter for shade from heat by day and a refuge and shelter from storm and rain

  • Isa 25:4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,

Chapter 5

740 B.C.
Return to top
SONG OF THE VINEYARD

1 I will sing about the one I love,
a song about my loved one’s vineyard:
The one I love had a vineyard
on a very fertile hill.

  • 5:1–7 This poem has been identified as a parable, an allegory, and a love poem. Whatever its precise genre, its message is clear and compelling. It uses imagery to make the point that the people of God deserve the punishment coming their way. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Psa 80:8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
  • Jer 2:21 Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?
  • Mat 21:33 “Hear another parable. There was a master of a house who planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a winepress in it and built a tower and leased it to tenants, and went into another country.
  • Mar 12:1 And he began to speak to them in parables. “A man planted a vineyard and put a fence around it and dug a pit for the winepress and built a tower, and leased it to tenants and went into another country.

2 He broke up the soil, cleared it of stones,
and planted it with the finest vines.
He built a tower in the middle of it
and even dug out a winepress there.
He expected it to yield good grapes,
but it yielded worthless grapes.

  • 5:2 The singer continues by describing the labor that went into preparing the vineyard. To create a vineyard was no easy matter. There was a period of a few years that passed from clearing the area of stones (pervasive through the hill country of Israel), planting expensive vines, and building a tower and a winepress. Similarly, God expended great effort in creating the right conditions for Israel to flourish as a godly nation. But in spite of all the work, the vineyard produced worthless grapes. This signified that the people of God did not live up to their promise of being an obedient and blessed people who would also bless the nations around them. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Deu 32:6 Do you thus repay the LORD, you foolish and senseless people? Is not he your father, who created you, who made you and established you?

3 So now, residents of Jerusalem
and men of Judah,
please judge between me
and my vineyard.

  • 5:3–6 In these verses the first-person speaker is God, the owner of the vineyard, demanding an accounting of his grapes, the people of Israel.
  • 5:3–4 When God called on the residents of Jerusalem to judge between him and his vineyard, he in essence was calling on them to judge themselves. In this way, this poem functions similarly to the parable of Nathan as he confronted David about his sin with Bathsheba (2Sm 12:1–15). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Rom 3:4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

4 What more could I have done for my vineyard
than I did?
Why, when I expected a yield of good grapes,
did it yield worthless grapes?
5 Now I will tell you
what I am about to do to my vineyard:
I will remove its hedge,
and it will be consumed;
I will tear down its wall,
and it will be trampled.

  • 5:5–6 The owner was incensed that the results of his hard labor had produced useless grapes, so he took his anger out on the vineyard. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1047). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Psa 80:12 Why then have you broken down its walls, so that all who pass along the way pluck its fruit?

6 I will make it a wasteland.
It will not be pruned or weeded;
thorns and briers will grow up.
I will also give orders to the clouds
that rain should not fall on it.
7 For the vineyard of the LORD of Armies
is the house of Israel,
and the men of Judah,
the plant he delighted in.
He expected justice
but saw injustice;
he expected righteousness
but heard cries of despair.

  • 5:7 The last verse of the poem makes explicit the identification of the vineyard as the people of God. It also gives the explanation for their punishment by means of a wordplay. In the land there was injustice (Hb mispach) and not justice (Hb mishpat), cries of despair (Hb tse‘aqah) and not righteousness (Hb tsedaqah). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (pp. 1047–1048). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


JUDAH’S SINS DENOUNCED

8 Woe to those who add house to house
and join field to field
until there is no more room
and you alone are left in the land.

  • 5:8 The first woe is directed toward those who expanded their real estate holdings. Since God graciously provided the land so all of his people had some, buying up land was always done at the cost of another person. Ahab’s seizure of Naboth’s vineyard is a concrete illustration of this exploitation (1Kg 21).
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1048). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Mic 2:2 They covet fields and seize them, and houses, and take them away; they oppress a man and his house, a man and his inheritance.

9 I heard the LORD of Armies say:

Indeed, many houses will become desolate,
grand and lovely ones without inhabitants.

  • Isa 22:14 The LORD of hosts has revealed himself in my ears: “Surely this iniquity will not be atoned for you until you die,” says the Lord GOD of hosts.

10 For a ten-acre vineyard will yield
only six gallons of wine,
and ten bushels of seed will yield
only one bushel of grain.

  • Eze 45:11 The ephah and the bath shall be of the same measure, the bath containing one tenth of a homer, and the ephah one tenth of a homer; the homer shall be the standard measure.

11 Woe to those who rise early in the morning
in pursuit of beer,
who linger into the evening,
inflamed by wine.

  • 5:11–12 The second woe is directed toward those who indulged in excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages (beer and wine). They drank and ate and sang, forgetting what was really important—the work of God.
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1048). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Pro 23:29 Who has woe? Who has sorrow? Who has strife? Who has complaining? Who has wounds without cause? Who has redness of eyes?

12 At their feasts they have lyre, harp,
tambourine, flute, and wine.
They do not perceive the LORD’s actions,
and they do not see the work of his hands.

  • Amo 6:5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music,
  • Job 34:27 because they turned aside from following him and had no regard for any of his ways,
  • Psa 28:5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.

13 Therefore my people will go into exile
because they lack knowledge;
her dignitaries are starving,
and her masses are parched with thirst.

  • Hos 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children.

14 Therefore Sheol enlarges its throat
and opens wide its enormous jaws,
and down go Zion’s dignitaries, her masses,
her crowds, and those who celebrate in her!

  • 5:14 As God’s people indulged themselves with drink and food, so Sheol will open its large mouth and swallow them. Sheol refers to the grave and in some contexts signifies the underworld. The idea of Sheol swallowing its victims did not originate with the Hebrews, but may stem from the Canaanite story that describes the god of death (Mot) swallowing his victims. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1048). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

15 Humanity is brought low, each person is humbled,
and haughty eyes are humbled.

  • 5:15–17 John Oswalt (NICOT) notes the theological significance of v. 16. “It expresses the truth that what makes God truly God, what sets him off as divine, is neither his overwhelming power nor his mysterious numinousness. Rather, what marks him as God is his essential justice and righteousness.”Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1048). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 2:9, 11 So man is humbled, and each one is brought low— do not forgive them! 11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

16 But the LORD of Armies is exalted by his justice,
and the holy God demonstrates his holiness through his righteousness.
17 Lambs will graze
as if in their own pastures,
and resident aliens will eat
among the ruins of the rich.

  • Isa 10:16 Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire.

18 Woe to those who drag iniquity
with cords of deceit
and pull sin along with cart ropes,
19 to those who say,
“Let him hurry up and do his work quickly
so that we can see it!
Let the plan of the Holy One of Israel take place
so that we can know it!”

  • 5:18–19 The third woe begins by picturing people whose sin was so heavy that they ended up pulling it along in a cart behind them. Their sin was one of cynicism. With a tone of disbelief, they challenged God to act. In particular they might be thinking of God’s work of judgment. They sinned and did not yet see God’s punishment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1048). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 17:15 Behold, they say to me, “Where is the word of the LORD? Let it come!”
  • Amo 5:18 Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD! Why would you have the day of the LORD? It is darkness, and not light,

20 Woe to those who call evil good
and good evil,

  • 5:20 The fourth woe is against those who confused ethical categories. They classified actions as evil that God would call good and vice versa. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1048). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

who substitute darkness for light
and light for darkness,
who substitute bitter for sweet
and sweet for bitter.
21 Woe to those who consider themselves wise
and judge themselves clever.

  • 5:21 As with the previous verse, the issue of the fifth woe is human autonomy. On being wise in one’s own eyes. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1048). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Rom 1:22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools,

22 Woe to those who are heroes at drinking wine,
who are champions at pouring beer,
23 who acquit the guilty for a bribe
and deprive the innocent of justice.

  • 5:22–23 The sixth and final woe returns to the earlier issue of excessive drinking (heroes at drinking wine) and also twisting justice for money. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1049). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Pro 17:15 He who justifies the wicked and he who condemns the righteous are both alike an abomination to the LORD.

24 Therefore, as a tongue of fire consumes straw
and as dry grass shrivels in the flame,
so their roots will become like something rotten
and their blossoms will blow away like dust,
for they have rejected
the instruction of the LORD of Armies,
and they have despised
the word of the Holy One of Israel.

  • Exo 15:7 In the greatness of your majesty you overthrow your adversaries; you send out your fury; it consumes them like stubble.
  • Job 18:16 His roots dry up beneath, and his branches wither above.

25 Therefore the LORD’s anger burned against his people.
He raised his hand against them and struck them;
the mountains quaked,
and their corpses were like garbage in the streets.
In all this, his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is still raised to strike.

  • 2Ki 22:13 “Go, inquire of the LORD for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that has been found. For great is the wrath of the LORD that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not obeyed the words of this book, to do according to all that is written concerning us.”
  • Jer 4:24 I looked on the mountains, and behold, they were quaking, and all the hills moved to and fro.
  • Isa 9:12, 17 The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still. Therefore the Lord does not rejoice over their young men, and has no compassion on their fatherless and widows; for everyone is godless and an evildoer, and every mouth speaks folly. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

26 He raises a signal flag for the distant nations
and whistles for them from the ends of the earth.
Look—how quickly and swiftly they come!

  • 5:26–28 God will call for foreign armies to descend on his people. Though these armies are not mentioned by name, we know from later history that these nations were Assyria and Babylon. Notice that God would signal them with a whistle, and they would immediately respond. This illustrates God’s sovereign rule over the nations. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1049). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 11:12 He will raise a signal for the nations and will assemble the banished of Israel, and gather the dispersed of Judah from the four corners of the earth.
  • Isa 7:18 In that day the LORD will whistle for the fly that is at the end of the streams of Egypt, and for the bee that is in the land of Assyria.
  • Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.
  • Joe 2:7 Like warriors they charge; like soldiers they scale the wall. They march each on his way; they do not swerve from their paths.

27 None of them grows weary or stumbles;
no one slumbers or sleeps.
No belt is loose
and no sandal strap broken.

  • Dan 5:6 Then the king’s color changed, and his thoughts alarmed him; his limbs gave way, and his knees knocked together.

28 Their arrows are sharpened,
and all their bows strung.
Their horses’ hooves are like flint;
their chariot wheels are like a whirlwind.

  • Jer 5:16 Their quiver is like an open tomb; they are all mighty warriors.

29 Their roaring is like a lion’s;
they roar like young lions;
they growl and seize their prey
and carry it off,
and no one can rescue it.

  • 5:29 Assyrian royal inscriptions often compare their kings to lions. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1049). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

30 On that day they will roar over it,
like the roaring of the sea.
When one looks at the land,
there will be darkness and distress;
light will be obscured by clouds.

  • Isa 8:22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 5:1–30). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

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Chapter 6

740 B.C.
Return to top
ISAIAH’S CALL AND MISSION

1 In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple.

  • King Uzziah (called “Azariah” in 2Kg 15:1) died about 740 BC. He had been a relatively good king, and did “what was right in the LORD’s sight” (2Kg 15:3), though he did not remove the high places. God also blessed Uzziah’s reign with prosperity and military success. His death, coupled with the rise of Assyria, created great uncertainty in Judah. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1049). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • John 12:41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.

2 Seraphim were standing above him; they each had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they flew.

  • Eze 1:11 Such were their faces. And their wings were spread out above. Each creature had two wings, each of which touched the wing of another, while two covered their bodies.

3 And one called to another:

Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of Armies;
his glory fills the whole earth.

  • 6:3 The word holy spoken three times is emphatic or superlative and points to God’s otherness. He is completely separated from anything profane or sinful. His sovereignty is underlined by the fact that his glory filled the whole earth. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1049). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Rev 4:8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty, who was and is and is to come!”
  • Psa 72:19 Blessed be his glorious name forever; may the whole earth be filled with his glory! Amen and Amen!

4 The foundations of the doorways shook at the sound of their voices, and the temple was filled with smoke.
5 Then I said:

Woe is me for I am ruined
because I am a man of unclean lips
and live among a people of unclean lips,
and because my eyes have seen the King,
the LORD of Armies.

  • 6:5 In the presence of such holiness, Isaiah felt the weight of his own sinfulness. He feared for himself because he knew that God did not tolerate uncleanness in his presence. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1049). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, and in his hand was a glowing coal that he had taken from the altar with tongs.

  • 6:6–7 God prepared Isaiah by cleansing his lips, the instrument by which he would execute his prophetic task. He did this symbolically by having one of his seraphim touch the prophet’s lips with a burning coal. Fire can purify (Nm 31:22–23), and this burning coal was taken from the altar where sacrifices were offered to atone for sin (1Ch 6:49). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1050). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Rev 8:3 And another angel came and stood at the altar with a golden censer, and he was given much incense to offer with the prayers of all the saints on the golden altar before the throne,

7 He touched my mouth with it and said:

Now that this has touched your lips,
your iniquity is removed
and your sin is atoned for.

  • Jer 1:9 Then the LORD put out his hand and touched my mouth. And the LORD said to me, “Behold, I have put my words in your mouth.

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord asking:

Who will I send?
Who will go for us?

I said:

Here I am. Send me.

  • Gen 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

9 And he replied:

Go! Say to these people:
Keep listening, but do not understand;
keep looking, but do not perceive.
10 Make the minds of these people dull;
deafen their ears and blind their eyes;
otherwise they might see with their eyes
and hear with their ears,
understand with their minds,
turn back, and be healed.

  • 6:9–10 Isaiah was a prophet with a message of judgment. God’s commission recognized that, because of its sin, Israel’s healing could only come about through their punishment. Isaiah’s message from God would serve only to distance them even more from God. These verses are quoted in the NT to explain why Jesus taught in parables (Mt 13:14–15; Mk 4:12; Lk 8:10) and to explain the people’s lack of response to the gospel (Jn 12:40; Ac 28:26–27). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1050). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Mat 13:14–15 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “‘”You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive.” 15 For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’
    • Joh 12:40 “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
  • Psa 119:70 their heart is unfeeling like fat, but I delight in your law.
  • Jer 5:21 “Hear this, O foolish and senseless people, who have eyes, but see not, who have ears, but hear not.

11 Then I said, “Until when, Lord?” And he replied:

  • Mic 3:12 Therefore because of you Zion shall be plowed as a field; Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins, and the mountain of the house a wooded height.

Until cities lie in ruins without inhabitants,
houses are without people,
the land is ruined and desolate,
12 and the LORD drives the people far away,
leaving great emptiness in the land.
13 Though a tenth will remain in the land,
it will be burned again.
Like the terebinth or the oak
that leaves a stump when felled,
the holy seed is the stump.

  • 6:11–13 From the start Isaiah knew that his message would not lead God’s people to repentance. They would experience destruction. Even so, a remnant would survive. This remnant is pictured as a stump that is left after a mighty tree falls. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1050). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2 Kings 25:21 And the king of Babylon struck them down and put them to death at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was taken into exile out of its land.
  • Ezr 9:2 For they have taken some of their daughters to be wives for themselves and for their sons, so that the holy race has mixed itself with the peoples of the lands. And in this faithlessness the hand of the officials and chief men has been foremost.”

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 6:1–13). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 7

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THE MESSAGE TO AHAZ

1 This took place during the reign of Ahaz, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah king of Judah: Aram’s King Rezin and Israel’s King Pekah son of Remaliah went to fight against Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it.

  • Ahaz. King of southern kingdom, Judah. Jerusalem was in Judah.
  • Rezin. King of Damascus.
  • Pekah. King of Israel (Northern Kingdom).
  • Tiglath-pileser III. King of Assyria.
  • Aram = Syria— Hebrew, Aram, originally the whole region between the Euphrates and Mediterranean, including Assyria, of which Syria is an abbreviation; here the region round Damascus, and along Mount Libanus.

Oz note: The reason that King Rezin and King Pekah were attempting to capture Judah was because Pekah and Rezin had teamed up in a revolt against paying tribute to Assyria’s King Tiglath-pileser III. King Rezin and King Pekah tried to force Ahaz to joining them, but Ahaz refused. When Ahaz refused, King Rezin and King Pekah angrily swarmed into Judah in retaliation, but their attempt to conquer failed.

BACKGROUND:

  • The political situation was tense in Jerusalem.
  • In the early 730s BC the aggressive Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III was busy on his northern frontier.
  • During this time, Rezin, the king of Aram with its capital in Damascus, and Pekah, the king of Israel (also known as Ephraim), joined forces to withstand the almost certain Assyrian attack that would follow Tiglath-pileser’s victory in the north.
  • Rezin and Pekah wanted Judah to support them, but Ahaz wanted nothing to do with the alliance.
  • By this time he (Ahaz) might already have paid (or at least was contemplating paying) the Assyrians to rescue him from these kings (2Kg 16:6–9).
    • 2Ki 16:6 At that time Rezin the king of Syria recovered Elath for Syria and drove the men of Judah from Elath, and the Edomites came to Elath, where they dwell to this day.
    • 2Ki 16:7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.”
    • 2Ki 16:8 Ahaz also took the silver and gold that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasures of the king’s house and sent a present to the king of Assyria.
    • 2Ki 16:9 And the king of Assyria listened to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir, and he killed Rezin.

  • Isaiah confronted the king with a question: What was the source of his trust: the Lord or the Assyrians? Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1050). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

2 When it became known to the house of David that Aram had occupied Ephraim, the heart of Ahaz and the hearts of his people trembled like trees of a forest shaking in the wind.

  • Aram = Syria— Hebrew, Aram, originally the whole region between the Euphrates and Mediterranean, including Assyria, of which Syria is an abbreviation; here the region round Damascus, and along Mount Libanus.
  • b>Ahaz. King of southern kingdom, Judah.

3 The LORD said to Isaiah, “Go out with your son Shear-jashub, to meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to the Launderer’s Field. 4 Say to him: Calm down and be quiet. Don’t be afraid or cowardly because of these two smoldering sticks, the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram, and the son of Remaliah.

  • 7:4 The Lord’s message to Ahaz (King of Judah) is that he has nothing to fear.

5 For Aram, along with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has plotted harm against you. They say,

  • 7:5–6 Though no other certain references to Tabeel exist in the Bible or are known outside of it, the political intentions of Rezin and Pekah were clear. They wanted to remove Ahaz from the throne because of his unwillingness to join their coalition, and they intended to install a puppet king who would be more easily manipulated. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1050). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

6 ‘Let’s go up against Judah, terrorize it, and conquer it for ourselves. Then we can install Tabeel’s son as king in it.’ ”

7 This is what the Lord GOD says: It will not happen; it will not occur.

  • Isa 8:10 Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing; speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.

8 The chief city of Aram is Damascus,
the chief of Damascus is Rezin
(within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people),

  • 2Sam 8:6 Then David put garrisons in Aram of Damascus, and the Syrians became servants to David and brought tribute. And the LORD gave victory to David wherever he went.

9 the chief city of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the chief of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
then you will not stand at all.

  • 7:9 Ahaz, King of Judah, should trust God, not Assyria to rescue him from Rezin and Pekah.
    • 2Chr 20:20 And they rose early in the morning and went out into the wilderness of Tekoa. And when they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe in the LORD your God, and you will be established; believe his prophets, and you will succeed.”

THE IMMANUEL PROPHECY

10 Then the LORD spoke again to Ahaz: 11 “Ask for a sign from the LORD your God — it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as heaven.”

  • 7:10–11 The purpose of a sign was to give Ahaz even more reason to have confidence in God rather than Assyria to rescue him from Rezin and Pekah. Sheol refers to the underworld. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1053). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Mat 12:38 Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you.”

12 But Ahaz replied, “I will not ask. I will not test the LORD.”

  • 7:12 From Isaiah’s reaction, the reader can discern that Ahaz’s reply, which on the surface seems pious, was actually impious. The king seemed to cite scriptural precedent (Dt 6:16), but the law prohibited the type of rebellious testing that took place at Massah (Ex 17:1–7), not a test offered by a true prophet of the Lord. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1053). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

13 Isaiah said, “Listen, house of David! Is it not enough for you to try the patience of men? Will you also try the patience of my God?

  • 7:13 The use of my God in this verse instead of “your God,” as in v. 11, shows that Ahaz’s lack of faith was a turning point in his life. Isaiah’s reference to him as house of David shows also that it would impact the Davidic dynasty, spelling its decline.
  • Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1053). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

14 Therefore, the Lord himself will give you a sign: See, the virgin will conceive, have a son, and name him Immanuel.

  • 7:14 The context indicates that the preliminary fulfillment of this sign must have taken place within a few years of its utterance—the time between a child’s conception and his knowing right from wrong (vv. 15–16), traditionally at age twelve. The Hebrew word translated virgin means “young woman of marriageable age” and often has the implication of virginity. Thus many scholars feel that the referent is a woman whom Isaiah would marry and, if so, then the birth is mentioned in 8:1–4. This may be the immediate fulfillment of this sign. But its ultimate and more exalted fulfillment is noted in Mt 1:23 as it cites the more specific Greek word found in the Septuagint, parthenos, which means “virgin.” Immanuel means “God With Us.”
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1053). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Mat 1:23 “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).
  • Isaiah 9:6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
  • Gen 4:1, 25 Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.” 25 And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and called his name Seth, for she said, “God has appointed for me another offspring instead of Abel, for Cain killed him.”
  • Isaiah 8:8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”

15 By the time he learns to reject what is bad and choose what is good, he will be eating curds and honey.

  • 7:15 The first phrase could also be translated, “In order to learn,” meaning that hardship will motivate the child to turn to God. The significance of eating curds and honey is that the devastation of the land’s agriculture (vv. 23–24) will be such that other foods will not be available. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1053). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

16 For before the boy knows to reject what is bad and choose what is good, the land of the two kings you dread will be abandoned.

  • 7:16 The Aramean kingdom of Rezin was destroyed in 732 BC. King Tiglath-pileser of Assyria reduced the size of the northern kingdom of King Pekah in 733 BC, and the king was assassinated and replaced by Hoshea. Even so, the northern kingdom was totally defeated in 722 BC, about thirteen years after the Immanuel prophecy. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1053). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isaiah 8:4 for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”
  • 2 Kings 15:30 Then Hoshea the son of Elah made a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah and struck him down and put him to death and reigned in his place, in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah.

17 The LORD will bring on you, your people, and your father’s house such a time as has never been since Ephraim separated from Judah: He will bring the king of Assyria.”

  • 7:17 It was not just Syria and the northern kingdom that would experience Assyrian devastation. Judah would also experience God’s punishment. As later events showed, paying Tiglath-pileser to take care of Ahaz’s northern problem was not the smartest strategy. From that point on Ahaz paid a heavy tribute as Assyria’s vassal (2Kg 16:10–18).
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (pp. 1053–1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2 Chronicles 28:19 For the LORD humbled Judah because of Ahaz king of Israel, for he had made Judah act sinfully and had been very unfaithful to the LORD.
  • 1 Kings 12:16 And when all Israel saw that the king did not listen to them, the people answered the king, “What portion do we have in David? We have no inheritance in the son of Jesse. To your tents, O Israel! Look now to your own house, David.” So Israel went to their tents.

18 On that day
the LORD will whistle to flies
at the farthest streams of the Nile
and to bees in the land of Assyria.

  • Isaiah 5:26 He will raise a signal for nations far away, and whistle for them from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come!

19 All of them will come and settle
in the steep ravines, in the clefts of the rocks,
in all the thornbushes, and in all the water holes.

  • Jer 16:16 “Behold, I am sending for many fishers, declares the LORD, and they shall catch them. And afterward I will send for many hunters, and they shall hunt them from every mountain and every hill, and out of the clefts of the rocks.

20 On that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River—the king of Assyria—to shave the hair on your heads, the hair on your legs, and even your beards.

  • 7:20 The razor is Assyrian King Tiglath-pileser, who will ravage the land of Judah. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2KI 16:7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.”

21 On that day
a man will raise a young cow and two sheep,
22 and from the abundant milk they give
he will eat curds,
for every survivor in the land will eat curds and honey.

23 And on that day
every place where there were a thousand vines,
worth a thousand pieces of silver,
will become thorns and briers.
24 A man will go there with bow and arrows
because the whole land will be thorns and briers.
25 You will not go to all the hills
that were once tilled with a hoe,
for fear of the thorns and briers.
Those hills will be places for oxen to graze
and for sheep to trample.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 7:1–25). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 8

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The Coming Assyrian Invasion

1 Then the LORD said to me, “Take a large tablet and write on it in common characters, ‘Belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz.’

  • Hab 2:2 And the LORD answered me: “Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.
  • The name Maher-shalal-hash-baz means “Speeding to the Plunder, Hurrying to the Spoil,” and it signifies the rapid future advance of Assyria. Maher-shalal-hash-baz was one of Isaiah’s sons. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

2 And I will get reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah, to attest for me.”

  • 8:2 The presence of witnesses indicates that the writing of this prophecy had the force of a legal document. If the prophecy did not come true, then these two witnesses could attest to its falsity. If it did come true, they could proclaim that it was written before, and not after, the fact. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Ki 16:10 When King Ahaz went to Damascus to meet Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, he saw the altar that was at Damascus. And King Ahaz sent to Uriah the priest a model of the altar, and its pattern, exact in all its details.

3 And I went to the prophetess, and she conceived and bore a son. Then the LORD said to me, “Call his name Maher-shalal-hash-baz; 4 for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”

  • Isaiah’s wife was a prophetess (Ex 15:20; Deborah, Jdg 4:4; Huldah, 2Kg 22:14; Anna, Lk 2:36). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 8:4 The point of the prophecy is that within just a few years the Assyrian army would advance to crush Damascus, the capital of Rezin’s Syria, and Samaria, the capital of Pekah’s northern kingdom of Israel. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 7:16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.
  • 2Ki 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria.

5 The LORD spoke to me again: 6 “Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah that flow gently, and rejoice over Rezin and the son of Remaliah,

  • 8:5–8 It was good news to Judah that Assyria would defeat Syria and Israel, the two nations that were allied against it. In this light rejoiced with Rezin, the translation and meaning of which is debated, likely refers to Judah’s rejoicing in Rezin’s coming defeat. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 8:6 The water of Shiloah refers to the small water channel that carried water from pools outside Jerusalem into the city. Here it stands for God himself, contrasting with the raging river mentioned in the next verse. Thus, Judah’s rejection of Shiloah signifies their rejection of God. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Joh 9:7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
  • Isa 7:1,2 In the days of Ahaz the son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Rezin the king of Syria and Pekah the son of Remaliah the king of Israel came up to Jerusalem to wage war against it, but could not yet mount an attack against it. 2 When the house of David was told, “Syria is in league with Ephraim,” the heart of Ahaz and the heart of his people shook as the trees of the forest shake before the wind.

7 therefore, behold, the Lord is bringing up against them the waters of the River, mighty and many, the king of Assyria and all his glory. And it will rise over all its channels and go over all its banks,

  • 8:7 The mighty rushing water of the Euphrates represents the Assyrian king and thus Assyrian might. By calling on Tiglath-pileser to help him against the Syro-Ephraimite alliance, Ahaz was choosing a foreign nation rather than God. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”

  • 8:8 The waters that represent Assyria will come up to Judah’s neck. They will not be drowned, but they will find themselves paying annual tribute. On occasion the Assyrian army will threaten their independent existence. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1054). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 30:28 his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray.
  • Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

9  Be broken, you peoples, and be shattered;
give ear, all you far countries;
strap on your armor and be shattered;
strap on your armor and be shattered.

  • 8:9–10 Assyria will not completely subjugate Judah. After all, God was still with them. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Joe 3:9 Proclaim this among the nations: Consecrate for war; stir up the mighty men. Let all the men of war draw near; let them come up.

10  Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
speak a word, but it will not stand,
for God is with us.

  • Rom 8:31 What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?

Fear God, Wait for the LORD

11 For the LORD spoke thus to me with his strong hand upon me, and warned me not to walk in the way of this people, saying:

  • 8:11 God spoke to Isaiah (me) so he would not conform to the people’s beliefs. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

12 “Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy, and do not fear what they fear, nor be in dread. 13 But the LORD of hosts, him you shall honor as holy. Let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.

  • 8:13 The fear of God overshadows all other fears (Lk 12:5). The reason Isaiah and others must not fear threatening alliances is because God is the only one who should be feared. There is a difference in the quality of the two fears described in these verses. The fear of human beings may be described as terror (v. 12), while the fear of God is described as awe. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

14 And he will become a sanctuary and a stone of offense and a rock of stumbling to both houses of Israel, a trap and a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

  • 8:14–15 The sanctuary image highlights God’s holiness and suggests that he protects his people, but because they have rejected him, the Judeans will experience him as a stumbling stone. Verse 14 is quoted in Rm 9:33 and 1Pt 2:8. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Eze 11:16 Therefore say, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: Though I removed them far off among the nations, and though I scattered them among the countries, yet I have been a sanctuary to them for a while in the countries where they have gone.’
  • Luk 2:34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed

15 And many shall stumble on it. They shall fall and be broken; they shall be snared and taken.”

  • Mat 21:44 And the one who falls on this stone will be broken to pieces; and when it falls on anyone, it will crush him.”</li>

16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples.

  • 8:16 The testimony, also called the instruction, refers to the words of God that have come to Isaiah. These are to be kept safely (bind up … seal up) by Isaiah’s disciples. They will keep the pronouncements of God secure until the events prove them true. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

17 I will wait for the LORD, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob, and I will hope in him.

  • 8:17 Because of their sin, God will withdraw his saving presence (hiding his face) from his people (the house of Jacob). The faithful, represented by Isaiah, will wait for his certain return. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 54:8 In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.
  • Hab 2:3 For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.

18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

  • 8:18 The children who are signs and wonders are Shear-jashub (Isaiah’s son… whose name literally means “a remnant shall return”) (7:3) and Maher-shalal-hash-baz (Isaiah’s son, was born at the critical time in Israel’s history when the Assyrian King Tiglath-Pileser was poised to crush Damascus and Samaria. His hebrew name means, “the booty hastens, the spoil speeds,” and the name symbolized the doom that the prophet Isaiah expected to fall on the northern kingdom) (8:1-3). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Hab 2:13 Behold, is it not from the LORD of hosts that peoples labor merely for fire, and nations weary themselves for nothing?
  • Psa 71:7 I have been as a portent to many, but you are my strong refuge.

19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?

  • 8:19–20 The people wanted Isaiah to engage in necromancy as did the witch of Endor (1Sm 28). Such divination was strictly prohibited in the OT (Dt 18:9–14). They should put their trust in God and seek only his guidance through his word. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 1Sa 28:8 So Saul disguised himself and put on other garments and went, he and two men with him. And they came to the woman by night. And he said, “Divine for me by a spirit and bring up for me whomever I shall name to you.”
  • Isa 29:4 And you will be brought low; from the earth you shall speak, and from the dust your speech will be bowed down; your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost, and from the dust your speech shall whisper.
  • Psa 106:28 Then they yoked themselves to the Baal of Peor, and ate sacrifices offered to the dead;
  • necromancers = a wizard or magician.

20 To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

  • Luk 16:29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’
  • Mic 3:6 Therefore it shall be night to you, without vision, and darkness to you, without divination. The sun shall go down on the prophets, and the day shall be black over them;

21 They will pass through the land, greatly distressed and hungry. And when they are hungry, they will be enraged and will speak contemptuously against their king and their God, and turn their faces upward. 22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.

  • Rev 16:11 and cursed the God of heaven for their pain and sores. They did not repent of their deeds.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 8:1–21). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Chapter 9

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BIRTH OF THE PRINCE OF PEACE

1 Nevertheless, the gloom of the distressed land will not be like that of the former times when he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali. But in the future he will bring honor to the way of the sea, to the land east of the Jordan, and to Galilee of the nations.

  • 9:1 Zebulun and Naphtali were two northern tribes hit hard by the Assyrian invasion led by Tiglath-pileser in 733 BC.
  • Isa 8:22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.
  • Lev 26:24 then I also will walk contrary to you, and I myself will strike you sevenfold for your sins.
  • 2Ki 15:29 In the days of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria came and captured Ijon, Abel-beth-maacah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and he carried the people captive to Assyria.
    • Ijon – a ruin, a city of Naphtali, captured by Ben-hadad of Syria at the instance of Asa ( 1 Kings 15:20 ), and afterwards by Tiglath-pileser of Assyria ( 2 Kings 15:29 ) in the reign of Pekah; now el-Khiam.
    • Abel-beth-maacah – Abel Beth Maacah, Arabic name: Tell Abil el-Qameḥ, is a large archaeological site consisting of a mound with a small upper northern section and a large lower southern one, connected by a saddle. It is located on the northern border of present-day Israel, about 2 km south of the town of Metulla and about 6.5 km west of Tel Dan.
    • Janoah – A town either far north of the previous Janoah or else east of the Jordan. It’s mentioned among the north and north-eastern towns and regions that fell to Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, during the reign of king Pekah of Israel. This invasion resulted in the first deportation of Israelites to Assyria.
    • Kedesh – Kedesh was first documented in the Book of Joshua as a Canaanite citadel conquered by the Israelites under the leadership of Joshua. Ownership of Kedesh was turned over by lot to the tribe of Naphtali and subsequently, at the command of God, Kedesh was set apart by Joshua as a Levitical city and one of the Cities of Refuge along with Shechem and Kiriath Arba (Hebron) (Joshua 20:7). In the 8th century BCE, during the reign of Pekah king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser III of Assyria took Kedesh and deported its inhabitants to Assyria.
    • Hazor – located in Israel, Upper Galilee, north of the Sea of Galilee, in the northern Korazim Plateau.
    • Gilead – was a mountainous region east of the Jordan River, situated in modern-day Jordan. It is also referred to by the Aramaic name Yegar-Sahadutha, which carries the same meaning as the Hebrew Gilead, namely “heap [of stones] of testimony” (Genesis 31:47–48).
    • Galilee – is a region mainly located in northern Israel. The term Galilee traditionally refers to the mountainous part, divided into Upper Galilee and Lower Galilee.
    • Naphtali – Joshua assigned Naphtali the eastern side of the Galilee (on the immediate west of the Sea of Galilee), in the areas now known as the Lower Galilee, and Upper Galilee, bordered on the west by Asher, in the north by Dan, in the south by Zebulun, and by the Jordan River on the east.[5] The most significant city was Hazor.

2 The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
a light has dawned
on those living in the land of darkness.

  • 9:2 The Assyrian invasion brought great devastation (darkness), but the people still had great reason to hope (light has dawned). The verbs in this section are in what is often called the “prophetic perfect.” Though the events were in the future, they are described as if they had already happened. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1055). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Mat 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

3 You have enlarged the nation
and increased its joy.
The people have rejoiced before you
as they rejoice at harvest time
and as they rejoice when dividing spoils.

  • Jdg 5:30 ‘Have they not found and divided the spoil?— A womb or two for every man; spoil of dyed materials for Sisera, spoil of dyed materials embroidered, two pieces of dyed work embroidered for the neck as spoil?’

4 For you have shattered their oppressive yoke
and the rod on their shoulders,
the staff of their oppressor,
just as you did on the day of Midian.

  • 9:4 The type of deliverance the pronouncement pictures seemed impossible. After all, Assyria was a world power and God’s people were weak and crushed. Thus, the pronouncement alludes to the day of Midian. This refers to the events of Jdg 6–7 when Gideon—with just a handful of troops but with the power of God—defeated the oppressive Midianites and expelled them from the land. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1056). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jdg 7:22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.

5 For every trampling boot of battle
and the bloodied garments of war
will be burned as fuel for the fire.

  • 9:5 As Gary Smith explains, “The burning of the boots and the bloody clothes of enemy soldiers … signify a victory in holy war where spoils were dedicated to God and military equipment was set on fire” Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1056). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 66:15 “For behold, the LORD will come in fire, and his chariots like the whirlwind, to render his anger in fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.

6 For a child will be born for us,
a son will be given to us,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
He will be named
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.

  • Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
  • Luk 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
  • Joh 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
  • Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
  • Tit 2:13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
  • Eph 2:14 For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility

7 The dominion will be vast,
and its prosperity will never end.
He will reign on the throne of David
and over his kingdom,
to establish and sustain it
with justice and righteousness from now on and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of Armies will accomplish this.

  • Dan 2:44 And in the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom that shall never be destroyed, nor shall the kingdom be left to another people. It shall break in pieces all these kingdoms and bring them to an end, and it shall stand forever,
  • Isa 37:32 For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this.

THE HAND RAISED AGAINST ISRAEL

8 The Lord sent a message against Jacob;
it came against Israel.

  • 9:8–10 The preeminent sin of God’s people, pride and arrogance, is again pointed out. They believed they did not need God to survive and prosper. They continued in their pride even after experiencing devastation at the hands of Tiglath-pileser. They foolishly claimed they not only could rebuild, they could even improve themselves by their own resources and strength (cut stones replace bricks; cedars replace sycamores). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1056). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Mat 24:5 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away.

9 All the people—
Ephraim and the inhabitants of Samaria—will know it.
They will say with pride and arrogance,

  • Ezekiel 7:9 (ESV) And my eye will not spare, nor will I have pity. I will punish you according to your ways, while your abominations are in your midst. Then you will know that I am the LORD, who strikes.
  • Proverbs 16:18 (ESV) Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.
  • 1 Peter 5:5 (ESV) Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”

10 “The bricks have fallen,
but we will rebuild with cut stones;
the sycamores have been cut down,
but we will replace them with cedars.”

  • The bricks are fallen down – It contains the confession of the inhabitants of Samaria, that their affairs were in a ruinous and dilapidated state; but also their self-confident assurance that they would be able to repair the evils, and restore their nation to more than their former magnificence.Bricks, in oriental countries, were made of clay and straw, and were rarely turned. Hence, exposed to suns and rains, they soon dissolved. Walls and houses constructed of such materials would not be very permanent, and to build with them is strongly contrasted with building in a permanent and elegant manner with hewn stone.The meaning is, that their former state was one of less splendor than they designed that their subsequent state should be. Desolation had come in upon their country, and this they could not deny. But they confidently boasted that they would more than repair the evil.
  • The sycamores – These trees grew abundantly on the low lands of Judea, and were very little esteemed; 1Ki 10:27; 2Ch 1:15; 2Ch 9:27.

11 The LORD has raised up Rezin’s adversaries against him
and stirred up his enemies.

  • 9:11 Rezin was the king of Syria (Aram) whose adversaries were Assyria and its vassals.
  • Jeremiah 35:11 (ESV) But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and the army of the Syrians.’ So we are living in Jerusalem.”
  • 2 Kings 16:9 (ESV) And the king of Assyria listened to him. The king of Assyria marched up against Damascus and took it, carrying its people captive to Kir, and he killed Rezin.
  • Deuteronomy 31:17 (ESV) Then my anger will be kindled against them in that day, and I will forsake them and hide my face from them, and they will be devoured. And many evils and troubles will come upon them, so that they will say in that day, ‘Have not these evils come upon us because our God is not among us?’
  • Jeremiah 4:8 (ESV) For this put on sackcloth, lament and wail, for the fierce anger of the LORD has not turned back from us.”

12 The Syrians on the east and the Philistines on the west devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

  • The Syrians – Isa 7:1. The Syrians had been the allies of the Israelites. But after the death of Rezin, it is probable that they joined the Assyrians, and united with them in the invasion of Samaria. – Aben Ezra; Grotius. “Before.” Hebrew ‘From the east.’ Syria was situated to the east of Samaria, and the meaning is here, that they would pour in upon Samaria from that side.
  • And the Philistines – The Philistines occupied the country southwest of Samaria, lying along on the shores of the Mediterranean. They were full of hostility to the Jewish people; and were many times engaged with them in wars and several times subdued them. The name Palestine is derived from Philistine.
  • And they shall devour – Hebrew, ‘They shall eat.’ This figure is taken from a ravenous beast; and means that they should come up with raging desires, and fierce impetuosity, to destroy the nation.
  • With open mouth– Hebrew, ‘With the whole mouth.’ The metaphor is derived from raging and furious animals. Chaldee, ‘In every place.’

13 The people did not turn to him who struck them;
they did not seek the LORD of Armies.
14 So the LORD cut off Israel’s head and tail,
palm branch and reed in a single day.

  • 9:14 After the first Assyrian incursion into the north (733 BC), Israel continued in its sinful ways. God soon brought a more devastating judgment in 722 BC, ending their independent existence. The expression head and tail, palm branch and reed points to a totality (19:15). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1056). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 9:13 God’s punishment of his people was intended to convince them to return to his ways, but they were so dull of mind and spirit that they did not respond. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1056). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Rev 18:8 For this reason her plagues will come in a single day, death and mourning and famine, and she will be burned up with fire; for mighty is the Lord God who has judged her.”

15 The head is the elder, the honored one;
the tail is the prophet, the one teaching lies.

  • 9:15–16 It was particularly the leaders (including the elder and the prophet) who were responsible for the people going in the wrong direction.
  • Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1056). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

16 The leaders of the people mislead them,
and those they mislead are swallowed up.

  • Isa 3:12 My people—infants are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, your guides mislead you and they have swallowed up the course of your paths.

17 Therefore the Lord does not rejoice
over Israel’s young men
and has no compassion
on its fatherless and widows,
for everyone is a godless evildoer,
and every mouth speaks folly.
In all this, his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is still raised to strike.

  • Psa 147:10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse, nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
  • Isa 5:25 Therefore the anger of the LORD was kindled against his people, and he stretched out his hand against them and struck them, and the mountains quaked; and their corpses were as refuse in the midst of the streets. For all this his anger has not turned away, and his hand is stretched out still.

18 For wickedness burns like a fire
that consumes thorns and briers
and kindles the forest thickets
so that they go up in a column of smoke.

  • 9:18–19 Devastation is seen as the natural consequence of wickedness itself (wickedness burns like a fire) as well as the result of divine anger (the land is scorched by the wrath of the LORD of Armies). Sin breaks up human relationships, even brotherly love. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Mal 4:1“For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.

19 The land is scorched
by the wrath of the LORD of Armies,
and the people are like fuel for the fire.
No one has compassion on his brother.

  • Isa 8:22 And they will look to the earth, but behold, distress and darkness, the gloom of anguish. And they will be thrust into thick darkness.
  • Mic 7-2, 6 The godly has perished from the earth, and there is no one upright among mankind; they all lie in wait for blood, and each hunts the other with a net. 6. for the son treats the father with contempt, the daughter rises up against her mother, the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; a man’s enemies are the men of his own house.

20 They carve meat on the right,
but they are still hungry;
they have eaten on the left,
but they are still not satisfied.
Each one eats the flesh of his arm.

  • 9:20 The greediness of the people led them to consume everyone and everything in their path. Eventually their hunger turned them on themselves. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Lev 26:26 When I break your supply of bread, ten women shall bake your bread in a single oven and shall dole out your bread again by weight, and you shall eat and not be satisfied.

21 Manasseh eats Ephraim,
and Ephraim, Manasseh;
together, both are against Judah.
In all this, his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is still raised to strike.

  • 9:21 Manasseh and Ephraim were two large northern tribes whose founding fathers were brothers, the sons of Joseph (Gn 41:50–52; 48:5). They turned against each other, illustrating lack of compassion toward a brother (Is 9:19). Then together they turned against Judah. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 9:1–21). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 10

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1 Woe to those who decree iniquitous decrees,
and the writers who keep writing oppression,
2  to turn aside the needy from justice
and to rob the poor of my people of their right,
that widows may be their spoil,
and that they may make the fatherless their prey!

  • 10:1–2 God’s law protected the socially vulnerable:
    • the poor (Exo 23:6, 11 “You shall not pervert the justice due to your poor in his lawsuit. 11 but the seventh year you shall let it rest and lie fallow, that the poor of your people may eat; and what they leave the beasts of the field may eat. You shall do likewise with your vineyard, and with your olive orchard.)
    • widows (Exo 22:22 You shall not mistreat any widow or fatherless child.)
    • and the fatherless (Deu 10:18 He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing.).
  • Isaiah condemned man-made laws that corrupted justice. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

3  What will you do on the day of punishment,
in the ruin that will come from afar?
To whom will you flee for help,
and where will you leave your wealth?

  • 10:3 When the day of reckoning comes, where will they turn? Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

4  Nothing remains but to crouch among the prisoners
or fall among the slain.
For all this his anger has not turned away,
and his hand is stretched out still.

  • 10:4 Though punishment has come, God’s people still have not repented. More judgment will follow. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Judgment on Arrogant Assyria

5  Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger;
the staff in their hands is my fury!

  • 10:5 The pronouncement opens with a woe against Assyria. This woe is directed toward the enemy rather than toward God’s people (10:1). Assyria is the tool he will use to bring punishment against Israel and Judah. The reference to a rod brings to mind the extensive teaching in Proverbs about using a rod to drive the folly out of a child (Pr 10:13; 22:15) and how a rod is applied to one’s son to encourage him to travel the right path (Pr 13:24; 23:13–14). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

6  Against a godless nation I send him,
and against the people of my wrath I command him,
to take spoil and seize plunder,
and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.

  • 10:6 The godless nation is ironically not Assyria but Israel. They will become the object of God’s anger. The phrase to take spoils, to plunder is reminiscent of the name Maher-shalal-hash-baz, “Speeding to the Plunder, Hurrying to the Spoil” (8:1). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

7  But he does not so intend,
and his heart does not so think;
but it is in his heart to destroy,
and to cut off nations not a few;

  • 10:7 There was a difference between the divine intention and the intention of Assyria. This difference was no obstacle to God’s use of Assyria for his purposes, but it did bode poorly for the tool of God’s anger. While God’s intention was to promote his own glory by punishing his sinful people, Assyria was interested only in imperialistic expansion. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

8  for he says:
“Are not my commanders all kings?

  • 10:8–11 Isaiah quotes the proud words of the Assyrian king. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Ki 19:10 “Thus shall you speak to Hezekiah king of Judah: ‘Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.

9  Is not Calno like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad?
Is not Samaria like Damascus?

  • 10:9 These three pairs of cities each begin with the southernmost of the two. Thus, Calno (also known as Calneh) was south of Carchemish, Hamath was south of Arpad, and Samaria was south of Damascus. These cities were paired and listed for geographical and not chronological reasons since Carchemish was conquered by the Assyrians in 717 BC, Calno in 738, Hamath in 738 and 720, and Arpad in 740. The claim of the Assyrian king was an imperialistic one, again demonstrating that his intention was different from God’s. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1057). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Amo 6:2 Pass over to Calneh, and see, and from there go to Hamath the great; then go down to Gath of the Philistines. Are you better than these kingdoms? Or is their territory greater than your territory,
  • 2Ch 35:20 After all this, when Josiah had prepared the temple, Neco king of Egypt went up to fight at Carchemish on the Euphrates, and Josiah went out to meet him.

10  As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,
whose carved images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11  shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols
as I have done to Samaria and her images?”

  • 10:10-11. Comparing north and south. Samaria was north, and Jerusalem was south. Both were practicing idoltry.

12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the speech of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the boastful look in his eyes.

  • God will use Assyria, to do God’s will. Assyria “thinks” that they are the winners of the battle, but in the long run, God will punish them.
  • 2Ki 19:31 For out of Jerusalem shall go a remnant, and out of Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the LORD will do this.
  • Jer 50:18 Therefore, thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I am bringing punishment on the king of Babylon and his land, as I punished the king of Assyria.

13 For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,
and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;
I remove the boundaries of peoples,
and plunder their treasures;
like a bull I bring down those who sit on thrones.

  • 10:13–14 The boastful quotation from the Assyrian king reflects the type of bombastic language used in contemporary Assyrian royal inscriptions. The image of the Assyrian king stealing eggs from an abandoned nest emphasizes his cruelty in taking advantage of weaker nations. Indeed, no one can put up a substantial challenge to his growing power. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1058). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 37:24 By your servants you have mocked the Lord, and you have said, With my many chariots I have gone up the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon, to cut down its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses, to come to its remotest height, its most fruitful forest.

14  My hand has found like a nest
the wealth of the peoples;
and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,
so I have gathered all the earth;
and there was none that moved a wing
or opened the mouth or chirped.”

  • Job 31:25 if I have rejoiced because my wealth was abundant or because my hand had found much,

15  Shall the axe boast over him who hews with it,
or the saw magnify itself against him who wields it?
As if a rod should wield him who lifts it,
or as if a staff should lift him who is not wood!

  • 10:15 The Assyrian king’s boasts are illfounded. From his perspective, he was a mighty warrior and a great leader of armies. From a heavenly perspective, he was a mere tool used by God to accomplish his purposes. The use of rhetorical questions directed to the king has the function of scolding and embarrassing him in his pretension. Each question has the implied answer, “Of course not.” Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1058). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 51:20 “You are my hammer and weapon of war: with you I break nations in pieces; with you I destroy kingdoms;

16  Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts
will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,
and under his glory a burning will be kindled,
like the burning of fire.

  • 10:16–19 The conjunction therefore serves as a transition from indictment to judgment. The description of the punishment by disease and fire could be taken literally, metaphorically, or both. The point is clear: glorious and prosperous Assyria will soon be weakened by the judgment of God. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1058). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

17  The light of Israel will become a fire,
and his Holy One a flame,
and it will burn and devour
his thorns and briers in one day.

  • 10:17 The image of God as Light is typically used for positive purposes (Ps 27:1), but like the light of the sun, God both illuminates so people can see clearly and also scorches and kills in judgment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1058). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 27:1 Of David. The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?
  • Isa 9:18 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.

18  The glory of his forest and of his fruitful land
the LORD will destroy, both soul and body,
and it will be as when a sick man wastes away.

  • 2Ki 19:23 By your messengers you have mocked the Lord, and you have said, ‘With my many chariots I have gone up the heights of the mountains, to the far recesses of Lebanon; I felled its tallest cedars, its choicest cypresses; I entered its farthest lodging place, its most fruitful forest.

19  The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few
that a child can write them down.

The Remnant of Israel Will Return

20 In that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on him who struck them, but will lean on the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.

  • The remnant will trust in God, and no one else.
  • 2Ki 16:7 So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglath-pileser king of Assyria, saying, “I am your servant and your son. Come up and rescue me from the hand of the king of Syria and from the hand of the king of Israel, who are attacking me.”

21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22 For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness.

  • 10:21–23 God had promised Abraham that his descendants would be as numerous as the sand of the sea (see Gn 22:17; 32:12; 41:49), but because of their punishment, only a remnant would survive and even that would be an act of God’s grace. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1058). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Rom 9:27 And Isaiah cries out concerning Israel: “Though the number of the sons of Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will be saved,
  • Isa 6:13 And though a tenth remain in it, it will be burned again, like a terebinth or an oak, whose stump remains when it is felled.” The holy seed is its stump.

23 For the Lord GOD of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in the midst of all the earth.

  • Dan 9:27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
  • Rom 9:28 for the Lord will carry out his sentence upon the earth fully and without delay.”

24 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: “O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did.

  • 10:24 The present Assyrian threat is compared to the bondage in Egypt. This comparison evokes memories of God’s deliverance of his people at the Red Sea (Ex 14–15).

    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1058). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 37:6 Isaiah said to them, “Say to your master, ‘Thus says the LORD: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the young men of the king of Assyria have reviled me.

25 For in a very little while my fury will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction.

  • 10:25 God’s wrath against his covenant people is temporary, but his wrath against Assyria will end in their destruction.

    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1058). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Dan 11:36 “And the king shall do as he wills. He shall exalt himself and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak astonishing things against the God of gods. He shall prosper till the indignation is accomplished; for what is decreed shall be done.

26 And the LORD of hosts will wield against them a whip, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb. And his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt.

  • 10:26 Oreb was a Midianite leader who oppressed the Israelites during the period of the judges. He was defeated by the forces of Gideon and executed at a rock that was given his name, the rock of Oreb (Jdg 7:24–25). The reference to God’s staff in Egypt recalls the crossing of the Red Sea. Moses raised his staff, representing God’s presence. God caused the sea to divide, allowing the Israelites to escape the Egyptian army (Ex 14:21–31).

    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1058). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Ki 19:35 And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.
  • Isa 9:4 For the yoke of his burden, and the staff for his shoulder, the rod of his oppressor, you have broken as on the day of Midian.
  • Exo 14:26 Then the LORD said to Moses, “Stretch out your hand over the sea, that the water may come back upon the Egyptians, upon their chariots, and upon their horsemen.”

27 And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.”

    10:27 The yoke is an image of political domination frequently used by the prophets

    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1059). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    • Eze 30:18 At Tehaphnehes the day shall be dark, when I break there the yoke bars of Egypt, and her proud might shall come to an end in her; she shall be covered by a cloud, and her daughters shall go into captivity.
  • Psa 105:15 saying, “Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm!”
  • 1Jo 2:20 But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge.

28  He has come to Aiath;
he has passed through Migron;
at Michmash he stores his baggage;

  • 10:28–32 The pronouncement in these verses describes the march of the Assyrian army from the north to the very doorstep of Jerusalem. The best understanding of these verses is as a visionary image of an attack, not a description of an actual attack. The route described is the most direct route “as the crow flies,” indicating that not even natural obstacles could slow down the army’s advance.Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1059). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 10:28 Aiath is likely identified with Ai (Jos 8), which was about thirty miles north of Jerusalem. But the Hebrew term Ai means “ruin” and Aiath is plural, “ruins,” so the name could be given to a number of different sites. Migron refers to the Wadi Swenit, a dry riverbed between Michmash and Geba.

29  they have crossed over the pass;
at Geba they lodge for the night;
Ramah trembles;
Gibeah of Saul has fled.

  • 10:29 Ramah and Gibeah were on the major central hill route north of Jerusalem.
  • 1Sa 13:23 And the garrison of the Philistines went out to the pass of Michmash.
  • 1Sa 11:4 When the messengers came to Gibeah of Saul, they reported the matter in the ears of the people, and all the people wept aloud.

30  Cry aloud, O daughter of Gallim!
Give attention, O Laishah!
O poor Anathoth!

  • 10:30 Gallim … Laishah, and Anathoth (known as the hometown of the prophet Jeremiah; Jr 1:1) were small towns just north of Jerusalem. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1059). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 1Sa 25:44 Saul had given Michal his daughter, David’s wife, to Palti the son of Laish, who was of Gallim.
  • Jud 18:7 Then the five men departed and came to Laish and saw the people who were there, how they lived in security, after the manner of the Sidonians, quiet and unsuspecting, lacking nothing that is in the earth and possessing wealth, and how they were far from the Sidonians and had no dealings with anyone.

31  Madmenah is in flight;
the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.

  • Josh 15:31 Ziklag, Madmannah, Sansannah,

32  This very day he will halt at Nob;
he will shake his fist
at the mount of the daughter of Zion,
the hill of Jerusalem.

  • 10:32 Nob is typically associated with modern Mount Scopus, just northeast of Jerusalem. As a person stands on Nob, he has a commanding view of the city of Jerusalem. Nob was where David received sustenance and the sword of Goliath as he began his flight from Saul. King Saul repaid the priests at Nob by slaughtering them (1Sm 21:1–9; 22:11–23). Nob is also mentioned in Neh 11:32 as near Anathoth. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1059). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 1Sa21:1 After the death of Moses the servant of the LORD, the LORD said to Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ assistant,
  • Neh 11:32 Anathoth, Nob, Ananiah,
  • Isa 13:2 On a bare hill raise a signal; cry aloud to them; wave the hand for them to enter the gates of the nobles.
  • Isa 37:22 this is the word that the LORD has spoken concerning him: “‘She despises you, she scorns you— the virgin daughter of Zion; she wags her head behind you— the daughter of Jerusalem.

33  Behold, the Lord GOD of hosts
will lop the boughs with terrifying power;
the great in height will be hewn down,
and the lofty will be brought low.

  • 10:33–34 The pronouncement ends with a sudden reversal. Assyria marched on Jerusalem, but the army met with destruction. They will become trees (a cedar from Lebanon is implied by the final line) that will be felled by none other than God himself. The Assyrians had been the ax in God’s hand against his people (v. 15), but God will wield an ax against them. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1059). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Amo 2:9 “Yet it was I who destroyed the Amorite before them, whose height was like the height of the cedars and who was as strong as the oaks; I destroyed his fruit above and his roots beneath.

34  He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an axe,
and Lebanon will fall by the Majestic One.

The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (Is 10:1–34). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.

Chapter 11

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1 Then a shoot will grow from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots will bear fruit.

  • Zec 6:12 And say to him, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts, “Behold, the man whose name is the Branch: for he shall branch out from his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD.
  • Rev 5:5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
  • Act 13:23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.
  • Isa 4:2 In that day the branch of the LORD shall be beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the land shall be the pride and honor of the survivors of Israel.

2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him—
a Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
a Spirit of counsel and strength,
a Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD.

  • Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
  • Joh 1:32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him.

3 His delight will be in the fear of the LORD.
He will not judge
by what he sees with his eyes,
he will not execute justice
by what he hears with his ears,

  • 11:3 The fear of the LORD is the basic characteristic of a wise, godly person (Pr 1:7). The fear described here is not terror but awe. This wise, Spirit-filled person will not judge according to external appearances, but he will cut to the heart of the truth. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1059). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

4 but he will judge the poor righteously
and execute justice for the oppressed of the land.
He will strike the land
with a scepter from his mouth,
and he will kill the wicked
with a command from his lips.

  • Rev 19:11 Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse! The one sitting on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he judges and makes war.
  • Job 4:9 By the breath of God they perish, and by the blast of his anger they are consumed.
  • Mat 4:6 and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, “‘He will command his angels concerning you,’ and “‘On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone.'”
  • 2Th 2:8And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will kill with the breath of his mouth and bring to nothing by the appearance of his coming.

5 Righteousness will be a belt around his hips;
faithfulness will be a belt around his waist.
6 The wolf will dwell with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the goat.
The calf, the young lion, and the fattened calf will be together,
and a child will lead them.

  • 11:6–9 The future rule is described in Edenic terms where there is no animosity among God’s creatures. The knowledge of the LORD will permeate this future ideal world ushered in by the shoot of the stump of Jesse. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1060). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Hos 2:18 And I will make for them a covenant on that day with the beasts of the field, the birds of the heavens, and the creeping things of the ground. And I will abolish the bow, the sword, and war from the land, and I will make you lie down in safety.

7 The cow and the bear will graze,
their young ones will lie down together,
and the lion will eat straw like cattle.
8 An infant will play beside the cobra’s pit,
and a toddler will put his hand into a snake’s den.
9 They will not harm or destroy each other
on my entire holy mountain,
for the land will be as full
of the knowledge of the LORD
as the sea is filled with water.

  • Job 5:23 For you shall be in league with the stones of the field, and the beasts of the field shall be at peace with you.
  • Hab 2:14 For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.

ISRAEL REGATHERED

10 On that day the root of Jesse
will stand as a banner for the peoples.
The nations will look to him for guidance,
and his resting place will be glorious.

  • Rom 15:10, 12 Rom 15:10 And again it is said, “Rejoice, O Gentiles, with his people.” 12 And again Isaiah says, “The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.”

11 On that day the Lord will extend his hand a second time to recover the remnant of his people who survive—from Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Cush, Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the coasts and islands of the west.

  • Oz: Commentaries state that the list of countries here are just representing “from all directions”. Not necessarily the exact countries.
  • Zec 10:10 I will bring them home from the land of Egypt, and gather them from Assyria, and I will bring them to the land of Gilead and to Lebanon, till there is no room for them.

12 He will lift up a banner for the nations
and gather the dispersed of Israel;
he will collect the scattered of Judah
from the four corners of the earth.

  • Joh 7:35 The Jews said to one another, “Where does this man intend to go that we will not find him? Does he intend to go to the Dispersion among the Greeks and teach the Greeks?

13 Ephraim’s envy will cease;
Judah’s harassing will end.
Ephraim will no longer be envious of Judah,
and Judah will not harass Ephraim.

  • Oz: Ephraim = the northern kingdom of Israel, also known as Samaria.
  • Jer 3:18 In those days the house of Judah shall join the house of Israel, and together they shall come from the land of the north to the land that I gave your fathers for a heritage.
  • Eze 37:16, 17, 22 “Son of man, take a stick and write on it, ‘For Judah, and the people of Israel associated with him’; then take another stick and write on it, ‘For Joseph (the stick of Ephraim) and all the house of Israel associated with him.’ 17 And join them one to another into one stick, that they may become one in your hand. 22 And I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. And one king shall be king over them all, and they shall be no longer two nations, and no longer divided into two kingdoms.

14 But they will swoop down
on the Philistine flank to the west.
Together they will plunder the people of the east.
They will extend their power over Edom and Moab,
and the Ammonites will be their subjects.

  • Oz: all these little countries will be absorbed into Israel. These small countries have been known to cause problems for Israel in the past.
  • Dan 11:41 He shall come into the glorious land. And tens of thousands shall fall, but these shall be delivered out of his hand: Edom and Moab and the main part of the Ammonites.

15 The LORD will divide, the Gulf of Suez.
He will wave his hand over the Euphrates
with his mighty wind
and will split it into seven streams,
letting people walk through on foot.

  • 11:15–16 Exodus imagery is used to describe the return of the remnant from Assyria. God will split the Euphrates River like he did the Red Sea, but in this case he won’t split it into two parts but seven. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1060). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Zec 10:11 He shall pass through the sea of troubles and strike down the waves of the sea, and all the depths of the Nile shall be dried up. The pride of Assyria shall be laid low, and the scepter of Egypt shall depart.
  • Rev 16:12 The sixth angel poured out his bowl on the great river Euphrates, and its water was dried up, to prepare the way for the kings from the east.

16 There will be a highway for the remnant of his people
who will survive from Assyria,
as there was for Israel
when they came up from the land of Egypt.

  • Isa 19:21 And the LORD will make himself known to the Egyptians, and the Egyptians will know the LORD in that day and worship with sacrifice and offering, and they will make vows to the LORD and perform them.
  • Exo 14:29 But the people of Israel walked on dry ground through the sea, the waters being a wall to them on their right hand and on their left.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 11:1–16). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


Chapter 12

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c. 734 B.C.
A SONG OF PRAISE

1 On that day you will say:
“I will give thanks to you, LORD,
although you were angry with me.
Your anger has turned away,
and you have comforted me.

  • on that day = a future day; a day of salvation!
  • LORD = yah; yahweh. Hebrew.
  • Isa 2:11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
  • Psa 83:18 that they may know that you alone, whose name is the LORD, are the Most High over all the earth.
  • Exo 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
  • Psa 118:14 The LORD is my strength and my song; he has become my salvation.

2 Indeed, God is my salvation;
I will trust him and not be afraid,
for the LORD, the LORD himself,
is my strength and my song.
He has become my salvation.”
3 You will joyfully draw water
from the springs of salvation,

  • draw water = water in a dry land like Israel represents salvation.
  • Joh 4:10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, ‘Give me a drink,’ you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water.”

4 and on that day you will say,
“Give thanks to the LORD; proclaim his name!
Make his works known among the peoples.
Declare that his name is exalted.

  • 1Ch 16:8 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
  • Psa 105:1 Oh give thanks to the LORD; call upon his name; make known his deeds among the peoples!
  • Psa 145:4-6 One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts. 5 On the glorious splendor of your majesty, and on your wondrous works, I will meditate. 6 They shall speak of the might of your awesome deeds, and I will declare your greatness.
  • Psa 34:3 Oh, magnify the LORD with me, and let us exalt his name together!

5 Sing to the LORD, for he has done glorious things.
Let this be known throughout the earth.

  • Exo 15:1 Then Moses and the people of Israel sang this song to the LORD, saying, “I will sing to the LORD, for he has triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider he has thrown into the sea.
  • Psa 98:1 A Psalm. Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.

6 Cry out and sing, citizen of Zion,
for the Holy One of Israel is among you
in his greatness.”

  • Zep 3:14 Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!
  • Psa 89:18 For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 12:1–6). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 13

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c. 734 B.C.

A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST BABYLON

1 A pronouncement concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:

  • The pronouncement of Babylon – The prophecy that foretells its destruction by the Medes and Persians
  • Bible Dictionary Commentary: Against Babylon: Isaiah finished his prophetic career in 685 B.C., almost 100 years before Judah finally fell before the Babylonian Empire (586 B.C.). At the time of this prophecy, Babylon was a significant nation, but they were definitely behind the Assyrian Empire in status. Yet the LORD who knows the end of all things can speak of the judgment on the pride of Babylon hundreds of years before the judgment comes.
  • See Jeremiah, Chapter 50 and 51.
  • Oz: Chaldeans were eventually absorbed and assimilated into Babylonia.

2 Lift up a banner on a barren mountain.
Call out to them.
Signal with your hand, and they will go
through the gates of the nobles.

  • Isa 18:3 All you inhabitants of the world, you who dwell on the earth, when a signal is raised on the mountains, look! When a trumpet is blown, hear!
  • Jer 51:25 “Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, declares the LORD, which destroys the whole earth; I will stretch out my hand against you, and roll you down from the crags, and make you a burnt mountain.
  • Isa 10:32 This very day he will halt at Nob; he will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.

3 I have commanded my consecrated ones;
yes, I have called my warriors,
who celebrate my triumph,
to execute my wrath.

  • Joe 3:11 Hasten and come, all you surrounding nations, and gather yourselves there. Bring down your warriors, O LORD.
  • Psa 149:2 Let Israel be glad in his Maker; let the children of Zion rejoice in their King!

4 Listen, a commotion on the mountains,
like that of a mighty people!
Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,
like nations being gathered together!
The LORD of Armies is mobilizing an army for war.

  • 13:4 The LORD of Armies is God’s name that signifies his activity in warfare. The commotion on the mountains emanates from God’s army that gathers there. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1061). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

5 They are coming from a distant land,
from the farthest horizon—
the LORD and the weapons of his wrath—
to destroy the whole country.

  • 13:5 The distant land is not specified, but it may be a reference to the Medes (v. 17) whom God will use (as part of the Persian Empire) to defeat Babylon (the whole country). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1061). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

6 Wail! For the day of the LORD is near.

  • Zep 1:7 Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests.
  • Rev 6:17 for the great day of their wrath has come, and who can stand?”
  • Job 31:23 For I was in terror of calamity from God, and I could not have faced his majesty.
  • Joe 1:15 Alas for the day! For the day of the LORD is near, and as destruction from the Almighty it comes.

It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore everyone’s hands will become weak,
and every man will lose heart.

  • 13:7 Weak hands and a melted heart refer to physical and psychological reactions to fear. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1061). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

8 They will be horrified;
pain and agony will seize them;
they will be in anguish like a woman in labor.
They will look at each other,
their faces flushed with fear.



  • 13:8 Isaiah used the theme of a woman in labor, one that appears often in prophetic literature (21:3; Jr 4:31; 6:24; 22:23; 30:6; Mc 4:9). It is a graphic image of the pain and distress that will result from God’s warring activity. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1061). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Psa 48:6 Trembling took hold of them there, anguish as of a woman in labor.

9 Look, the day of the LORD is coming—
cruel, with fury and burning anger—
to make the earth a desolation
and to destroy its sinners.

  • Mal 4:1 “For behold, the day is coming, burning like an oven, when all the arrogant and all evildoers will be stubble. The day that is coming shall set them ablaze, says the LORD of hosts, so that it will leave them neither root nor branch.
  • Psa 104:35 Let sinners be consumed from the earth, and let the wicked be no more! Bless the LORD, O my soul! Praise the LORD!
  • Pro 2:22 but the wicked will be cut off from the land, and the treacherous will be rooted out of it.

10 Indeed, the stars of the sky and its constellations
will not give their light.
The sun will be dark when it rises,
and the moon will not shine.

  • 13:10 The incursion of God as warrior causes nature to go into convulsions. On the day of God’s judgment, the sun … moon, and stars, which God created to provide the world with light (Gn 1:14–19), will go out, plunging the world into darkness (Ezk 32:7; Jl 2:2; 3:1, 15; Am 5:18; Mc 3:6; Mt 24:29; Lk 21:25; Rv 8:12). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (pp. 1061–1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Eze 32:7 When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light.
  • Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
  • Mat 24:29 Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
  • Mar 13:24 “But in those days, after that tribulation, the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light,

11 I will punish the world for its evil,
and wicked people for their iniquities.
I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant
and humiliate the insolence of tyrants.

  • 13:11 The object of God’s wrath is pride that leads people to trust in themselves rather than in him. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 2:17 And the haughtiness of man shall be humbled, and the lofty pride of men shall be brought low, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.

12 I will make a human more scarce than fine gold,
and mankind more rare than the gold of Ophir.

  • 13:12 God’s warring judgment will reduce the population of the earth dramatically.

13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
and the earth will shake from its foundations
at the wrath of the LORD of Armies,
on the day of his burning anger.

  • 13:13 When the divine warrior appears, not only will the heavenly bodies convulse (v. 10); so will the earth. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Hag 2:6 For thus says the LORD of hosts: Yet once more, in a little while, I will shake the heavens and the earth and the sea and the dry land.
  • Psa 110:5 The Lord is at your right hand; he will shatter kings on the day of his wrath.
  • Lam 1:12 “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Look and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow, which was brought upon me, which the LORD inflicted on the day of his fierce anger.

14 Like wandering gazelles
and like sheep without a shepherd,
each one will turn to his own people,
each one will flee to his own land.

  • 13:14–15 The destroyed city had residents from many different lands. Once destroyed, the people will be leaderless and will quickly run (like wandering gazelles) back to their homeland. However, they may not make it back. The road will be lined with dangers, including robbers and perhaps even an enemy army. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 50:16 Cut off from Babylon the sower, and the one who handles the sickle in time of harvest; because of the sword of the oppressor, every one shall turn to his own people, and every one shall flee to his own land.

15 Whoever is found will be stabbed,
and whoever is caught will die by the sword.
16 Their children will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
their houses will be looted,
and their wives raped.

  • Psa 137:9 Blessed shall he be who takes your little ones and dashes them against the rock!
  • Nah 3:10 Yet she became an exile; she went into captivity; her infants were dashed in pieces at the head of every street; for her honored men lots were cast, and all her great men were bound in chains.
  • Zec 14:2 For I will gather all the nations against Jerusalem to battle, and the city shall be taken and the houses plundered and the women raped. Half of the city shall go out into exile, but the rest of the people shall not be cut off from the city.

17 Look! I am stirring up the Medes against them,
who cannot be bought off with silver
and who have no desire for gold.

  • 13:17 At last, the attacking army is described as the implacable Medes, a people known as early as the ninth century BC. They came from the Zagros Mountains east of the Mesopotamian plain. These warlike people are known in history as Babylon’s allies when they defeated Assyria. However, in the sixth century BC they were engulfed by Persia. The combined armies of the Medes and Persians defeated Babylon in 539 BC. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 51:11 “Sharpen the arrows! Take up the shields! The LORD has stirred up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, because his purpose concerning Babylon is to destroy it, for that is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance for his temple.
  • Dan 5:28 PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.”

18 Their bows will cut young men to pieces.
They will have no compassion on offspring;
they will not look with pity on children.

19 And Babylon, the jewel of the kingdoms,
the glory of the pride of the Chaldeans,
will be like Sodom and Gomorrah
when God overthrew them.

  • 13:19 For the first time Babylon is named as the object of God’s warring activity. They are described as the jewel of the kingdoms in anticipation of the position they will assume after their defeat of Assyria at the end of the seventh century BC. The Chaldeans were the leading tribe that produced the leaders (Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar) who led the Babylonian resurgence. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is described in Gn 19. This account in Isaiah implies a horrible end. It associates Babylon with the perverse sin that led to the destruction of those cities. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 14:4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon: “How the oppressor has ceased, the insolent fury ceased!
  • Gen 19:24 Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven.
  • Deu 29:23 the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath—
  • Jer 50:40 As when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and their neighboring cities, declares the LORD, so no man shall dwell there, and no son of man shall sojourn in her.

20 It will never be inhabited
or lived in from generation to generation;
a nomad will not pitch his tent there,
and shepherds will not let their flocks rest there.

  • 13:20 In 689 BC the Assyrian king Sennacherib “defeated Babylon, tore down its walls, flooded the area, depopulated the city, and made the city into a meadow” (Gary Smith, NAC). The Medes may also have been involved. The Medes and Persians destroyed Babylon again in 539 BC. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 50:3 “For out of the north a nation has come up against her, which shall make her land a desolation, and none shall dwell in it; both man and beast shall flee away.

21 But desert creatures will lie down there,
and owls will fill the houses.
Ostriches will dwell there,
and wild goats will leap about.

  • 13:21–22 These verses describe animals that lived in ruins and desolate places. Ostriches and owls were considered unclean (Lv 11:15–16). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 34:11 But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it, the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. He shall stretch the line of confusion over it, and the plumb line of emptiness.

22 Hyenas will howl in the fortresses,
and jackals, in the luxurious palaces.
Babylon’s time is almost up;
her days are almost over.

  • Jer 51:33 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.”=t7

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 13:1–22). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 14

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c. 734 B.C.

ISRAEL’S RETURN

1 For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will choose Israel again. He will settle them on their own land. The resident alien will join them and be united with the house of Jacob.

  • Psa 102:13 You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come.
  • Zec 1:17 Cry out again, Thus says the LORD of hosts: My cities shall again overflow with prosperity, and the LORD will again comfort Zion and again choose Jerusalem.'”

2 The nations will escort Israel and bring it to its homeland. Then the house of Israel will possess them as male and female slaves in the LORD’s land. They will make captives of their captors and will rule over their oppressors.

  • 14:2 The nations had escorted God’s people out of the promised land when they were exiled, so in the future they will escort them back. Power relations will be reversed. Israel had been the slave of the nations; now the nations will serve God’s people.
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1062). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 49:22 Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their arms, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.
  • Isa 60:4, 5, 10 Lift up your eyes all around, and see; they all gather together, they come to you; your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be carried on the hip. 5 Then you shall see and be radiant; your heart shall thrill and exult, because the abundance of the sea shall be turned to you, the wealth of the nations shall come to you. 10 Foreigners shall build up your walls, and their kings shall minister to you; for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favor I have had mercy on you.

DOWNFALL OF THE KING OF BABYLON

3 When the LORD gives you rest from your pain, torment, and the hard labor you were forced to do,

4 you will sing this song of contempt about the king of Babylon and say:

  • Isa 13:19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.
  • Hab 2:6 Shall not all these take up their taunt against him, with scoffing and riddles for him, and say, “Woe to him who heaps up what is not his own— for how long?— and loads himself with pledges!”
  • Rev 18:16 “Alas, alas, for the great city that was clothed in fine linen, in purple and scarlet, adorned with gold, with jewels, and with pearls!

How the oppressor has quieted down,
and how the raging has become quiet!
5 The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked,
the scepter of the rulers.

  • 14:5 The staff and the scepter were held by the king, and they represented his power. The staff may be a shepherd’s staff, and it could refer to the king’s responsibility to shepherd the people. The scepter was an ornamented mace used as a weapon, representing the king’s fearsome power. The fact that God has broken them indicates his superior power. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1063). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Psa 125:3 For the scepter of wickedness shall not rest on the land allotted to the righteous, lest the righteous stretch out their hands to do wrong.

6 It struck the peoples in anger
with unceasing blows.
It subdued the nations in rage
with relentless persecution.

  • 14:6–7 The downfall of Babylon will result in peace and jubilation. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1063). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

7 The whole earth is calm and at rest;
people shout with a ringing cry.
8 Even the cypresses and the cedars of Lebanon
rejoice over you:
“Since you have been laid low,
no lumberjack has come against us.”

  • Isa 55:12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.
  • Eze 31:16 I made the nations quake at the sound of its fall, when I cast it down to Sheol with those who go down to the pit. And all the trees of Eden, the choice and best of Lebanon, all that drink water, were comforted in the world below.

Sheol below is eager to greet your coming,
stirring up the spirits of the departed for you—
all the rulers of the earth—
making all the kings of the nations
rise from their thrones.

  • 14:9 Sheol refers to the grave and in some contexts signifies the underworld. In this verse Sheol is personified and pictured as warmly greeting its new citizen, the Babylonian king. Indeed, Sheol will rouse all the spirits of the departed kings to greet the Babylonian king when he arrives in the realm of the dead. Some believe this reference to the activities of the dead is just a poetic device, but it is better understood as evidence that the Israelites at the time of Isaiah had an awareness of the afterlife. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1063). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Eze 32:21 The mighty chiefs shall speak of them, with their helpers, out of the midst of Sheol: ‘They have come down, they lie still, the uncircumcised, slain by the sword.’

10 They all respond to you, saying,
“You too have become as weak as we are;
you have become like us!
11 Your splendor has been brought down to Sheol,
along with the music of your harps.
Maggots are spread out under you,
and worms cover you.”

12 Shining morning star,,a
how you have fallen from the heavens!
You destroyer of nations,
you have been cut down to the ground.

  • 14:12–15 Commentators have often connected this passage to Lk 10:18 and Rv 12:8–9, but the context seems clear that the one fallen from the heavens is not Satan (even though the KJV translated shining morning star as “Lucifer”) but is instead the Babylonian king. If there is a double application the Bible never indicates as much. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1063). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • The language is so framed as to apply to the Babylonian king primarily, and at the same time to shadow forth through him, the great final enemy, the man of sin, Antichrist, of Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John; he alone shall fulfil exhaustively all the lineaments here given. Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 446). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.
  • Isa 34:4 All the host of heaven shall rot away, and the skies roll up like a scroll. All their host shall fall, as leaves fall from the vine, like leaves falling from the fig tree.

13 You said to yourself,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will set up my throne
above the stars of God.
I will sit on the mount of the gods’ assembly,
in the remotest parts of the North.

  • 14:13 The attempt of a human, no matter how powerful, to take the place of God is the ultimate expression of arrogance. In Canaanite mythology, which is exploited here to make a point about human pride, the mountain of Baal, the chief god, was in the remotest parts of the North. Indeed, his mountain was named Mount North (Hb Zaphon). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1063). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Mat 11:23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.
  • Dan 8:10 It grew great, even to the host of heaven. And some of the host and some of the stars it threw down to the ground and trampled on them.
  • Psa 48:2 beautiful in elevation, is the joy of all the earth, Mount Zion, in the far north, the city of the great King.

14 I will ascend above the highest clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”

  • Isa 47:8 Now therefore hear this, you lover of pleasures, who sit securely, who say in your heart, “I am, and there is no one besides me; I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children”:
  • 2Th 2:4 who opposes and exalts himself against every so-called god or object of worship, so that he takes his seat in the temple of God, proclaiming himself to be God.

15 But you will be brought down to Sheol
into the deepest regions of the Pit.

  • Mat 11:23 And you, Capernaum, will you be exalted to heaven? You will be brought down to Hades. For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

16 Those who see you will stare at you;
they will look closely at you:
“Is this the man who caused the earth to tremble,
who shook the kingdoms,
17 who turned the world into a wilderness,
who destroyed its cities
and would not release the prisoners to return home?”
18 All the kings of the nations
lie in splendor, each in his own tomb.

  • 14:18–20 There is even a contrast with other kings, who were buried in fine tombs. This king will not even be given a decent burial but will lie dead on the battlefield, surrounded and even covered by other dead bodies. Again, the idea is that a person who was powerful in life will be reduced to a humiliating circumstance in death. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1063). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

19 But you are thrown out without a grave,
like a worthless branch,
covered by those slain with the sword
and dumped into a rocky pit like a trampled corpse.
20 You will not join them in burial,
because you destroyed your land
and slaughtered your own people.
The offspring of evildoers
will never be mentioned again.

  • Job 18:19 He has no posterity or progeny among his people, and no survivor where he used to live.
  • Psa 21:10 You will destroy their descendants from the earth, and their offspring from among the children of man.
  • Psa 109:13 May his posterity be cut off; may his name be blotted out in the second generation!

21 Prepare a place of slaughter for his sons,
because of the iniquity of their ancestors.
They will never rise up to possess a land
or fill the surface of the earth with cities.

  • 14:21 It was an expectation of a powerful king that, when he died, his son would become the next king and would continue his imperialistic pretensions, but because of the depredations of the fathers, the sons would meet an untimely death. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1064). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Exo 20:5 You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me,
  • Mat 23:35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

22 “I will rise up against them” — this is the declaration of the LORD of Armies — “and I will cut off from Babylon her reputation, remnant, offspring, and posterity” — this is the LORD’s declaration.

  • 14:22–23 God will bring this judgment. Babylon, particularly its most southern part, was a swampland. God would reduce the entire nation to this in the anger of his judgment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1064). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Pro 10:7 The memory of the righteous is a blessing, but the name of the wicked will rot.
  • Jer 51:62 and say, ‘O LORD, you have said concerning this place that you will cut it off, so that nothing shall dwell in it, neither man nor beast, and it shall be desolate forever.’
  • 1Ki 14:10 therefore behold, I will bring harm upon the house of Jeroboam and will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both bond and free in Israel, and will burn up the house of Jeroboam, as a man burns up dung until it is all gone.
  • Job 18:19 He has no posterity or progeny among his people, and no survivor where he used to live.

23 “I will make her a swampland and a region for herons, and I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction.”

This is the declaration of the LORD of Armies.

  • Isa 34:11 But the hawk and the porcupine shall possess it, the owl and the raven shall dwell in it. He shall stretch the line of confusion over it, and the plumb line of emptiness.
  • Zep 2:14 Herds shall lie down in her midst, all kinds of beasts; even the owl and the hedgehog shall lodge in her capitals; a voice shall hoot in the window; devastation will be on the threshold; for her cedar work will be laid bare.

ASSYRIA WILL BE DESTROYED

(Oz note: Mesopotamia is sometimes used for Assyria)

24 The LORD of Armies has sworn:

As I have purposed, so it will be;
as I have planned it, so it will happen.

  • 14:24 On a human level Assyria seemed invincible, but God assured his people of his determination to judge the Assyrian people.
  • 14:24–27 The pronouncement shifts focus to the northern center of Mesopotamian power, Assyria. Assyria was the nation that under Tiglath-pileser III reduced the size of the northern kingdom of Israel in the 730s BC and then in 722 BC, under Shalmaneser, deported its citizens. But God will bring even this strong kingdom to an end. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1064). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

25 I will break Assyria in my land;
I will tread him down on my mountain.
Then his yoke will be taken from them,
and his burden will be removed from their shoulders.

  • 14:25 The yoke was a common metaphor for political servitude (10:27; 47:6; 58:6; Jr 27:11; 30:8; Ezk 30:18). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1064). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 10:27 And in that day his burden will depart from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck; and the yoke will be broken because of the fat.”

26 This is the plan prepared
for the whole earth,
and this is the hand stretched out
against all the nations.
27 The LORD of Armies himself has planned it;
therefore, who can stand in its way?
It is his hand that is outstretched,
so who can turn it back?

  • 2Ch 20:6 and said, “O LORD, God of our fathers, are you not God in heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. In your hand are power and might, so that none is able to withstand you.
  • Job 9:12 Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’
  • Job 23:13 But he is unchangeable, and who can turn him back? What he desires, that he does.
  • Psa 33:11 The counsel of the LORD stands forever, the plans of his heart to all generations.
  • Pro 19:21 Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the LORD that will stand.
  • Pro 21:30 No wisdom, no understanding, no counsel can avail against the LORD.
  • Isa 43:13 Also henceforth I am he; there is none who can deliver from my hand; I work, and who can turn it back?”
  • Dan 4:31, 35 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, there fell a voice from heaven, “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: The kingdom has departed from you, 35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”

A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST PHILISTIA

28 In the year that King Ahaz died, this pronouncement came:

  • 14:28–32 The pronouncement against Philistia is the first in a series of pronouncements against nations that were immediate neighbors of Israel. Indeed, Philistia occupied part of the promised land in a region west of Jerusalem and on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea. The book of Genesis records interaction between the patriarchs and the Philistines (Gn 10:14; 21:32, 34), but it was not until the period of the united monarchy that we hear of a sizeable presence of Philistines in the region. Both Saul and David waged war against them. A remnant of Philistines lasted until the sixth century (Jr 47). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1064). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Ki 16:20 And Ahaz slept with his fathers and was buried with his fathers in the city of David, and Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

29 Don’t rejoice, all of you in Philistia,
because the rod of the one who struck you is broken.
For a viper will come from the root of a snake,
and from its egg comes a flying serpent.

    Oz note: a warning to the Philistia nation, to not rejoice because Assyria is currently broken and defeated and weak. Assyria will rebound, they will once again experience a resurgence.

  • 2Ch 26:6 He went out and made war against the Philistines and broke through the wall of Gath and the wall of Jabneh and the wall of Ashdod, and he built cities in the territory of Ashdod and elsewhere among the Philistines.
  • 2Ki 18:8 He struck down the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory, from watchtower to fortified city.

30 Then the firstborn of the poor will be well fed,
and the impoverished will lie down in safety,
but I will kill your root with hunger,
and your remnant will be slain.

  • 14:30 Because of Philistia’s oppression of Judah, the poor [in Juda] had grown poorer, but with its destruction, there will be a reversal of their [Judah’s] fortunes. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1064). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

31 Wail, you gates! Cry out, city!
Tremble with fear, all Philistia!
For a cloud of dust is coming from the north,
and there is no one missing from the invader’s ranks.

  • 14:31 The cloud of dust coming from the north will be none other than the Assyrian army that will destroy Philistia. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1064). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

32 What answer will be given to the messengers from that nation?
The LORD has founded Zion,
and his oppressed people find refuge in her.

  • 14:32 This verse envisions Philistine envoys trying to convince Judah to join them in resisting the Assyrian army. But Judah’s trust should be in Zion, or God, not foreign alliances. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1064). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Psa 87:1, 5 A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. A Song. On the holy mount stands the city he founded; 5 And of Zion it shall be said, “This one and that one were born in her”; for the Most High himself will establish her.
  • Zec 11:11 So it was annulled on that day, and the sheep traders, who were watching me, knew that it was the word of the LORD.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 14:1–32). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 15

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A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST MOAB

  • Oz comments: Moab was a nation to the East of Judah. Often in conflict with their Israelite neighbors.
  • 15:1–16:14 The pronouncement against Moab is the second in a series of pronouncements against nations that were immediate neighbors of Israel. Moab was located in Transjordan opposite Jericho and on the east bank of the Dead Sea. The Bible and other sources (the Moabite Stone, for example) record a long history of conflict between Israel and Moab, whose origins go back to the incestuous union between Lot and his daughter (Gn 19:30–38). See Jr 48 for a similar pronouncement against Moab (also Ezk 25:8–11; Am 2:1–3). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1065). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

1 A pronouncement concerning Moab:

Ar in Moab is devastated,
destroyed in a night.
Kir in Moab is devastated,
destroyed in a night.

  • Oz: Ar was in the middle of Moab; Kir was south of Ar.

2 Dibon went up to its temple
to weep at its high places.
Moab wails on Nebo and at Medeba.
Every head is shaved;
every beard is chopped short.

  • 15:2 Nebo and Medeba were two northern Moabite sites east of the northern tip of the Dead Sea. Nebo was further known as the mountain that Moses ascended to catch sight of the promised land before he died (Dt 34:1). Dibon was further south about midway down the coast of the Dead Sea and some twenty miles inland. Its temple was dedicated to Chemosh, the main god of the Moabites. Shaving hair from the head and beard was an ancient mourning rite. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1065). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

3 In its streets they wear sackcloth;
on its rooftops and in its public squares everyone wails,
falling down and weeping.
4 Heshbon and Elealeh cry out;
their voices are heard as far away as Jahaz.
Therefore the soldiers of Moab cry out,
and they tremble.

  • 15:4 Heshbon and Elealeh were northeastern cities in Moab. Jahaz was further south parallel to Dibon.

5 My heart cries out over Moab,
whose fugitives flee as far as Zoar,
to Eglath-shelishiyah;
they go up the Ascent of Luhith weeping;
they raise a cry of destruction
on the road to Horonaim.

  • 15:5–9 The pronouncement in these verses describes the attempted escape route of those who survived the devastation of northern Moab. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1065). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

6 The Waters of Nimrim are desolate;
the grass is withered, the foliage is gone,
and the vegetation has vanished.
7 So they carry their wealth and belongings
over the Wadi of the Willows.
8 For their cry echoes
throughout the territory of Moab.
Their wailing reaches Eglaim;
their wailing reaches Beer-elim.
9 The Waters of Dibon are full of blood,
but I will bring on Dibon even more than this—
a lion for those who escape from Moab,
and for the survivors in the land.

  • Oz: full of blood indicates the slain in Moab will be plenty.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 15:1–9). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


Chapter 16

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1 Send lambs to the ruler of the land,
from Sela in the desert
to the mountain of Daughter Zion.

  • 16:1–5 The Moabites will turn to Judah (Zion) to request refuge.
  • 16:1 Sela (commonly identified as the cliff fortress of Petra) was in Edom, so the Moabite refugees apparently will go that far. Then they will send gifts (lambs) to Jerusalem (Zion). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1065). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

2 Like a bird fleeing,
forced from the nest,
the daughters of Moab
will be at the fords of the Arnon.

  • 16:2 The previous verses place the refugees in Edom, so it is odd that they will now say they are at the fords of the Arnon which is in the center of Moab. The metaphor of the bird pushed from the nest presupposes that they were out of their home in Moab. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1065). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

3 Give us counsel and make a decision.
Shelter us at noonday
with shade that is as dark as night.
Hide the refugees;
do not betray the one who flees.

  • 16:3 The request for shelter as well as shade is a request for protection, and it implies that Moab will be willing to become a vassal state of Judah. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1065). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

4 Let my refugees stay with you;
be a refuge for Moab from the aggressor.

When the oppressor has gone,
destruction has ended,
and marauders have vanished from the land,
5 a throne will be established in love,
and one will sit on it faithfully
in the tent of David,
judging and pursuing what is right,
quick to execute justice.

  • 16:5 The pronouncement evokes the picture of a just descendant of David ruling on the throne. The language is a reminder of the Davidic covenant in 2Sm 7:12–16 (cp. Is 9:7; 11:1–9), and it hints at the expectation of the Messiah. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

6 We have heard of Moab’s pride—
how very proud he is—
his haughtiness, his pride, his arrogance,
and his empty boasting.

  • 16:6–12 In response to Moab’s request for shelter, the prophet can only lament its destruction. This part of the pronouncement is similar in wording and imagery to Jr 48:29–39.
  • 16:6 In keeping with a major theme throughout the book of Isaiah, the heart of Moab’s sin is described as pride. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

7 Therefore let Moab wail;
let every one of them wail for Moab.
You who are completely devastated, mourn
for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth.

  • 16:7 Raisin cakes were a delicacy mentioned in Sg 2:5 along with apples as providing sustenance for lovemaking, though it may not have been an aphrodisiac. Hosea 3:1 suggests that raisin cakes were associated with pagan rituals. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

8 For Heshbon’s terraced vineyards
and the grapevines of Sibmah have withered.
The rulers of the nations
have trampled its choice vines
that reached as far as Jazer
and spread to the desert.
Their shoots spread out
and reached the sea.

  • 16:8–9 Moab was known for its wine production. Jazer was in the north on the border with Ammon, and Sibmah is of uncertain location. Jazer will weep for itself as God wept for Sibmah.
  • Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

9 So I join with Jazer
to weep for the vines of Sibmah;
I drench Heshbon and Elealeh with my tears.
Triumphant shouts have fallen silent
over your summer fruit and your harvest.
10 Joy and rejoicing have been removed from the orchard;
no one is singing or shouting for joy in the vineyards.
No one tramples grapes in the winepresses.
I have put an end to the shouting.

  • 16:10 Because of the devastation, joy … singing, and wine will vanish from the land of Moab. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

11 Therefore I moan like the sound of a lyre for Moab,
as does my innermost being for Kir-heres.
12 When Moab appears
and tires himself out on the high place
and comes to his sanctuary to pray,
it will do him no good.

  1. 16:12 Moabite worship is ineffective. His sanctuary refers to the temple of Chemosh, who was no god and therefore could not respond to prayer. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

13 This is the message that the LORD previously announced about Moab.

  • 16:13–14 The concluding comment about the Moabite pronouncement declares that it actually had been delivered at an earlier time, but from this moment Moab had only three more years. Presumably a hired worker would count the time until his work was over with great attention and precision. Most scholars associate this Moabite devastation with the Assyrian king Sargon’s campaign against the people of northwest Arabia in approximately 718 BC. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

14 And now the LORD says, “In three years, as a hired worker counts years, Moab’s splendor will become an object of contempt, in spite of a very large population. And those who are left will be few and weak.”

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 16). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 17

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1 A pronouncement concerning Damascus:

Look, Damascus is no longer a city.
It has become a ruined heap.

  • 17:1–3 The next pronouncement is directed against Damascus, an ancient city and the capital of Syria. From the time of Solomon (1Kg 11:23–25) to the mid-eighth century, there was fighting between Israel and Syria. Isaiah 7 describes how Isaiah encouraged Ahaz of Judah to resist the threat of a Syrian-Ephraimite alliance. Assyria under Tiglath-pileser III absorbed Damascus into its growing empire. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 49:23 Concerning Damascus: “Hamath and Arpad are confounded, for they have heard bad news; they melt in fear, they are troubled like the sea that cannot be quiet.
  • Amo 1:3 Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have threshed Gilead with threshing sledges of iron.
  • Zec 9:1 The oracle of the word of the LORD is against the land of Hadrach and Damascus is its resting place. For the LORD has an eye on mankind and on all the tribes of Israel,

2 The cities of Aroer are abandoned;
they will be places for flocks.
They will lie down without fear.

  • Jer 7:33 And the dead bodies of this people will be food for the birds of the air, and for the beasts of the earth, and none will frighten them away.

3 The fortress disappears from Ephraim,
and a kingdom from Damascus.
The remnant of Aram will be
like the splendor of the Israelites.
This is the declaration of the LORD of Armies.

  • 17:3 As the next passage demonstrates, it is not good for Aram that its splendor will be like that of Israel (v. 4). Both of these nations will be destroyed.

  • Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1066). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

  • Isa 7:16 For before the boy knows how to refuse the evil and choose the good, the land whose two kings you dread will be deserted.
  • Isa 8:4 for before the boy knows how to cry ‘My father’ or ‘My mother,’ the wealth of Damascus and the spoil of Samaria will be carried away before the king of Assyria.”

JUDGMENT AGAINST ISRAEL

4 On that day
the splendor of Jacob will fade,
and his healthy body will become emaciated.

  • Isa 10:16 Therefore the Lord GOD of hosts will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors, and under his glory a burning will be kindled, like the burning of fire.

5 It will be as if a reaper had gathered standing grain—
his arm harvesting the heads of grain—
and as if one had gleaned heads of grain
in Rephaim Valley.

  • 17:5 A second image of destruction is a reaper picking grain. The Valley of Rephaim was southwest of Jerusalem. The meaning of its name is ominous: “Valley of the Departed.” Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1067). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 51:33 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.”

6 Only gleanings will be left in Israel,
as if an olive tree had been beaten
two or three olives at the very top of the tree,
four or five on its fruitful branches.
This is the declaration of the LORD,
the God of Israel.

  • 17:6 The third image of destruction concerns the harvesting of an olive tree. It was shaken, and the fallen olives were eaten. But this image also shows that, though the devastation will be extensive, it will not be total. A remnant, represented by olives that stayed attached to the tree, will survive. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1067). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 24:13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.

7 On that day people will look to their Maker and will turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.

  • Mic 7:7 But as for me, I will look to the LORD; I will wait for the God of my salvation; my God will hear me.
  • 17:7–8 On that day (v. 4) points to a time beyond the judgment. Indeed, the judgment of God will cause the remnant to turn from false worship to the worship of the true God who created them. Asherah was a Canaanite goddess of love and war. The plural form (Asherahs) signifies that the reference is to wooden poles or trees associated with her worship. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1067). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

8 They will not look to the altars they made with their hands or to the Asherahs and shrines, they made with their fingers.

9 On that day their strong cities will be
like the abandoned woods and mountaintops
that were abandoned because of the Israelites;
there will be desolation.

  • 17:9 On that day signals the future time of judgment again (see v. 4). The destruction will turn cities into abandoned woods and mountaintops. The reason for their abandonment is the Israelites, who, as v. 10 explains, have sinned by forgetting God.
  • Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1067). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation,
and you have failed to remember
the rock of your strength;
therefore you will plant beautiful plants
and set out cuttings from exotic vines.

  • 17:10–11 To remember God involves more than a mental activity; it implies obeying and worshiping him. To forget him points to Israel’s disobedience. Isaiah spoke of Israel’s bad end by using a plant analogy. Israel worked hard to grow beautiful plants. They exerted their energy but ended up with nothing. Israel’s self-sufficient efforts will also end up empty. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1067). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Psa 68:19 Blessed be the Lord, who daily bears us up; God is our salvation. Selah.

11 On the day that you plant,
you will help them to grow,
and in the morning
you will help your seed to sprout,
but the harvest will vanish
on the day of disease and incurable pain.

JUDGMENT AGAINST THE NATIONS

12 Ah! The roar of many peoples—
they roar like the roaring of the seas.
The raging of the nations—
they rage like the rumble of rushing water.

  • 17:12 The opening exclamation Ah! is the same word earlier translated as “Oh” (see 1:4). It begins a pronouncement that has the form of a funeral dirge. The nations were agitated; they roared and raged (Ps 2:1–4). Their agitation is compared to the pounding of waves. Rushing water is often an image of social and religious chaos (Ps 18:16; 29:3; 32:6).
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1067). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 6:23 They lay hold on bow and javelin; they are cruel and have no mercy; the sound of them is like the roaring sea; they ride on horses, set in array as a man for battle, against you, O daughter of Zion!”

13 The nations rage like the rumble of a huge torrent.
He rebukes them, and they flee far away,
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills
and like tumbleweeds before a gale.

  • 17:13 Though the nations rage, God’s rebuke will quiet them by driving them away (Pss 2; 48). Chaff was light and wind blew it away, so God’s rebuke will blow away the tumultuous nations. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1067). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Psa 9:5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish; you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
  • Psa 83:13 O my God, make them like whirling dust, like chaff before the wind.
  • Hos 13:3 Therefore they shall be like the morning mist or like the dew that goes early away, like the chaff that swirls from the threshing floor or like smoke from a window.

14 In the evening—sudden terror!
Before morning—it is gone!
This is the fate of those who plunder us
and the lot of those who ravage us.

  • 17:14 God’s judgment comes quickly, in a single day (in the evening … before morning). The victim of the nations (God’s people) speaks here in the first person (us). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1067). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 17:1–14). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 18

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THE LORD’S MESSAGE TO CUSH

1 Woe to the land of buzzing insect wings
beyond the rivers of Cush,

  • Isa 20:4, 5 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt. 5 Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast.
  • Eze 30:4, 5, 9 A sword shall come upon Egypt, and anguish shall be in Cush, when the slain fall in Egypt, and her wealth is carried away, and her foundations are torn down. 5 Cush, and Put, and Lud, and all Arabia, and Libya, and the people of the land that is in league, shall fall with them by the sword. 9 “On that day messengers shall go out from me in ships to terrify the unsuspecting people of Cush, and anguish shall come upon them on the day of Egypt’s doom; for, behold, it comes!
  • Zep 2:12 You also, O Cushites, shall be slain by my sword.
  • Zep 3:10 From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering.

2 which sends envoys by sea,
in reed vessels over the water.

Go, swift messengers,
to a nation tall and smooth-skinned,
to a people feared far and near,
a powerful nation with a strange language,
whose land is divided by rivers.
3 All you inhabitants of the world
and you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains, look!
When a ram’s horn sounds, listen!

  • Isa 5:26 He will raise a signal for nations far away, and whistle for them from the ends of the earth; and behold, quickly, speedily they come!

4 For the LORD said to me:

I will quietly look out from my place,
like shimmering heat in sunshine,
like a rain cloud in harvest heat.
5 For before the harvest, when the blossoming is over
and the blossom becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with a pruning knife,
and tear away and remove the branches.
6 They will all be left for the birds of prey on the hills
and for the wild animals of the land.
The birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
and all the wild animals the winter.

7 At that time a gift will be brought to the LORD of Armies from a people tall and smooth-skinned, a people feared far and near, a powerful nation with a strange language, whose land is divided by rivers—to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the LORD of Armies.

  • Psa 68:31 Nobles shall come from Egypt; Cush shall hasten to stretch out her hands to God.
  • Psa 72:10 May the kings of Tarshish and of the coastlands render him tribute; may the kings of Sheba and Seba bring gifts!
  • Isa 16:1 Send the lamb to the ruler of the land, from Sela, by way of the desert, to the mount of the daughter of Zion.
  • Zep 3:10 From beyond the rivers of Cush my worshipers, the daughter of my dispersed ones, shall bring my offering.
  • Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 18:1–19:1). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


Chapter 19

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A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST EGYPT

1 A pronouncement concerning Egypt:

Look, the LORD rides on a swift cloud
and is coming to Egypt.
Egypt’s worthless idols will tremble before him,
and Egypt will lose heart.

  • 19:1 The swift cloud, a storm cloud, is God’s war chariot. The image is found elsewhere in Scripture (Ps 18:10; 68:33; 104:3; Nah 1:3) and even has an older ancient Near Eastern background (the god Baal is often described as a “cloud rider”). Fear strikes the hearts of Egypt’s idols again, just as the plagues were described as a victory over Egypt’s gods at the time of the exodus (Ex 12:12). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1068). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 46:13 The word that the LORD spoke to Jeremiah the prophet about the coming of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon to strike the land of Egypt:
  • Psa 18:10 He rode on a cherub and flew; he came swiftly on the wings of the wind.
  • Psa 104:3 He lays the beams of his chambers on the waters; he makes the clouds his chariot; he rides on the wings of the wind;
  • Exo 12:12 For I will pass through the land of Egypt that night, and I will strike all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, both man and beast; and on all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgments: I am the LORD.
  • Jer 43:12 I shall kindle a fire in the temples of the gods of Egypt, and he shall burn them and carry them away captive. And he shall clean the land of Egypt as a shepherd cleans his cloak of vermin, and he shall go away from there in peace.

2 I will provoke Egyptians against Egyptians;
each will fight against his brother
and each against his friend,
city against city, kingdom against kingdom.

  • 19:2 God will use Egyptian civil war to judge that nation. During much of the eighth century BC Egypt was at war with itself. There were conflicts between power centers at Tanis, Thebes, and in the delta. There were also conflicts between Cushite rulers and the rulers at Sais. Not until 712 BC was Egypt united under one pharaoh, the Cushite king Shabaka. Even though conditions through much of the eighth century are described by this verse, the picture is so general that it could apply to a different, future time as well. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1068). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jud 7:22 When they blew the 300 trumpets, the LORD set every man’s sword against his comrade and against all the army. And the army fled as far as Beth-shittah toward Zererah, as far as the border of Abel-meholah, by Tabbath.
  • 1Sa 14:16,20 And the watchmen of Saul in Gibeah of Benjamin looked, and behold, the multitude was dispersing here and there. 20 Then Saul and all the people who were with him rallied and went into the battle. And behold, every Philistine’s sword was against his fellow, and there was very great confusion.
  • 2Ch 20:23 For the men of Ammon and Moab rose against the inhabitants of Mount Seir, devoting them to destruction, and when they had made an end of the inhabitants of Seir, they all helped to destroy one another.

Egypt’s spirit will be disturbed within it,
and I will frustrate its plans.
Then they will inquire of worthless idols, ghosts,
mediums, and spiritists.

  • 19:3 Egyptian religion was filled with many gods and mysterious rites, but this verse describes a darker religious turn born out of frustration. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1068). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 8:19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?
  • Isa 47:12 Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed; perhaps you may inspire terror.

4 I will hand over Egypt to harsh masters,
and a strong king will rule it.
This is the declaration of the Lord GOD of Armies.

  • 19:4 Egypt’s punishment is to be delivered into the control of harsh masters, a strong king. The lack of specificity does not allow the identification of a concrete historical figure. The description reminds the reader that Egypt at an earlier point had been a harsh master for Israel in bondage. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1068). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 20:4 so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptian captives and the Cushite exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the nakedness of Egypt.
  • Jer 46:26 I will deliver them into the hand of those who seek their life, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and his officers. Afterward Egypt shall be inhabited as in the days of old, declares the LORD.
  • Eze 29:19 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Behold, I will give the land of Egypt to Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; and he shall carry off its wealth and despoil it and plunder it; and it shall be the wages for his army.

5 The water of the sea will dry up,
and the river will be parched and dry.

  • 19:5–7 The waters of the Nile River were the lifeblood of Egypt. Its fresh waters running northward from the south to the delta and out into the Mediterranean Sea were the only source of drinkable water in the country. Egypt’s prosperity was enhanced by the early development of an irrigation system. God’s judgment of Egypt is pictured as a drying up of the water. As a result farmland will vanish. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1068). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 51:36 Therefore thus says the LORD: “Behold, I will plead your cause and take vengeance for you. I will dry up her sea and make her fountain dry,
  • Eze 30:12 And I will dry up the Nile and will sell the land into the hand of evildoers; I will bring desolation upon the land and everything in it, by the hand of foreigners; I am the LORD; I have spoken.

6 The channels will stink;
they will dwindle, and Egypt’s canals will be parched.
Reed and rush will wilt.

  • 2Ki 19:24 I dug wells and drank foreign waters, and I dried up with the sole of my foot all the streams of Egypt.’

7 The reeds by the Nile, by the mouth of the river,
and all the cultivated areas of the Nile
will wither, blow away, and vanish.
8 Then the fishermen will mourn.
All those who cast hooks into the Nile will lament,
and those who spread nets on the water will give up.

  • 19:8 The disappearance of the Nile waters will not only affect farmers but also those who make their living by fishing. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1068). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

9 Those who work with flax will be dismayed;
those combing it and weaving linen will turn pale.

  • 19:9–10 Another major industry associated with Egypt was the production of flax, a fiber from which clothes were made. The loss of this industry would lead to economic depression. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1068). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 1Ki 10:28 And Solomon’s import of horses was from Egypt and Kue, and the king’s traders received them from Kue at a price.
  • Pro 7:16 I have spread my couch with coverings, colored linens from Egyptian linen;

10 Egypt’s weavers will be dejected;
all her wage earners will be demoralized.

11 The princes of Zoan are complete fools;
Pharaoh’s wisest advisers give stupid advice!
How can you say to Pharaoh,
“I am one of the wise,
a student of eastern kings”?

  • 19:11 Zoan was an important city (also known as Tanis), formerly a capital of Egypt. It is mentioned in this verse because it was the residence of Pharaoh’s wisest advisers. Egypt was known as a center of wisdom in the ancient Near East. This pronouncement mocks their wisdom. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Num 13:22 They went up into the Negeb and came to Hebron. Ahiman, Sheshai, and Talmai, the descendants of Anak, were there. (Hebron was built seven years before Zoan in Egypt.)

12 Where then are your wise men?
Let them tell you and reveal
what the LORD of Armies has planned against Egypt.

  • 1Co 1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

13 The princes of Zoan have been fools;
the princes of Memphis are deceived.
Her tribal chieftains have led Egypt astray.

  • Jer 2:16 Moreover, the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes have shaved the crown of your head.

14 The LORD has mixed within her a spirit of confusion.
The leaders have made Egypt stagger in all she does,
as a drunkard staggers in his vomit.

  • 19:14 Egyptian leaders and wise men are pictured as drunk, in a state of heightened confusion. The image of a drunkard staggering and passing out, representing the demise of God’s enemies, occurs frequently in the Prophets. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 1Ki 22:22 And the LORD said to him, ‘By what means?’ And he said, ‘I will go out, and will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets.’ And he said, ‘You are to entice him, and you shall succeed; go out and do so.’
  • Isa 29:10
  • For the LORD has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers).

15 No head or tail, palm or reed,
will be able to do anything for Egypt.

  • 19:15 The expression head or tail, palm or reed points to a totality (9:14). Nothing can protect Egypt against God’s devastating judgment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 9:14 So the LORD cut off from Israel head and tail, palm branch and reed in one day—

EGYPT WILL KNOW THE LORD

16 On that day Egypt will be like women and will tremble with fear because of the threatening hand of the LORD of Armies when he raises it against them.

  • 16. It was an insult to say that Egypt’s troops will be like women. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 51:30 The warriors of Babylon have ceased fighting; they remain in their strongholds; their strength has failed; they have become women; her dwellings are on fire; her bars are broken.
  • Nah 3:13 Behold, your troops are women in your midst. The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies; fire has devoured your bars.
  • Isa 11:15 And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching breath, and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals.

17 The land of Judah will terrify Egypt; whenever Judah is mentioned, Egypt will tremble because of what the LORD of Armies has planned against it.
18 On that day five cities in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear loyalty to the LORD of Armies. One of the cities will be called the City of the Sun.

  • 19:17 Egypt was always militarily superior to Judah, so Judah was tempted to depend on Egypt for military support, but this verse envisions Egypt fearing Judah, a shameful reversal for this proud nation. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 19:18 On that day, see note at v. 16. While Hebrew settlements were known from the postexilic period on, it is more likely that this verse refers to a conversion of at least some Egyptians to Yahweh. The five cities cannot be identified and may be a symbolic number for “a few.” But the City of the Sun is well known. It was Heliopolis, closely associated with the worship of the sun god. That the worship of the Lord would be taken up in this city is a sign of a radical transformation. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Zep 3:9 “For at that time I will change the speech of the peoples to a pure speech, that all of them may call upon the name of the LORD and serve him with one accord.

19 On that day there will be an altar to the LORD in the center of the land of Egypt and a pillar to the LORD near her border.

  • 19:19 On that day, see note at v. 16. As a sign of an Egyptian conversion to the worship of the true God, there will be an altar set up in the center of the land and a memorial pillar at the border. The land will be dedicated to the worship of the true God. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Gen 28:18 So early in the morning Jacob took the stone that he had put under his head and set it up for a pillar and poured oil on the top of it.
  • Exo 24:4 And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel.
  • Josh 22:10, 26, 27 And when they came to the region of the Jordan that is in the land of Canaan, the people of Reuben and the people of Gad and the half-tribe of Manasseh built there an altar by the Jordan, an altar of imposing size. 26 Therefore we said, ‘Let us now build an altar, not for burnt offering, nor for sacrifice, 27 but to be a witness between us and you, and between our generations after us, that we do perform the service of the LORD in his presence with our burnt offerings and sacrifices and peace offerings, so your children will not say to our children in time to come, “You have no portion in the LORD.”‘

20 It will be a sign and witness to the LORD of Armies in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the LORD because of their oppressors, he will send them a savior and leader, and he will rescue them.

  • 19:20 The language of this verse is reminiscent of that of the book of Judges. Here, however, sending someone to rescue a repentant nation from an oppressor describes the situation in future Egypt. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Josh 4:20 And those twelve stones, which they took out of the Jordan, Joshua set up at Gilgal.
  • Josh 22:27 Now to the one half of the tribe of Manasseh Moses had given a possession in Bashan, but to the other half Joshua had given a possession beside their brothers in the land west of the Jordan. And when Joshua sent them away to their homes and blessed them,

21 The LORD will make himself known to Egypt, and Egypt will know the LORD on that day. They will offer sacrifices and offerings; they will make vows to the LORD and fulfill them.

  • Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

22 The LORD will strike Egypt, striking and healing. Then they will turn to the LORD, and he will be receptive to their prayers and heal them.

  • 19:22 Egypt’s conversion will be after that country experiences God’s judgment; healing will follow striking. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

23 On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. Assyria will go to Egypt, Egypt to Assyria, and Egypt will worship with Assyria.

  • 19:23 Highway is a “favorite metaphor in Isaiah for the removal of alienation and separation (11:16; 33:8; 35:8; 40:3; 49:11; 62:10)” (John Oswalt, Isaiah 1–39). Assyria and Egypt had been enemies for many years, but this amazing passage envisions a time when travel will be free and easy between them. They will be united in the worship of God. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 11:16 And there will be a highway from Assyria for the remnant that remains of his people, as there was for Israel when they came up from the land of Egypt.

24 On that day Israel will form a triple alliance with Egypt and Assyria—a blessing within the land. 25 The LORD of Armies will bless them, saying, “Egypt my people, Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance are blessed.”

  • 19:24 Israel was a land bridge between Egypt and Assyria. Both of these nations had tried to control Israel to get a foothold against the other. Here Israel is added to Assyria and Egypt in an intimate relationship of love and worship of the Lord. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1069). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Psa 100:3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
  • Isa 29:23 For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
  • Hos 2:23 and I will sow her for myself in the land. And I will have mercy on No Mercy, and I will say to Not My People, ‘You are my people’; and he shall say, ‘You are my God.'”
  • Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 19:1–25). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


Chapter 20

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NO HELP FROM CUSH OR EGYPT

1 In the year that the chief commander, sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it —

  • SARGON: An Assrian general who seized the throne during the turbulence after Shalmaneser IV’s death. Sargon founded the last great Assyrian dynansty, ruling from 722 to 705 B.C. Samaria, capital of the northern kingdom, Israel, was captured by Sargon’s forces shortly after his accession. He began the grim policy of deporting entire populations to help quell his restive territorities, and uprooted most of the ten northern tribes (known as the “lost tribes” from then on). In turn, he imported colonist from Hamath to the cities of Samaria. Sargon was a ruthless soldier and able organizer. He smashed revolts in Palestine, exacted tribute from Egypt, drove out Merodach-baladan of Babylon and made himself king of Babylon. He barely completed his showplace palace at Khorsabad before he was assasinated by one of his solders.
  • 20:1 The events narrated in this verse took place between 713 and 711 BC. Sargon II attacked the Philistine city of Ashdod after its king, Azuri, revolted. Azuri probably thought that Egypt under Shabaka would provide aid. The Assyrians deposed Azuri and placed his brother Ahimeti on the throne. But Ahimeti was deposed by a person named Yamani, so Sargon had to come back. Yamani fled to Egypt, but under the Assyrian threat, Egypt handed the rebel over. This should have served as a warning to others who believed Egypt could provide help against their enemies. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1070). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Ki 18:17 And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer’s Field.

2 during that time the LORD had spoken through Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, “Go, take off your sackcloth and remove the sandals from your feet,” and he did that, going stripped and barefoot —

  • 20:2–4 God commanded Isaiah to perform a symbolic action that would support his spoken pronouncement. Isaiah had been wearing sackcloth, a symbol of mourning, but he was told to go about stripped. This would represent the coming humiliation and destitution of Egypt. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1070). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Zec 13:4 On that day every prophet will be ashamed of his vision when he prophesies. He will not put on a hairy cloak in order to deceive,
  • 1Sa 19:24 And he too stripped off his clothes, and he too prophesied before Samuel and lay naked all that day and all that night. Thus it is said, “Is Saul also among the prophets?”
  • Mic 1:8, 11 For this I will lament and wail; I will go stripped and naked; I will make lamentation like the jackals, and mourning like the ostriches. 11 Pass on your way, inhabitants of Shaphir, in nakedness and shame; the inhabitants of Zaanan do not come out; the lamentation of Beth-ezel shall take away from you its standing place.

3 the LORD said, “As my servant Isaiah has gone stripped and barefoot three years as a sign and omen against Egypt and Cush,

  • Isa 8:18 Behold, I and the children whom the LORD has given me are signs and portents in Israel from the LORD of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.

4 so the king of Assyria will lead the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, young and old alike, stripped and barefoot, with bared buttocks—to Egypt’s shame.

  • 2Sa 10:4 So Hanun took David’s servants and shaved off half the beard of each and cut off their garments in the middle, at their hips, and sent them away.
  • Isa 3:17 therefore the Lord will strike with a scab the heads of the daughters of Zion, and the LORD will lay bare their secret parts.
  • Jer 13:22 And if you say in your heart, ‘Why have these things come upon me?’ it is for the greatness of your iniquity that your skirts are lifted up and you suffer violence.
  • Mic 1:11 Pass on your way, inhabitants of Shaphir, in nakedness and shame; the inhabitants of Zaanan do not come out; the lamentation of Beth-ezel shall take away from you its standing place.

5 Those who made Cush their hope and Egypt their boast will be dismayed and ashamed.

  • 20:5 Those who trusted Egypt and Cush for help against their enemies would be sorely disappointed. God was the only proper object of the people’s trust. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1070). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Ki 18:21 Behold, you are trusting now in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him.

6 And the inhabitants of this coastland will say on that day, ‘Look, this is what has happened to those we relied on and fled to for help to rescue us from the king of Assyria! Now, how will we escape?’ ”

  • 20:6 The pronouncement envisioned other nations coming to recognize that Egypt was an unreliable ally. The implicit message is that Judah should come to the same realization. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1070). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 47:4 because of the day that is coming to destroy all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper that remains. For the LORD is destroying the Philistines, the remnant of the coastland of Caphtor.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 20:1–6). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /> Isaiah Chap 21<br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br /><br />
Chapter 21

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A JUDGMENT ON Babylon

  • 21:1–10 The pronouncement in these verses was against the desert by the sea. This designation is ambiguous when first stated, but the end of the passage (v. 9) makes it clear that Babylon was meant. The description of the fall of Babylon is mysterious. Debate surrounds whether it anticipates an Assyrian defeat of Babylon in the late eighth or early seventh century BC (three times: 710, 700, 689) or the ultimate defeat of Babylon by Persia in 539 BC. A good argument can be made that both the earlier and the later defeats are alluded to in this prophecy. The intention of this prophecy at the time of Isaiah was to show that Babylon would not be an effective ally against Assyria as even King Hezekiah of Judah at one point had hoped (chap. 39). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1070). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Zec 9:14 Then the LORD will appear over them, and his arrow will go forth like lightning; the Lord GOD will sound the trumpet and will march forth in the whirlwinds of the south.
  • Babylonian Empire pictures on the web.
  • Assyrian Empire pictures on the web.

1 A pronouncement concerning the desert by the sea:

Like storms that pass over the Negev,
it comes from the desert, from the land of terror.

  • 21:1 The desert (lit “wilderness”) by the sea in connection with Babylon could be taken as a reference to the area in the extreme south of Mesopotamia, the swampland next to what today is called the Persian Gulf. This area was the center of Babylonian revolts against Assyria (sometimes called Mesopotamia) at the end of the eighth century (Merodach-baladan) as well as in the late part of the seventh century (Nabopolassar). The Negev was to the extreme south of Jerusalem and was itself a wilderness area. The storms that pass through that area even today are particularly violent. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1070). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

2 A troubling vision is declared to me:
“The treacherous one acts treacherously,
and the destroyer destroys.
Advance, Elam! Lay siege, you Medes!
I will put an end to all the groaning.”

  • 21:2 Elam and Media (Medes) were countries on the Iranian plateau east of Babylon. In this verse they are called to advance, but against whom? In the late eighth century BC, they were allies with Babylon and would have fought against Assyria. In 539 BC they were both parts of the Persian Empire that defeated Babylon. Perhaps the ambiguity intends the reader at a later time to recognize allusions to both events. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1070). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 33:1 Ah, you destroyer, who yourself have not been destroyed, you traitor, whom none has betrayed! When you have ceased to destroy, you will be destroyed; and when you have finished betraying, they will betray you.
  • Isa 13:17 Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them, who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold.
  • Jer 49:34The word of the LORD that came to Jeremiah the prophet concerning Elam, in the beginning of the reign of Zedekiah king of Judah.

3 Therefore I am filled with anguish.
Pain grips me, like the pain of a woman in labor.
I am too perplexed to hear,
too dismayed to see.

  • 21:3 Isaiah used the theme of a woman in labor, one widely used in prophetic literature (13:8; Jr 4:31; 6:24; 22:23; 30:6; Mc 4:9). This was a graphic image of the pain and distress that would fall on the object of God’s warring activity. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1070). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 15:5 My heart cries out for Moab; her fugitives flee to Zoar, to Eglath-shelishiyah. For at the ascent of Luhith they go up weeping; on the road to Horonaim they raise a cry of destruction;
  • Isa 16:11 Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab, and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth.
  • Isa 13:8 They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame.

4 My heart staggers;
horror terrifies me.
He has turned my last glimmer of hope
into sheer terror.

  • Deu 28:67 In the morning you shall say, ‘If only it were evening!’ and at evening you shall say, ‘If only it were morning!’ because of the dread that your heart shall feel, and the sights that your eyes shall see.

5 Prepare a table, and spread out a carpet!
Eat and drink!
Rise up, you princes, and oil the shields!

  • 21:5 Attack would come in the midst of celebrative feasting, reminiscent of Dn 5 when Belshazzar ate and drank on the eve of Babylon’s destruction. It is unclear whether such banqueting indicated a lack of preparedness for battle or whether it was a pre-battle rally (Est 1). The reference to the oiling of shields may indicate the latter since this was done before battle. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (pp. 1070–1071). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Dan 5:5 Immediately the fingers of a human hand appeared and wrote on the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace, opposite the lampstand. And the king saw the hand as it wrote.

6 For the Lord has said to me,
“Go, post a lookout;
let him report what he sees.
7 When he sees riders—
pairs of horsemen,
riders on donkeys,
riders on camels—
he must pay close attention.”
8 Then the lookout reported,
“Lord, I stand on the watchtower all day,
and I stay at my post all night.
9 Look, riders come—
horsemen in pairs.”
And he answered, saying,
Babylon has fallen, has fallen.
All the images of her gods
have been shattered on the ground.”

  • 21:9 The attacking army returned intact with the announcement that Babylon has fallen. The focus is on the defeat of Babylon’s gods. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1071). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 51:8 Suddenly Babylon has fallen and been broken; wail for her! Take balm for her pain; perhaps she may be healed.
  • Rev 14:8 Another angel, a second, followed, saying, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great, she who made all nations drink the wine of the passion of her sexual immorality.”
  • Rev 18:2 And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
  • Isa 46:1 Bel bows down; Nebo stoops; their idols are on beasts and livestock; these things you carry are borne as burdens on weary beasts.
  • Jer 50:2 “Declare among the nations and proclaim, set up a banner and proclaim, conceal it not, and say: ‘Babylon is taken, Bel is put to shame, Merodach is dismayed. Her images are put to shame, her idols are dismayed.’
  • Jer 51:44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon, and take out of his mouth what he has swallowed. The nations shall no longer flow to him; the wall of Babylon has fallen.

10 My people who have been crushed
on the threshing floor,
I have declared to you
what I have heard from the LORD of Armies,
the God of Israel.

  • 21:10 The crushed people were the people of Israel. The prophet confirmed to them that the destruction of Babylon had been announced by none other than God himself. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1071). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 51:33 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor at the time when it is trodden; yet a little while and the time of her harvest will come.”

A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST DUMAH

11 A pronouncement concerning Dumah:

One calls to me from Seir,
Watchman, what is left of the night?
Watchman, what is left of the night?”

  • Jer 49:7,8 Concerning Edom. Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished? 8 Flee, turn back, dwell in the depths, O inhabitants of Dedan! For I will bring the calamity of Esau upon him, the time when I punish him.
  • Eze 35:2 “Son of man, set your face against Mount Seir, and prophesy against it,

12 The watchman said,
“Morning has come, and also night.
If you want to ask, ask!
Come back again.”

  • 21:11–12 Dumah was an oasis in Arabia that controlled trade routes. In the eighth century it was an object of Assyrian invasion under Sennacherib and was an ally of Babylon. In the sixth century when the last Babylonian king, Nabonidus, moved to Tema in Arabia, he tried to control all the trade routes in that region. Besides designating an oasis in north central Arabia, the Hebrew word Dumah means “silence,” like the silence of death (Ps 94:17). Thus, the name sets the mood for the pronouncement. The Greek translation of the OT understood Dumah as a reference to Edom. Seir is a reference to an important part of Edom, but here Edom spoke to Dumah. The theme of the watchman continues from the preceding pronouncement. The question the watchman was asked is enigmatic, but it may be a way of asking how much longer the suffering (night) would last. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1071). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST ARABIA

13 A pronouncement concerning Arabia:

  • 21:13–17 Dedan, Tema, and Kedar are references to geographical and/or political entities in northern Arabia. They were likely allies of Babylon during the eighth century BC. Brevard Childs (Isaiah) has pointed out that these tribes were defeated by Assyria between 691–689 BC. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1071). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 49:28 Concerning Kedar and the kingdoms of Hazor that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon struck down. Thus says the LORD: “Rise up, advance against Kedar! Destroy the people of the east!

In the desert brush
you will camp for the night,
you caravans of Dedanites.
14 Bring water for the thirsty.
The inhabitants of the land of Tema
meet the refugees with food.
15 For they have fled from swords,
from the drawn sword,
from the bow that is strung,
and from the stress of battle.

16 For the Lord said this to me: “Within one year, as a hired worker counts years, all the glory of Kedar will be gone. 17 The remaining Kedarite archers will be few in number.” For the LORD, the God of Israel, has spoken.

  • Isa 16:14 But now the LORD has spoken, saying, “In three years, like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all his great multitude, and those who remain will be very few and feeble.”
  • Psa 120:5 Woe to me, that I sojourn in Meshech, that I dwell among the tents of Kedar!
  • Isa 60:7 All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered to you; the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you; they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will beautify my beautiful house.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 21:1–17). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 22

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A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST JERUSALEM

1 A pronouncement concerning the Valley of Vision:

What’s the matter with you?
Why have all of you gone up to the rooftops?

  • 22:1 From later in the pronouncement, it is clear that the Valley of Vision is a reference to Jerusalem, even though this name is not used elsewhere of the city. It could be satirical, that is, the Valley of Vision was blind to the divine purpose. The significance of the rooftops is also difficult, but it probably refers to getting a better perspective on the withdrawal of a besieging army. Most think the historical reference is to the withdrawal of the Assyrian army from Jerusalem in 701 BC (chaps. 36–37).Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1071). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

2 The noisy city, the jubilant town,
is filled with celebration.
Your dead did not die by the sword;
they were not killed in battle.

  • 22:2 The inhabitants were jubilant because the attacking army had withdrawn from its siege. The reference to those who died apart from battle may be to those who starved or contracted disease during the siege. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1071). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 32:13for the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers, yes, for all the joyous houses in the exultant city.

3 All your rulers have fled together,
captured without a bow.
All your fugitives were captured together;
they had fled far away.

  • 22:3 The description of fleeing rulers does not accord with what we know about the siege of 701 BC, but some connect it with an Assyrian account of the battle that mentions the capture of some of Hezekiah’s paid troops. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1071). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

4 Therefore I said,
“Look away from me! Let me weep bitterly!
Do not try to comfort me
about the destruction of my dear people.”

  • 22:4–5 The prophet Isaiah (the first-person speaker) did not share the joy of the city. After all, although the siege was lifted, people died. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 4:19 My anguish, my anguish! I writhe in pain! Oh the walls of my heart! My heart is beating wildly; I cannot keep silent, for I hear the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war.

5 For the Lord GOD of Armies
had a day of tumult, trampling, and confusion
in the Valley of Vision—
people shouting and crying to the mountains;

  • Isa 37:3 They said to him, “Thus says Hezekiah, ‘This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth.
  • Lam 1:5 Her foes have become the head; her enemies prosper, because the LORD has afflicted her for the multitude of her transgressions; her children have gone away, captives before the foe.

6 Elam took up a quiver
with chariots and horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.

  • Jer 49:35 Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Behold, I will break the bow of Elam, the mainstay of their might.
  • Isa 15:1 An oracle concerning Moab. Because Ar of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone; because Kir of Moab is laid waste in a night, Moab is undone.

7 Your best valleys were full of chariots,
and horsemen were positioned at the city gates.

  • 1Ki 7:2 He built the House of the Forest of Lebanon. Its length was a hundred cubits and its breadth fifty cubits and its height thirty cubits, and it was built on four rows of cedar pillars, with cedar beams on the pillars.
  • 1Ki 10:17 And he made 300 shields of beaten gold; three minas of gold went into each shield. And the king put them in the House of the Forest of Lebanon.
  • 22:6–7 Elam (located on the Iranian plateau east of Babylon) and Kir (of uncertain location) appear to have fought along with the Assyrians. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

8 He removed the defenses of Judah.

On that day you looked to the weapons in the House of the Forest.

  • 22:8 The House of the Forest is likely the same as the storehouse in the palace complex known as the House of the Forest of Lebanon (1Kg 7:1–12). Weapons were stored there. The people should have been looking to God for help, but they put their trust in their weapons instead. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

9 You saw that there were many breaches in the walls of the city of David. You collected water from the lower pool. 10 You counted the houses of Jerusalem so that you could tear them down to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the walls for the water of the ancient pool, but you did not look to the one who made it, or consider the one who created it long ago.

  • 22:9–11 Refortifying the wall with construction materials taken from demolished homes and building an emergency reservoir within the city are taken again by the prophet as a sign of human self-reliance. They should have been looking to God for help. After all, he was the one who created it long ago. The reference to collecting water from the lower pool may connect to the fact that Hezekiah built a tunnel to bring water inside the city walls (2Kg 20:20). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Neh 3:16 After him Nehemiah the son of Azbuk, ruler of half the district of Beth-zur, repaired to a point opposite the tombs of David, as far as the artificial pool, and as far as the house of the mighty men.

12 On that day the Lord GOD of Armies
called for weeping, for wailing, for shaven heads,
and for the wearing of sackcloth.

  • Oz: all signs of mourning.
  • Joe 1:13 Put on sackcloth and lament, O priests; wail, O ministers of the altar. Go in, pass the night in sackcloth, O ministers of my God! Because grain offering and drink offering are withheld from the house of your God.
  • Ezr 9:3 As soon as I heard this, I tore my garment and my cloak and pulled hair from my head and beard and sat appalled.
  • Isa 15:2 He has gone up to the temple, and to Dibon, to the high places to weep; over Nebo and over Medeba Moab wails. On every head is baldness; every beard is shorn;
  • Mic 1:16 Make yourselves bald and cut off your hair, for the children of your delight; make yourselves as bald as the eagle, for they shall go from you into exile.

13 But look: joy and gladness,
butchering of cattle, slaughtering of sheep and goats,
eating of meat, and drinking of wine—
“Let’s eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

  • Isa 56:12 “Come,” they say, “let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure.”
  • 1Co 15:32 What do I gain if, humanly speaking, I fought with beasts at Ephesus? If the dead are not raised, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.”

14 The LORD of Armies has directly revealed to me:
“This iniquity will not be wiped out for you people as long as you live.”
The Lord GOD of Armies has spoken.

  • 22:13–14 God called for mourning (v. 12), but the people celebrated the lifting of the siege on the city. The people lived for the moment. The fact that the iniquity of the people would never be removed boded poorly for the future of the city. Paul quotes v. 13 in 1Co 15:32. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 5:9 The LORD of hosts has sworn in my hearing: “Surely many houses shall be desolate, large and beautiful houses, without inhabitant.
  • 1Sa 3:14 Therefore I swear to the house of Eli that the iniquity of Eli’s house shall not be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.”
  • Eze 24:13 On account of your unclean lewdness, because I would have cleansed you and you were not cleansed from your uncleanness, you shall not be cleansed anymore till I have satisfied my fury upon you.

A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST SHEBNA

  • 22:15–25 The pronouncement against Jerusalem in these verses concludes with an evaluation of two stewards. Shebna abused his office and would be replaced by Eliakim. Eliakim was competent, and Isaiah praised him, but even Eliakim eventually failed. The message is that politicians cannot be relied on to solve problems that only God can solve. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

15 The Lord GOD of Armies said, “Go to Shebna, that steward who is in charge of the palace, and say to him:

  • 22:15 The office of steward was an important role, analogous to an American president’s chief of staff. Shebna is known elsewhere as a high-ranking officer in the court of Hezekiah (36:3, 11, 22; 37:2; 2Kg 18:18; 19:2), though in these passages he is called a “secretary” which may indicate that he had been demoted. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Ki 18:37 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.
  • Isa 36:3 And there came out to him Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

16 What are you doing here? Who authorized you to carve out a tomb for yourself here, carving your tomb on the height and cutting a resting place for yourself out of rock?

  • 22:16 Shebna was concerned more about himself and his own glory than with the well-being of the city. Rock-hewn tombs from antiquity may be seen today all around Jerusalem, but particularly east of the city. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Sa 18:18 Now Absalom in his lifetime had taken and set up for himself the pillar that is in the King’s Valley, for he said, “I have no son to keep my name in remembrance.” He called the pillar after his own name, and it is called Absalom’s monument to this day.
  • Mat 26:70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.”

17 Look, you strong man! The LORD is about to shake you violently. He will take hold of you,

  • Est 7:8 And the king returned from the palace garden to the place where they were drinking wine, as Haman was falling on the couch where Esther was. And the king said, “Will he even assault the queen in my presence, in my own house?” As the word left the mouth of the king, they covered Haman’s face.

18 wind you up into a ball, and sling you into a wide land. There you will die, and there your glorious chariots will be a disgrace to the house of your lord.

  • 22:18 Shebna not only exalted himself by the type of tomb he was building, but also by driving glorious chariots. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

19 I will remove you from your office; you will be ousted from your position.
20 “On that day I will call for my servant, Eliakim son of Hilkiah.

  • 22:20 Shebna’s replacement will be Eliakim son of Hilkiah, also known as a high official in King Hezekiah’s court (36:3, 11, 22; 37:22; 2Kg 18:18, 26, 37). He will be God’s servant, a title used elsewhere for Isaiah (20:3). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 2Ki 18:18

21 I will clothe him with your robe and tie your sash around him. I will hand your authority over to him, and he will be like a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the house of Judah.

  • 22:21 The robe and sash were symbols of the office of steward. As opposed to self-serving Shebna, Eliakim will function like a father, looking after the needs of his people. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1072). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

22 I will place the key of the house of David on his shoulder; what he opens, no one can close; what he closes, no one can open.

  • Job 12:14 If he tears down, none can rebuild; if he shuts a man in, none can open.

23 I will drive him, like a peg, into a firm place. He will be a throne of honor for his father’s family.

  • Ezr 9:8 But now for a brief moment favor has been shown by the LORD our God, to leave us a remnant and to give us a secure hold within his holy place, that our God may brighten our eyes and grant us a little reviving in our slavery.

24 They will hang on him all the glory of his father’s family: the descendants and the offshoots—all the small vessels, from bowls to every kind of jar. 25 On that day”—the declaration of the LORD of Armies—“the peg that was driven into a firm place will give way, be cut off, and fall, and the load on it will be destroyed.” Indeed, the LORD has spoken.

  • 22:24–25 Eliakim is compared to a shelf on which his family put a tremendous burden. The weight ultimately sheared off the peg, causing the shelf (Eliakim) to crash and its contents (his family’s burdens) to break. The message of the pronouncement seems to be that the people could not trust even a competent, well-intentioned person to resolve Jerusalem’s problems. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 22:1–25). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Chapter 23

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A PRONOUNCEMENT AGAINST TYRE

Oz note: Tyre and Sidon were high-traffic port cities on the Mediterranean Sea.


1 A pronouncement concerning Tyre:

Wail, ships of Tarshish,
for your haven has been destroyed.
Word has reached them from the land of Cyprus.

  • 23:1 Tyre was the southernmost major city of Phoenicia. It was a wealthy city due to its development and control of sea trade. As an island city (with overflow population living on the mainland) its major port was easily protected. Tyre had established a trading colony on Tarshish, thought to be in what is modern Spain (Tartessus). The ships of Tarshish were particularly impressive, since they traveled so far between Tyre and Iberia. The destruction of Tyre prophetically described in this pronouncement is difficult to pin down from the description made here. In the latter part of the eighth century and the early seventh century BC, the Assyrians tried to take Tyre a number of times. However, the pronouncement may also look forward to Nebuchadnezzar’s attack on Tyre (including a thirteen-year siege) in the sixth century and perhaps even to the final destruction of Tyre by Alexander the Great in 332 BC. Cyprus was a large island about seventy-five miles west of Tyre and would have been the last port of call before reaching Tyre. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Jer 25:22 all the kings of Tyre, all the kings of Sidon, and the kings of the coastland across the sea;
  • Jer 47:4 because of the day that is coming to destroy all the Philistines, to cut off from Tyre and Sidon every helper that remains. For the LORD is destroying the Philistines, the remnant of the coastland of Caphtor.
  • Amo 1:9 Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Tyre, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they delivered up a whole people to Edom, and did not remember the covenant of brotherhood.
  • Zec 9:2, 4 and on Hamath also, which borders on it, Tyre and Sidon, though they are very wise. 4 But behold, the Lord will strip her of her possessions and strike down her power on the sea, and she shall be devoured by fire.

2 Mourn, inhabitants of the coastland,
you merchants of Sidon;
your agents have crossed the sea

  • 23:2 Sidon was another important Phoenician trade port north of Tyre. Its mention indicates that, though the pronouncement was specifically directed toward Tyre (the city closest to Jerusalem), the whole of Phoenicia was under judgment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

3 over deep water.
Tyre’s revenue was the grain from Shihor—
the harvest of the Nile.
She was the merchant among the nations.

  • Eze 27:3 and say to Tyre, who dwells at the entrances to the sea, merchant of the peoples to many coastlands, thus says the Lord GOD: “O Tyre, you have said, ‘I am perfect in beauty.’
  • 23:3 Shihor is a name for the Nile valley. Phoenicia carried on trade with Egypt during much of its history. Egypt was well known for its production and export of grain. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

4 Be ashamed, Sidon, the stronghold of the sea,
for the sea has spoken:
“I have not been in labor or given birth.
I have not raised young men
or brought up young women.”

  • 23:4 The sea here is personified, perhaps evoking the idea that the sea (Hb yam) was an important god and rival of the Canaanite god Baal (though the following description fits a female much better). In any case, the sea will lament for its barrenness, perhaps a reference to the loss of Sidon.
  • Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

5 When the news reaches Egypt,
they will be in anguish over the news about Tyre.

  • Isa 19:16 In that day the Egyptians will be like women, and tremble with fear before the hand that the LORD of hosts shakes over them.

6 Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, inhabitants of the coastland!

  • 23:6 Because of the destruction of the Phoenician coastland, its inhabitants will have to disperse, some perhaps going as far as the trading colony of Tarshish Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

7 Is this your jubilant city,
whose origin was in ancient times,
whose feet have taken her
to reside far away?

  • 23:7 The jubilant city is Tyre, the ancient city that established Tarshish as a colony. After it is destroyed, its inhabitants will flee to Tarshish. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • Isa 22:2 you who are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle.

8 Who planned this against Tyre,
the bestower of crowns,
whose traders are princes,
whose merchants are the honored ones of the earth?

  • 23:8 Tyre’s wealth had brought her great power and prestige.
  • Eze 28:2, 12 “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, Thus says the Lord GOD: “Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, I sit in the seat of the gods, in the heart of the seas,’ yet you are but a man, and no god, though you make your heart like the heart of a god— 12 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over the king of Tyre, and say to him, Thus says the Lord GOD: “You were the signet of perfection, full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.

9 The LORD of Armies planned it,
to desecrate all its glorious beauty,
to disgrace all the honored ones of the earth.

  • Oz note: God is sovereign over all nations!

10 Overflow your land like the Nile, daughter of Tarshish;
there is no longer anything to restrain you.

  • 23:10 The Nile’s waters overflow annually, depositing a rich, fertile soil. As a result, the Nile also overflowed with human population. Now Tarshish will overflow with all the refugees from the destroyed cities of the Phoenician coastland. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 11 He stretched out his hand over the sea;
    he made kingdoms tremble.
    The LORD has commanded
    that the Canaanite fortresses be destroyed.

    • 23:11 God determines the fate of even the most powerful cities and strikes terror in the hearts of the nations (Ps 2). Phoenicia was considered a part of Canaan, and its fortresses may be referred to as Canaanite fortresses. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    12 He said,
    “You will not celebrate anymore,
    ravished young woman, daughter of Sidon.
    Get up and cross over to Cyprus—
    even there you will have no rest!”

    • 23:12 Sidon is compared to a rape victim, who must leave to seek refuge in Cyprus. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1073). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Rev 18:22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more,

    13 Look at the land of the Chaldeans—
    a people who no longer exist.
    Assyria destined it for desert creatures.
    They set up their siege towers
    and stripped its palaces.
    They made it a ruin.

    • 23:13–14 An analogy is drawn between the fall of the Chaldeans (the Aramaic-speaking tribe that produced the two rebels against Assyria—Merodach-baladan at the end of the eighth century and Nabopolassar at the end of the seventh century BC) and the fall of Tyre. Since the verse goes on to imply the fall of Babylon at the hands of the Assyrians, it probably refers to the first of these, not the second in which Babylon was victorious. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1074). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 72:9 May desert tribes bow down before him, and his enemies lick the dust!

    14 Wail, ships of Tarshish,
    because your fortress is destroyed!

    15 On that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years—the life span of one king. At the end of seventy years, what the song says about the prostitute will happen to Tyre:

    • 23:15–18 The pronouncement against Tyre ends with a note about its restoration. It also suggests that the city will turn to the Lord. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1074). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 23:15 Interestingly, seventy years is cited as the length of the exile and punishment of the people of God (Jr 25:12; Dn 9:2; Zch 1:12).

    16 Pick up your lyre,
    stroll through the city,
    you forgotten prostitute.
    Play skillfully,
    sing many a song
    so that you will be remembered.

    • 23:16 This song may have been popular in ancient Israel. It speaks of an old forgotten prostitute who tried to attract attention by singing songs. The revived Tyre is like this prostitute. The image of the prostitute suggests Tyre itself, since it was a trading city. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1074). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    17 And at the end of the seventy years, the LORD will restore Tyre and she will go back into business, prostituting herself with all the kingdoms of the world throughout the earth.

    • Rev 17:2

    18 But her profits and wages will be dedicated to the LORD. They will not be stored or saved, for her profit will go to those who live in the LORD’s presence, to provide them with ample food and sacred clothing.

    • Zec 14:20, 21 with whom the kings of the earth have committed sexual immorality, and with the wine of whose sexual immorality the dwellers on earth have become drunk.”

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 23:1–18). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


    Chapter 24

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    THE EARTH JUDGED

    1 Look, the LORD is stripping the earth bare
    and making it desolate.
    He will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants:

    • 24:1 While chaps. 13–23 focused on the judgment of particular nations, chaps. 24–27 speak of the whole earth (a word repeated twenty-three times) as the object of God’s punishment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1074). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    2 people and priest alike,
    servant and master,
    female servant and mistress,
    buyer and seller,
    lender and borrower,
    creditor and debtor.

    • Oz note: “Everyone”, no matter who you are, will be judged.
    • Hos 4:9 And it shall be like people, like priest; I will punish them for their ways and repay them for their deeds.
    • Eze 7:12, 13 The time has come; the day has arrived. Let not the buyer rejoice, nor the seller mourn, for wrath is upon all their multitude. 13 For the seller shall not return to what he has sold, while they live. For the vision concerns all their multitude; it shall not turn back; and because of his iniquity, none can maintain his life.

    3 The earth will be stripped completely bare
    and will be totally plundered,
    for the LORD has spoken this message.
    4 The earth mourns and withers;
    the world wastes away and withers;
    the exalted people of the earth waste away.
    5 The earth is polluted by its inhabitants,
    for they have transgressed teachings,
    overstepped decrees,
    and broken the permanent covenant.

    • 24:5 The cause of this horrific judgment is human sin. The people have broken the covenant between God and Israel (Ex 19–24). The reference to permanent covenant reminds the reader of the Noahic covenant between God and all the inhabitants of the earth (Gn 9:16). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1074). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Gen 3:17 And to Adam he said, “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    • Num 35:33 The cities shall be theirs to dwell in, and their pasturelands shall be for their cattle and for their livestock and for all their beasts

    6 Therefore a curse has consumed the earth,
    and its inhabitants have become guilty;
    the earth’s inhabitants have been burned,
    and only a few survive.

    • 24:6 The covenant form called for a curse if the law was broken (see Dt 27–28 in relationship to Dt 5–26). The remnant theme is seen here in the fact that a few will survive. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1074). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Mal 4:6 And he will turn the hearts of fathers to their children and the hearts of children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the land with a decree of utter destruction.”

    7 The new wine mourns;
    the vine withers.
    All the carousers now groan.

    • 24:7–9 God’s judgment brings joyful singing and drinking alcoholic beverages to an end. Both of these involved celebration. Wine and beer were the two main types of alcoholic drinks in the ancient Near East. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1074). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 16:8, 9 For the fields of Heshbon languish, and the vine of Sibmah; the lords of the nations have struck down its branches, which reached to Jazer and strayed to the desert; its shoots spread abroad and passed over the sea. 9 Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer for the vine of Sibmah; I drench you with my tears, O Heshbon and Elealeh; for over your summer fruit and your harvest the shout has ceased.
    • Joe 1:10, 12 Joe 1:10 The fields are destroyed, the ground mourns, because the grain is destroyed, the wine dries up, the oil languishes. Joe 1:12 The vine dries up; the fig tree languishes. Pomegranate, palm, and apple, all the trees of the field are dried up, and gladness dries up from the children of man.

    8 The joyful tambourines have ceased.
    The noise of the jubilant has stopped.
    The joyful lyre has ceased.

    • Jer 7:34 And I will silence in the cities of Judah and in the streets of Jerusalem the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, for the land shall become a waste.
    • Jer 16:9 For thus says the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold, I will silence in this place, before your eyes and in your days, the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride.
    • Jer 25:10 Moreover, I will banish from them the voice of mirth and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the grinding of the millstones and the light of the lamp.
    • Eze 26:13 And I will stop the music of your songs, and the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more.
    • Hos 2:11 And I will put an end to all her mirth, her feasts, her new moons, her Sabbaths, and all her appointed feasts.
    • Rev 18:22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more,

    9 They no longer sing and drink wine;
    beer is bitter to those who drink it.
    10 The city of chaos is shattered;
    every house is closed to entry.
    11 In the streets they cry for wine.
    All joy grows dark;
    earth’s rejoicing goes into exile.

    • 24:11 Wine production will decline, so the people will cry for wine but go unsatisfied. Wine is associated with joy and celebration; the judgment of God will bring such festivities to an end. Wine also blunts pain. This may be another reason the people will cry out for wine—because of the suffering that God’s judgment will produce. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1074). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    12 Only desolation remains in the city;
    its gate has collapsed in ruins.

    • Oz note: gate represents safety

    13 For this is how it will be on earth
    among the nations:
    like a harvested olive tree,
    like a gleaning after a grape harvest.

    • 24:13 A harvested olive tree or a grape vine after harvest had only a few olives or grapes. So the cities of the nations will have just a few people left when God’s judgment falls.Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1075). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 17:5, 6 And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain and his arm harvests the ears, and as when one gleans the ears of grain in the Valley of Rephaim. 6 Gleanings will be left in it, as when an olive tree is beaten— two or three berries in the top of the highest bough, four or five on the branches of a fruit tree, declares the LORD God of Israel.

    14 They raise their voices, they sing out;
    they proclaim in the west
    the majesty of the LORD.
    15 Therefore, in the east honor the LORD!
    In the coasts and islands of the west
    honor the name of the LORD,
    the God of Israel.

    • Mal 1:11 For from the rising of the sun to its setting my name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense will be offered to my name, and a pure offering. For my name will be great among the nations, says the LORD of hosts.

    16 From the ends of the earth we hear songs:
    The Splendor of the Righteous One.
    But I said, “I waste away! I waste away!
    Woe is me.”
    The treacherous act treacherously;
    the treacherous deal very treacherously.

    • 24:14–16a Those who sing out are not specifically identified. They could be Israel or the remnant from all the nations. The fact that they are in the west, the east, the coasts and islands of the west, and the ends of the earth, suggests that if it does refer to Israel, then it imagines a time when they will be scattered among the nations. In any case, these verses indicate that there were some people who celebrated the downfall of the wicked described in the previous verses.
    • 24:16b Isaiah (the first-person speaker) does not join the chorus of celebration of vv. 14–16a. Perhaps he was horrified by the destruction or, more likely, by the depth of the transgression of the nations. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1075). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Jer 5:11 For the house of Israel and the house of Judah have been utterly treacherous to me, declares the LORD.

    17 Panic, pit, and trap await you
    who dwell on the earth.

    • Jer 48:43-44 Terror, pit, and snare are before you, O inhabitant of Moab! declares the LORD. 44 He who flees from the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For I will bring these things upon Moab, the year of their punishment, declares the LORD.

    18 Whoever flees at the sound of panic
    will fall into a pit,
    and whoever escapes from the pit
    will be caught in a trap.
    For the floodgates on high are opened,
    and the foundations of the earth are shaken.

    • 24:17–18 The words panic, pit, and trap (pachad, wapachat, wapach) play on the similarity of sound of these three words in Hebrew. They stand for the judgment that God has prepared for the sinful inhabitants of the earth. The open windows of the sky imply rain and suggest devastating flood. The shaking foundations would be experienced as earthquakes. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1075). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Gen 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, on the seventeenth day of the month, on that day all the fountains of the great deep burst forth, and the windows of the heavens were opened.
    • Psa 18:7 Then the earth reeled and rocked; the foundations also of the mountains trembled and quaked, because he was angry.

    19 The earth is completely devastated;
    the earth is split open;
    the earth is violently shaken.

    • Jer 4:23 I looked on the earth, and behold, it was without form and void; and to the heavens, and they had no light.

    20 The earth staggers like a drunkard
    and sways like a hut.
    Earth’s rebellion weighs it down,
    and it falls, never to rise again.

    • 24:20 A drunkard cannot think or stand straight. A lightweight hut sways in the wind. Both ultimately will fall down. This judgment is connected to rebellion against God by virtually all people on earth. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1075). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 19:14 The LORD has mingled within her a spirit of confusion, and they will make Egypt stagger in all its deeds, as a drunken man staggers in his vomit.

    21 On that day the LORD will punish
    the army of the heights in the heights
    and the kings of the ground on the ground.

    • 24:21 The phrase on that day points to a future but unspecified time. God’s judgment is extensive. It not only covers the earth but also the army of the heights, a phrase that either indicates the stars (perhaps also suggesting pagan deities) or fallen angels. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1075). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 76:12 who cuts off the spirit of princes, who is to be feared by the kings of the earth.

    22 They will be gathered together
    like prisoners in a pit.
    They will be confined to a dungeon;
    after many days they will be punished.
    23 The moon will be put to shame
    and the sun disgraced,
    because the LORD of Armies will reign as king
    on Mount Zion in Jerusalem,
    and he will display his glory
    in the presence of his elders.

    • 24:23 Even the moon and sun will pale in comparison with the brilliant light emanating from God as he exercises his sovereign rule from the temple. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1075). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 13:10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations will not give their light; the sun will be dark at its rising, and the moon will not shed its light.
    • Isa 60:19 The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory.
    • Eze 32:7 When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light.
    • Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
    • Joe 3:15 The sun and the moon are darkened, and the stars withdraw their shining.
    • Rev 19:4, 6 And the twenty-four elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God who was seated on the throne, saying, “Amen. Hallelujah!” 6 Then I heard what seemed to be the voice of a great multitude, like the roar of many waters and like the sound of mighty peals of thunder, crying out, “Hallelujah! For the Lord our God the Almighty reigns.
    • Heb 12:22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering,

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 24:1–23). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 25

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    SALVATION AND JUDGMENT ON THAT DAY

    1 LORD, you are my God;
    I will exalt you. I will praise your name,
    for you have accomplished wonders,
    plans formed long ago, with perfect faithfulness.

    • Exo 15:2 The LORD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation; this is my God, and I will praise him, my father’s God, and I will exalt him.
    • Psa 98:1 A Psalm. Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
    • Num 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

    2 For you have turned the city into a pile of rocks,
    a fortified city, into ruins;
    the fortress of barbarians is no longer a city;
    it will never be rebuilt.

    • Isa 21:9 And behold, here come riders, horsemen in pairs!” And he answered, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon; and all the carved images of her gods he has shattered to the ground.”
    • Isa 23:13 Behold the land of the Chaldeans! This is the people that was not; Assyria destined it for wild beasts. They erected their siege towers, they stripped her palaces bare, they made her a ruin.
    • Jer 51:37 and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, the haunt of jackals, a horror and a hissing, without inhabitant.

    3 Therefore, a strong people will honor you.
    The cities of violent nations will fear you.

    • Rev 11:13 And at that hour there was a great earthquake, and a tenth of the city fell. Seven thousand people were killed in the earthquake, and the rest were terrified and gave glory to the God of heaven.

    4 For you have been a stronghold for the poor person,
    a stronghold for the needy in his distress,
    a refuge from storms and a shade from heat.
    When the breath of the violent
    is like a storm against a wall,

    • Isa 4:6 There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

    5 like heat in a dry land,
    you will subdue the uproar of barbarians.
    As the shade of a cloud cools the heat of the day,
    so he will silence the song of the violent.

    6 On this mountain,
    the LORD of Armies will prepare for all the peoples a feast of choice meat,
    a feast with aged wine, prime cuts of choice meat, fine vintage wine.

    • The mountain refers to the mountain of God’s presence—Zion
      Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1076). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 2:2,3 It shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the house of the LORD shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be lifted up above the hills; and all the nations shall flow to it, 3 and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
    • Pro 9:2 She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table.
    • Mat 22:4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves have been slaughtered, and everything is ready. Come to the wedding feast.”‘
    • Dan 7:14 And to him was given dominion and glory and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve him; his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom one that shall not be destroyed.
    • Mat 8:11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven,

    7 On this mountain
    he will swallow up the burial shroud,
    the shroud over all the peoples,
    the sheet covering all the nations.

    • 2Co 3:15 Yes, to this day whenever Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts.
    • Eph 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.

    8 When he has swallowed up death once and for all,
    the Lord GOD will wipe away the tears
    from every face
    and remove his people’s disgrace
    from the whole earth,
    for the LORD has spoken.

    • 25:7–8 God not only conquers the evil nations, but death and sorrow (tears) and disgrace. The verb translated destroy is better rendered as “swallow.” Here there is likely an allusion to the Baal myth of Ugarit where death swallowed the god Baal. Here the Lord swallows death. Paul quotes v. 8 in 1Co 15:54.
      Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1076). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Hos 13:14 Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol? Shall I redeem them from Death? O Death, where are your plagues? O Sheol, where is your sting? Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
    • 1Co 15:54 When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
    • Rev 7:17 For the Lamb in the midst of the throne will be their shepherd, and he will guide them to springs of living water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
    • Rev 21:4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

    9 On that day it will be said,
    “Look, this is our God;
    we have waited for him, and he has saved us.
    This is the LORD; we have waited for him.
    Let’s rejoice and be glad in his salvation.”

    • Gen 49:18 I wait for your salvation, O LORD.
    • Tit 2:13 waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
    • Psa 20:5 May we shout for joy over your salvation, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfill all your petitions!

    10 For the LORD’s power will rest on this mountain.

    But Moab will be trampled in his place
    as straw is trampled in a dung pile.

  • 25:10 The mountain is where God will make his presence known—Zion. Up to this point the nations have been referred to generically. Now Moab, a small nation east of the Dead Sea, becomes the subject of the pronouncement. Moab is a prime example of the sinful pride of the nations.
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1076). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
  • 11 He will spread out his arms in the middle of it,
    as a swimmer spreads out his arms to swim.
    His pride will be brought low,
    along with the trickery of his hands.
    12 The high-walled fortress will be brought down,
    thrown to the ground, to the dust.

    • Isa 26:5 For he has humbled the inhabitants of the height, the lofty city. He lays it low, lays it low to the ground, casts it to the dust.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 25:1–12). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 26

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    THE SONG OF JUDAH

    1 On that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah:

    We have a strong city.
    Salvation is established as walls and ramparts.

    • Oz note: “rampart” is a fortress
    • Isa 2:11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
    • Isa 60:18 Violence shall no more be heard in your land, devastation or destruction within your borders; you shall call your walls Salvation, and your gates Praise.

    2 Open the gates
    so a righteous nation can come in—
    one that remains faithful.

    • 26:2 The righteous nation includes faithful Israelites but might also suggest other peoples as well, since the defining characteristic of the nation is that it remains faithful to God and his law.
      Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1076). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 118:19, 20 Open to me the gates of righteousness, that I may enter through them and give thanks to the LORD. 20 This is the gate of the LORD; the righteous shall enter through it.

    3 You will keep the mind that is dependent on you
    in perfect peace,
    for it is trusting in you.
    4 Trust in the LORD forever,
    because in the LORD, the LORD himself, is an everlasting rock!

    • Isa 45:17 But Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation; you shall not be put to shame or confounded to all eternity.

    5 For he has humbled those who live in lofty places—
    an inaccessible city.
    He brings it down; he brings it down to the ground;
    he throws it to the dust.

    • 26:5 The inaccessible city, like the “city of chaos” (see note at 24:10), represents the proud who do not humble themselves before God. Though it is called “inaccessible,” God is able to defeat this city in spite of its pretensions. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 25:12 And the high fortifications of his walls he will bring down, lay low, and cast to the ground, to the dust.
    • Isa 32:19 And it will hail when the forest falls down, and the city will be utterly laid low.

    6 Feet trample it,
    the feet of the humble,
    the steps of the poor.

    GOD’S PEOPLE VINDICATED

    7 The path of the righteous is level;
    you clear a straight path for the righteous.

    • 26:7 A level or straight path is a life with few problems (Heb 12:13). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 37:23 The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way;

    8 Yes, LORD, we wait for you
    in the path of your judgments.
    Our desire is for your name and renown.

    • 26:8 In this verse Isaiah spoke on behalf of himself and the righteous as he expressed longing for God and specifically for God’s coming judgment on the wicked. But even in the context of passionate desire for God, they did not demand his actions but expressed confidence (we wait). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 64:5 You meet him who joyfully works righteousness, those who remember you in your ways. Behold, you were angry, and we sinned; in our sins we have been a long time, and shall we be saved?

    9 I long for you in the night;
    yes, my spirit within me diligently seeks you,
    for when your judgments are in the land,
    the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.

    • Psa 63:6 when I remember you upon my bed, and meditate on you in the watches of the night;
    • Song of Sol 3:1 On my bed by night I sought him whom my soul loves; I sought him, but found him not.

    10 But if the wicked man is shown favor,
    he does not learn righteousness.
    In a righteous land he acts unjustly
    and does not see the majesty of the LORD.

    • 26:9–10 People learn about righteousness when wickedness is punished. Otherwise, evil behavior is encouraged (Ec 8:11). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Ecc 8:12 Though a sinner does evil a hundred times and prolongs his life, yet I know that it will be well with those who fear God, because they fear before him.
    • Rom 2:4 Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?
    • Psa 143:10 Teach me to do your will, for you are my God! Let your good Spirit lead me on level ground!

    11 LORD, your hand is lifted up to take action,
    but they do not see it.
    Let them see your zeal for your people
    and be put to shame.

    • Job 34:27 because they turned aside from following him and had no regard for any of his ways,
    • Psa 28:5 Because they do not regard the works of the LORD or the work of his hands, he will tear them down and build them up no more.
    • Isa 5:12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands.

    Let fire consume your adversaries.
    12 LORD, you will establish peace for us,
    for you have also done all our work for us.

    • 26:12 Contrary to the fate of the wicked, God’s righteous people will experience peace, not destruction. While it is difficult to pinpoint the exact nature of the prophet’s reference to God’s work, it certainly includes the punishment of the wicked. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    13 LORD our God, lords other than you have owned us,
    but we remember your name alone.

    • 26:13 The faithful acknowledge that other lords have owned them. These would include the Assyrians and eventually the Babylonians and others. But for the faithful there is only one true ruler—God himself. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2Ch 12:8 Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

    14 The dead do not live;
    departed spirits do not rise up.
    Indeed, you have punished and destroyed them;
    you have wiped out all memory of them.
    15 You have added to the nation, LORD.
    You have added to the nation; you are honored.
    You have expanded all the borders of the land.

    • 26:15 In contrast to the wicked whom he punishes, God blesses the righteous. In this verse his blessing takes the form of an expanded land, evoking the memory that God promised Abraham his descendants would become a “great nation” (Gn 12:2). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    16 LORD, they went to you in their distress;
    they poured out whispered prayers
    because your discipline fell on them.

    • Hos 5:15 Nevertheless, they shall be servants to him, that they may know my service and the service of the kingdoms of the countries.”

    17 As a pregnant woman about to give birth
    writhes and cries out in her pains,
    so we were before you, LORD.

    • Isa 13:8 They will be dismayed: pangs and agony will seize them; they will be in anguish like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at one another; their faces will be aflame.
    • Joh 16:21 When a woman is giving birth, she has sorrow because her hour has come, but when she has delivered the baby, she no longer remembers the anguish, for joy that a human being has been born into the world.

    18 We became pregnant, we writhed in pain;
    we gave birth to wind.
    We have won no victories on earth,
    and the earth’s inhabitants have not fallen.

    • 26:16–18 Turning from the future back to the present, God’s people experienced suffering similar to the excruciating pain of a woman in labor. A pregnant woman goes through that pain and receives a positive result at the end—a baby. However, God’s people went through the pain and simply passed gas (gave birth to wind). There was no deliverance, no victory over enemies. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 17:14 from men by your hand, O LORD, from men of the world whose portion is in this life. You fill their womb with treasure; they are satisfied with children, and they leave their abundance to their infants.

    19 Your dead will live; their bodies will rise.
    Awake and sing, you who dwell in the dust!
    For you will be covered with the morning dew,
    and the earth will bring out the departed spirits.

    • 26:19 In contrast to the wicked who die and stay dead (v. 14), God’s people will live again. The morning dew is an image of freshness and renewal. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Eze 37:1 The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out in the Spirit of the LORD and set me down in the middle of the valley; it was full of bones.
    • Dan 12:2 And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.

    20 Go, my people, enter your rooms
    and close your doors behind you.
    Hide for a little while until the wrath has passed.

    • Exo 12:22, 23 Take a bunch of hyssop and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and touch the lintel and the two doorposts with the blood that is in the basin. None of you shall go out of the door of his house until the morning. 23 For the LORD will pass through to strike the Egyptians, and when he sees the blood on the lintel and on the two doorposts, the LORD will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to enter your houses to strike you.
    • Psa 30:5 For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.
    • Isa 54:7, 8 For a brief moment I deserted you, but with great compassion I will gather you. 8 In overflowing anger for a moment I hid my face from you, but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,” says the LORD, your Redeemer.
    • 2Co 4:17 For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison,

    21 For look, the LORD is coming from his place
    to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity.
    The earth will reveal the blood shed on it
    and will no longer conceal her slain.

    • 26:20–21 The call to hide during the judgment is reminiscent of the first Passover when God’s people stayed in their homes while God took the lives of the Egyptian firstborn (Ex 12). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1077). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Mic 1:3 For behold, the LORD is coming out of his place, and will come down and tread upon the high places of the earth.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 26:1–21). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 27

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    LEVIATHAN SLAIN

    1 On that day the LORD with his relentless, large, strong sword will bring judgment on Leviathan, the fleeing serpent—Leviathan, the twisting serpent. He will slay the monster that is in the sea.

    • Psa 74:13, 14 You divided the sea by your might; you broke the heads of the sea monsters on the waters. 14 You crushed the heads of Leviathan; you gave him as food for the creatures of the wilderness.
    • Isa 51:19 These two things have happened to you— who will console you?— devastation and destruction, famine and sword; who will comfort you?
    • Eze 29:3 speak, and say, Thus says the Lord GOD: “Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his streams, that says, ‘My Nile is my own; I made it for myself.’
    • Eze 32:2 “Son of man, raise a lamentation over Pharaoh king of Egypt and say to him: “You consider yourself a lion of the nations, but you are like a dragon in the seas; you burst forth in your rivers, trouble the waters with your feet, and foul their rivers.
    • 27:1 Leviathan was well-known from ancient Canaanite mythology. Leviathan was a sea monster, representing chaos and evil in this verse. Brevard Childs says that Isaiah used this image to proclaim that God “will destroy not only historical forms of evil, but strike against its cosmic source once and for all” (Isaiah). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    THE LORD’S VINEYARD

    2 On that day
    sing about a desirable vineyard:

    • Isa 5:1 Let me sing for my beloved my love song concerning his vineyard: My beloved had a vineyard on a very fertile hill.
    • Psa 80:8 You brought a vine out of Egypt; you drove out the nations and planted it.
    • Jer 2:21 Yet I planted you a choice vine, wholly of pure seed. How then have you turned degenerate and become a wild vine?

    3 I am the LORD, who watches over it
    to water it regularly.
    So that no one disturbs it,
    I watch over it night and day.

    • Psa 121:4, 5 Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. 5 The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand.

    4 I am not angry.
    If only there were thorns and briers for me to battle,
    I would trample them
    and burn them to the ground.

    • 2Sa 23:6 But worthless men are all like thorns that are thrown away, for they cannot be taken with the hand;
    • Isa 9:18 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.

    5 Or let it take hold of my strength;
    let it make peace with me—
    make peace with me.

    • Isa 25:4 For you have been a stronghold to the poor, a stronghold to the needy in his distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat; for the breath of the ruthless is like a storm against a wall,
    • Job 22:21 “Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.
    • 27:4–5 In these verses the thorns and briers seem to represent rebellion against God—the type of behavior that led to judgment in the first place. The thorns and briers have two possible courses of action: they can experience the devastating punishment of God or they can make peace with him. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    6 In days to come, Jacob will take root.
    Israel will blossom and bloom
    and fill the whole world with fruit.

    • Isa 37:31 And the surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downward and bear fruit upward.
    • Hos 14:5, 6 I will be like the dew to Israel; he shall blossom like the lily; he shall take root like the trees of Lebanon; 6 his shoots shall spread out; his beauty shall be like the olive, and his fragrance like Lebanon.
    • 27:2–6 The desirable vineyard is a metaphor for God’s people. The poem has many contrasts with the vineyard song of 5:1–7. There the vineyard image is used to emphasize God’s judgment on sin; here the vineyard image describes the restoration of his people after judgment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 27:6 The prophet Isaiah saw a prosperous future for God’s people, one that would bring prosperity to the whole world (Gn 12:1–3).

    7 Did the LORD strike Israel
    as he struck the one who struck Israel?
    Was Israel killed like those killed by the LORD?

    • 27:7 God indeed will judge his people, but he will not annihilate them as he will do with those whom he uses to punish them (Assyria in the eighth century BC and Babylon in the sixth). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    8 You disputed with Israel
    by banishing and driving her away.
    He removed her with his severe storm
    on the day of the east wind.

    • Job 23:6 Would he contend with me in the greatness of his power? No; he would pay attention to me.
    • Psa 6:1 To the choirmaster: with stringed instruments; according to The Sheminith. A Psalm of David. O LORD, rebuke me not in your anger, nor discipline me in your wrath.
    • Jer 10:24 Correct me, O LORD, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.
    • Jer 30:11 For I am with you to save you, declares the LORD; I will make a full end of all the nations among whom I scattered you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.
    • Jer 46:28 Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, for I am with you. I will make a full end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.”
    • 1Co 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
    • Psa 78:38 Yet he, being compassionate, atoned for their iniquity and did not destroy them; he restrained his anger often and did not stir up all his wrath.
    • 27:8 Rather than annihilating his people, God will scatter them. The image of a windy storm (the east wind was a particularly hot, dangerous wind coming off the desert) evokes the picture of chaff being blown away. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    9 Therefore Jacob’s iniquity will be atoned for in this way,
    and the result of the removal of his sin will be this:
    when he makes all the altar stones
    like crushed bits of chalk,
    no Asherah poles or incense altars will remain standing.

    • 27:9 God’s punishment of his people will be a cleansing (will be atoned for), a renewing, not a complete destruction. In particular, their idolatrous practices will be removed. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    10 For the fortified city will be desolate,
    pastures deserted and abandoned like a wilderness.
    Calves will graze there,
    and there they will spread out and strip its branches.

    • Isa 17:2 The cities of Aroer are deserted; they will be for flocks, which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.
    • Isa 32:14 For the palace is forsaken, the populous city deserted; the hill and the watchtower will become dens forever, a joy of wild donkeys, a pasture of flocks;

    11 When its branches dry out, they will be broken off.
    Women will come and make fires with them,
    for they are not a people with understanding.
    Therefore their Maker will not have compassion on them,
    and their Creator will not be gracious to them.

    • Deu 32:28 “For they are a nation void of counsel, and there is no understanding in them.
    • Isa 1:3 The ox knows its owner, and the donkey its master’s crib, but Israel does not know, my people do not understand.”
    • Jer 8:7 Even the stork in the heavens knows her times, and the turtledove, swallow, and crane keep the time of their coming, but my people know not the rules of the LORD.
    • Deu 32:18 You were unmindful of the Rock that bore you, and you forgot the God who gave you birth.
    • Isa 43:1, 7 But now thus says the LORD, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. 7 everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.”
    • Isa 44:2, 21, 24 Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. 21 Remember these things, O Jacob, and Israel, for you are my servant; I formed you; you are my servant; O Israel, you will not be forgotten by me. 24 Thus says the LORD, your Redeemer, who formed you from the womb: “I am the LORD, who made all things, who alone stretched out the heavens, who spread out the earth by myself,
    • 27:10–11 The fortified city, like the “city of chaos” and the “inaccessible city”, represents arrogant human evil. In the aftermath of God’s judgment, this city will become grazing land. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    12 On that day
    the LORD will thresh grain from the Euphrates River
    as far as the Wadi of Egypt,
    and you Israelites will be gathered one by one.

    • 27:12 The Euphrates River and the Wadi of Egypt were the far northern and southern boundaries of the promised land. The image of threshing grain represents refining judgment since the process separated the wheat from the chaff. But the aftermath of the punishment will bring a regathering of God’s dispersed people. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    13 On that day
    a great ram’s horn will be blown,
    and those lost in the land of Assyria will come,
    as well as those dispersed in the land of Egypt;
    and they will worship the LORD
    at Jerusalem on the holy mountain.

    • Isa 2:11 The haughty looks of man shall be brought low, and the lofty pride of men shall be humbled, and the LORD alone will be exalted in that day.
    • Mat 24:31 And he will send out his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.
    • Rev 11:15 Then the seventh angel blew his trumpet, and there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign forever and ever.”
    • 27:13 The Israelites will come back for the purpose of worship. The holy mountain refers to Zion, the location of the temple. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1078). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 27:1–13). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 28

    730 B.C.

    Return to top

    WOE TO SAMARIA

    Woe to the majestic crown of Ephraim’s drunkards,
    and to the fading flower of its beautiful splendor,
    which is on the summit above the rich valley.
    Woe to those overcome with wine.

    • 28:1 Woe marks the beginning of a pronouncement connected to a funeral procession (see note at 1:4). This is the first woe in chaps. 28–33 (29:1, 15; 30:1; 31:1; 33:1). The effect of the pronouncement is to announce that the object of the pronouncement, in this case the northern kingdom of Israel (called by the name of its major tribe Ephraim), is as good as dead. The majestic crown of Ephraim may be a reference to its capital city Samaria, which sat atop a large hill overlooking the area. The reference to heavy drinking in the northern kingdom may be because of an abuse of alcohol in the region, particularly among its leaders, but this also fits with the prophetic theme of the cup of wrath (Jr 12). God will make the objects of his anger drink from this cup so they will become disoriented and eventually pass out. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1079). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    2 Look, the Lord has a strong and mighty one—
    like a devastating hail storm,
    like a storm with strong flooding water.
    He will bring it across the land with his hand.

    • Isa 30:30 And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.
    • Eze 13:11 say to those who smear it with whitewash that it shall fall! There will be a deluge of rain, and you, O great hailstones, will fall, and a stormy wind break out.

    3 The majestic crown of Ephraim’s drunkards
    will be trampled underfoot.
    4 The fading flower of his beautiful splendor,
    which is on the summit above the rich valley,
    will be like a ripe fig before the summer harvest.
    Whoever sees it will swallow it
    while it is still in his hand.
    5 On that day
    the LORD of Armies will become a crown of beauty
    and a diadem of splendor
    to the remnant of his people,
    6 a spirit of justice
    to the one who sits in judgment,
    and strength
    to those who repel attacks at the city gate.

    • 28:5–6 While the majestic crown of Ephraim will be “trampled underfoot” (28:3), God himself will become a crown of beauty for the remnant—for the righteous who survive the punishments to come and form the nucleus for a new people of God. Inspired by God, judges will again be just and soldiers will again have the strength to defend their city. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1079). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    7 Even these stagger because of wine
    and stumble under the influence of beer:
    Priest and prophet stagger because of beer.
    They are confused by wine.
    They stumble because of beer.
    They are muddled in their visions.
    They stumble in their judgments.

    • Pro 20:1 Wine is a mocker, strong drink a brawler, and whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
    • Hos 4:11 whoredom, wine, and new wine, which take away the understanding.
    • Isa 56:10, 12 His watchmen are blind; they are all without knowledge; they are all silent dogs; they cannot bark, dreaming, lying down, loving to slumber. 12 “Come,” they say, “let me get wine; let us fill ourselves with strong drink; and tomorrow will be like this day, great beyond measure.”
    • 28:7–13 While vv. 1–6 criticize the nobility for their drunken behavior, this section focuses on the priests and prophets.
    • 28:7–8 The priests and prophets were crucial to the spiritual leadership of the nation, but here they had clouded their thought with drink. They had drunk so much alcohol that they were covered with vomit, an unflattering and undignified portrait of people who had such an important task. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1079). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    8 Indeed, all their tables are covered with vomit;
    there is no place without a stench.
    9 Who is he trying to teach?
    Who is he trying to instruct?
    Infants just weaned from milk?
    Babies removed from the breast?

    • Jer 6:10 To whom shall I speak and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ears are uncircumcised, they cannot listen; behold, the word of the LORD is to them an object of scorn; they take no pleasure in it.
    • 28:9–10 These decadent leaders were acting as if they were teaching babies and not adults. The content of their teaching was mocked. What they said was repetitive and meaningless. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1079). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    10 “Law after law, law after law,
    line after line, line after line,
    a little here, a little there.”
    11 For he will speak to this people
    with stammering speech
    and in a foreign language.

    • 1Co 14:21 In the Law it is written, “By people of strange tongues and by the lips of foreigners will I speak to this people, and even then they will not listen to me, says the Lord.”

    12 He had said to them,
    “This is the place of rest;
    let the weary rest;
    this is the place of repose.”
    But they would not listen.

    • 28:11–12 Since God’s people had been so irresponsible and had refused to rest contentedly in God, he will speak to his people with stammering speech and in a foreign language—Akkadian, the language of the Assyrians. Paul quotes these verses in 1Co 14:21 in the context of speaking in other languages. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1080). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    13 The word of the LORD will come to them:
    “Law after law, law after law,
    line after line, line after line,
    a little here, a little there,”
    so they go stumbling backward,
    to be broken, trapped, and captured.

    A DEAL WITH DEATH

    NOTE: 28:14–22 The pronouncement now shifts its focus from the northern kingdom to the southern.

    14 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers
    who rule this people in Jerusalem.

    • 28:14 Scoffers were those who did not fear God and who made fun of those who did (Pr 1:22; 9:7–8, 12; 13:1). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1080). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    15 For you said, “We have made a covenant with Death,
    and we have an agreement with Sheol;
    when the overwhelming catastrophe passes through,
    it will not touch us,
    because we have made falsehood our refuge
    and have hidden behind treachery.”

    • Amo 2:4 Thus says the LORD: “For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not revoke the punishment, because they have rejected the law of the LORD, and have not kept his statutes, but their lies have led them astray, those after which their fathers walked.
    • 28:15 The rulers of Judah had entered a dangerous agreement. The agreement is said to be with Death and Sheol. Sheol refers to the grave and in some contexts signifies the underworld. Isaiah probably referred to treaties with foreign nations to try to keep Assyria (the overwhelming catastrophe) from defeating them. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1080). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    16 Therefore the Lord GOD said:
    “Look, I have laid a stone in Zion,
    a tested stone,
    a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation;
    the one who believes will be unshakable.

    • 28:16 It was not foreign alliances that made Judah strong. It was their relationship with God. He was the one who had built it, cornerstone and foundation. A precise identification of the tested stone is elusive. John Goldingay (Isaiah) remarks that the stone “has been identified with the law, the temple, the monarchy, the city, the saving work of Yahweh, the people’s relationship with Yahweh, the true believing community, Zion itself, the Messiah, faith, the remnant, or the actual promise about the one who trusts.” The allusion may be to all of the above. This verse is quoted in Rm 9:33; 10:11; 1Pt 2:6. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1080). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Gen 49:24 yet his bow remained unmoved; his arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel),
    • Psa 118:22 The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone.
    • Mat 21:42 Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’?
    • Act 4:11 This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone.
    • Rom 9:33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
    • Rom 10:11 For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”
    • Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.
    • 1Pe 2:6-8 For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”

    17 And I will make justice the measuring line
    and righteousness the mason’s level.”
    Hail will sweep away the false refuge,
    and water will flood your hiding place.
    18 Your covenant with Death will be dissolved,
    and your agreement with Sheol will not last.
    When the overwhelming catastrophe passes through,
    you will be trampled.
    19 Every time it passes through,
    it will carry you away;
    it will pass through every morning—
    every day and every night.
    Only terror will cause you
    to understand the message.
    20 Indeed, the bed is too short to stretch out on,
    and its cover too small to wrap up in.

    • 28:20 The arrangements that Judah had made to protect itself against Assyria were inadequate, like a bed that was too short. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1080). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    21 For the LORD will rise up as he did at Mount Perazim.
    He will rise in wrath, as at the Valley of Gibeon,
    to do his work, his unexpected work,
    and to perform his task, his unfamiliar task.

    • 28:21 At Perazim (described in 2Sm 5:20 as a “bursting flood”) God gave David a great victory over the Philistines. At the Valley of Gibeon, God used hailstones to allow Joshua to defeat the southern coalition of Canaanite city-states (Jos 10:11). Though this pronouncement and many of Isaiah’s pronouncements describe God’s violent judgment against the nations, here it is called unexpected and unfamiliar. It was not the typical, normal, hoped-for mode of relationship, particularly with his covenant people. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1080). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2Sa 5:20 And David came to Baal-perazim, and David defeated them there. And he said, “The LORD has broken through my enemies before me like a breaking flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.
    • 1Ch 14:11 And he went up to Baal-perazim, and David struck them down there. And David said, “God has broken through my enemies by my hand, like a bursting flood.” Therefore the name of that place is called Baal-perazim.
    • Josh 10:10 And the LORD threw them into a panic before Israel, who struck them with a great blow at Gibeon and chased them by the way of the ascent of Beth-horon and struck them as far as Azekah and Makkedah.
    • 2Sa 5:25 And David did as the LORD commanded him, and struck down the Philistines from Geba to Gezer.
    • 1Ch 14:16 And David did as God commanded him, and they struck down the Philistine army from Gibeon to Gezer.
    • Lam 3:33 for he does not afflict from his heart or grieve the children of men.

    22 So now, do not scoff,
    or your shackles will become stronger.
    Indeed, I have heard from the Lord GOD of Armies
    a decree of destruction for the whole land.

    • 28:22 Though God’s judgment against the mocking leaders of Judah is certain, their future behavior will determine whether it becomes even worse (your shackles will become stronger). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1080). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Dan 9:27 And he shall make a strong covenant with many for one week, and for half of the week he shall put an end to sacrifice and offering. And on the wing of abominations shall come one who makes desolate, until the decreed end is poured out on the desolator.”
    • Isa 10:22 For though your people Israel be as the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness.

    GOD’S WONDERFUL ADVICE

    NOTE: 28:23–29 In this section Isaiah drew an analogy between a farmer’s task and God’s treatment of Judah. Good results come from different actions and different methods applied at different times. The passage has the feel of a parable. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1080). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    23 Listen and hear my voice.
    Pay attention and hear what I say.
    24 Does the plowman plow every day to plant seed?
    Does he continuously break up and cultivate the soil?
    25 When he has leveled its surface,
    does he not then scatter black cumin and sow cumin?
    He plants wheat in rows and barley in plots,
    with spelt as their border.
    26 His God teaches him order;
    he instructs him.

    • 28:24–26 The farmer (plowman) does not just keep plowing; he also sows seed. He places the various seeds in their separate places. This order comes from God himself. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (pp. 1080–1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    27 Certainly black cumin is not threshed
    with a threshing board,
    and a cart wheel is not rolled over the cumin.
    But black cumin is beaten out with a stick,
    and cumin with a rod.

    28:27 Each plant has its proper treatment. The analogy may point to the fact that God exercises his judgment against sinners in a way that is appropriate to their specific situation. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    28 Bread grain is crushed,
    but is not threshed endlessly.
    Though the wheel of the farmer’s cart rumbles,
    his horses do not crush it.
    29 This also comes from the LORD of Armies.
    He gives wondrous advice;
    he gives great wisdom.

    • 28:28–29 But the crushing and threshing, images of judgment, are not endless activities. It comes to an end. Threshing and the cessation of threshing produce good bread, so judgment and its aftermath produce good results as well. The order of the farmer’s task as well as God’s “unexpected work” (v. 21) are a result of God’s great wisdom. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 92:5 How great are your works, O LORD! Your thoughts are very deep!
    • Jer 32:19 great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the children of man, rewarding each one according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 28:1–29). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 29

    730 B.C.

    Return to top

    WOE TO JERUSALEM

    Woe to Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David camped!
    Continue year after year;
    let the festivals recur.

    • 29:1 Ariel stands for Jerusalem. What the word means is difficult to discern. It could mean “lion of God,” but more likely it refers to “altar hearth,” its meaning in Ezk 43:15 in reference to the hearth of the sanctuary. This chapter is a pronouncement of woe (see note at 1:4) against Jerusalem. This is the second woe presented in chaps. 28–33 (28:1; 29:15; 30:1; 31:1; 33:1). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Eze 43:15, 16 and the altar hearth, four cubits; and from the altar hearth projecting upward, four horns. 16 The altar hearth shall be square, twelve cubits long by twelve broad.
    • 2Sa 5:9 And David lived in the stronghold and called it the city of David. And David built the city all around from the Millo inward.

    2 I will oppress Ariel,
    and there will be mourning and crying,
    and she will be to me like an Ariel.

    • 29:2 God will turn Jerusalem into an Ariel—an altar hearth. The meaning seems to be that he will destroy it by fire. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    3 I will camp in a circle around you;
    I will besiege you with earth ramps,
    and I will set up my siege towers against you.

    • 29:3 Though on a literal level it will be Assyria that will set up a siege around Jerusalem, the prophet knew that it would do so only as an agent of the Lord. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    4 You will be brought down;
    you will speak from the ground,
    and your words will come from low in the dust.
    Your voice will be like that of a spirit from the ground;
    your speech will whisper from the dust.

    • 29:4 God speaks to Jerusalem in the second person (you … your) and thus personifies the city. He will kill Jerusalem, and it will be like a buried body (speak from the ground). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 8:19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of the mediums and the necromancers who chirp and mutter,” should not a people inquire of their God? Should they inquire of the dead on behalf of the living?

    5 Your many foes will be like fine dust,
    and many of the ruthless, like blowing chaff.
    Then suddenly, in an instant,

    • Isa 25:5 like heat in a dry place. You subdue the noise of the foreigners; as heat by the shade of a cloud, so the song of the ruthless is put down.
    • Job 21:18 That they are like straw before the wind, and like chaff that the storm carries away?
    • Isa 17:13 The nations roar like the roaring of many waters, but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away, chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind and whirling dust before the storm.
    • Isa 30:13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;

    6 you will be punished by the LORD of Armies
    with thunder, earthquake, and loud noise,
    storm, tempest, and a flame of consuming fire.

    • Isa 28:2 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand.
    • Isa 30:30 And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.

    7 All the many nations
    going out to battle against Ariel—
    all the attackers, the siege works against her,
    and those who oppress her—
    will then be like a dream, a vision in the night.

    • Job 20:8 He will fly away like a dream and not be found; he will be chased away like a vision of the night.

    8 It will be like a hungry one who dreams he is eating,
    then wakes and is still hungry;
    and like a thirsty one who dreams he is drinking,
    then wakes and is still thirsty, longing for water.
    So it will be for all the many nations
    who go to battle against Mount Zion.

    • 29:5–8 Suddenly the pronouncement shifts from judgment against Jerusalem to the restoration of the city. It imagines a situation like Sennacherib’s campaign against Judah. His initial successes fizzled out at the siege of Jerusalem (chap. 37). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 29:8 Those armies that move against Jerusalem will ultimately prove unsuccessful. Their early successes will give way to failure, so their first actions will seem like a dream.
      Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 73:20

    9 Stop and be astonished;
    blind yourselves and be blind!
    They are drunk, but not with wine;
    they stagger, but not with beer.

    • Isa 28:7, 8 These also reel with wine and stagger with strong drink; the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink, they are swallowed by wine, they stagger with strong drink, they reel in vision, they stumble in giving judgment. 8 For all tables are full of filthy vomit, with no space left.
    • Isa 51:21

    10 For the LORD has poured out on you
    an overwhelming urge to sleep;
    he has shut your eyes (the prophets)
    and covered your heads (the seers).

    • 29:9–10 The pronouncement shifts again to the spiritual hardness and punishment of the people of God. They will blind themselves, but God will shut their eyes. They will get drunk, but God will give them an overwhelming urge to sleep. The pronouncement recognizes the people’s sinful actions and God’s sovereign control. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1081). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Rom 11:1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin.
    • Psa 69:23 Let their eyes be darkened, so that they cannot see, and make their loins tremble continually.
    • Isa 6:10 Make the heart of this people dull, and their ears heavy, and blind their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed.”
    • 1Sa 9:9 (Formerly in Israel, when a man went to inquire of God, he said, “Come, let us go to the seer,” for today’s “prophet” was formerly called a seer.)

    11 For you the entire vision will be like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to one who can read and he is asked to read it, he will say, “I can’t read it, because it is sealed.” 12 And if the document is given to one who cannot read and he is asked to read it, he will say, “I can’t read.”

    • 29:11–12 God has laid it all out for the people (the entire vision), but they were spiritually dull and could not make sense of it. They will not heed God’s warnings and will suffer the consequences. In ancient Israel documents were written on papyrus or vellum scrolls. After being rolled into a tube, they were sealed with wax or clay, then stamped with an impression that identified the sender. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 8:16 Bind up the testimony; seal the teaching among my disciples.
    • Dan 12:4 But you, Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, until the time of the end. Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall increase.”
    • Rev 5:1-5, 9 Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

    13 The Lord said:

    These people approach me with their speeches
    to honor me with lip-service,
    yet their hearts are far from me,
    and human rules direct their worship of me.

    • 29:13 The worship offered by the people was empty and meaningless. They were just going through the motions. Jesus quotes these words in Mt 15:8–9 and Mk 7:6–7. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Eze 33:31 And they come to you as people come, and they sit before you as my people, and they hear what you say but they will not do it; for with lustful talk in their mouths they act; their heart is set on their gain.
    • Mat 15:8, 9 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 9 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'”
    • Mark 7:6, 7 And he said to them, “Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 7 in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’
    • Col 2:22 They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth.

    14 Therefore, I will again confound these people
    with wonder after wonder.
    The wisdom of their wise will vanish,
    and the perception of their perceptive will be hidden.

    • 29:14 The wisdom offered by the wise would vanish because it is based on the past, and God was going to do new wonders, such as the fall of Jerusalem, the return from captivity, and the sending of a Savior. Paul quotes this verse in 1Co 1:19. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Hab 1:5 “Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.
    • Jer 49:7 Concerning Edom. Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished?
    • 1Co 1:19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.”

    15 Woe to those who go to great lengths
    to hide their plans from the LORD.
    They do their works in the dark,
    and say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”

    • 29:15 A new woe oracle begins with this verse and extends to the end of the chapter. This is the third woe presented in chaps. 28–33 (v. 1; 28:1; 30:1; 31:1; 33:1). Those who did evil thought they could hide their actions from God. It may be that these plans included a decision to seek help against Assyria from Egypt. Such presumption would not go unpunished. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 30:1 “Ah, stubborn children,” declares the LORD, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;
    • Psa 94:7 and they say, “The LORD does not see; the God of Jacob does not perceive.”

    16 You have turned things around,
    as if the potter were the same as the clay.
    How can what is made say about its maker,
    “He didn’t make me”?
    How can what is formed
    say about the one who formed it,
    “He doesn’t understand what he’s doing”?

    • 29:16 The metaphor of God as a potter is used in a few key places in prophetic literature (45:9; 64:8; Jr 18:1–12; see also Rm 9:21). It evokes the description of the creation of Adam from the dust of the ground (Gn 2:7). The prophets pointed out how crazy it was for God’s creatures, the pots made from clay, to challenge or question their Maker, the Potter. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 45:9 Woe to him who strives with him who formed him, a pot among earthen pots! Does the clay say to him who forms it, ‘What are you making?’ or ‘Your work has no handles’?
    • Rom 9:20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?”

    NOTE: 29:17–24 There is a shift in this pronouncement from judgment to hope.

    17 Isn’t it true that in just a little while
    Lebanon will become an orchard,
    and the orchard will seem like a forest?

    • 29:17 Lebanon was known for its cedar forests, but it will be transformed into an orchard—a place for fruit-bearing trees. The cedar is often used in the Bible as a symbol of power and arrogance, so perhaps the transformation has to do with a change from pride to humble service. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 32:15

    18 On that day the deaf will hear
    the words of a document,
    and out of a deep darkness
    the eyes of the blind will see.

    • Isa 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;

    19 The humble will have joy
    after joy in the LORD,
    and the poor people will rejoice
    in the Holy One of Israel.

    • Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
    • Jas 2:5 Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?

    20 For the ruthless one will vanish,
    the scorner will disappear,
    and all those who lie in wait with evil intent
    will be killed—

    • Isa 28:14, 22 Therefore hear the word of the LORD, you scoffers, who rule this people in Jerusalem! 22 Now therefore do not scoff, lest your bonds be made strong; for I have heard a decree of destruction from the Lord GOD of hosts against the whole land.
    • Mic 2:1 Woe to those who devise wickedness and work evil on their beds! When the morning dawns, they perform it, because it is in the power of their hand.

    21 those who, with their speech,
    accuse a person of wrongdoing,
    who set a trap for the one mediating at the city gate
    and without cause deprive the righteous of justice.

    • 29:21 The city gate was where public hearings and judicial proceedings were held. The mediator was the person who heard a case. His removal would lead to injustice. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Amo 5:10, 12 They hate him who reproves in the gate, and they abhor him who speaks the truth. 12 For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins— you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate.
    • Pro 28:21

    22 Therefore, the LORD who redeemed Abraham says this about the house of Jacob:

    Jacob will no longer be ashamed,
    and his face will no longer be pale.

    • Oz note: Jacob is another name for the nation of Israel.
    • Josh 24:3 Then I took your father Abraham from beyond the River and led him through all the land of Canaan, and made his offspring many. I gave him Isaac.

    23 For when he sees his children,
    the work of my hands within his nation,
    they will honor my name,
    they will honor the Holy One of Jacob
    and stand in awe of the God of Israel.

    • Isa 19:25 whom the LORD of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my inheritance.”
    • Isa 45:11 Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him: “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?
    • Isa 60:21 Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified.
    • Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    24 Those who are confused will gain understanding,
    and those who grumble will accept instruction.

    • 29:23–24 God will fulfill his promise to Abraham and Jacob by transforming his people. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1082). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 29:1–24). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 30

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    CONDEMNATION OF THE EGYPTIAN ALLIANCE

    Woe to the rebellious children!
    This is the LORD’s declaration.
    They carry out a plan, but not mine;
    they make an alliance,
    but against my will,
    piling sin on top of sin.

    • Oz note: this is the 4th woe. Israel was trying to get help from Egypt to prevent invasion from Assyria.
    • Isa 29:15 Ah, you who hide deep from the LORD your counsel, whose deeds are in the dark, and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
    • Deu 29:19 one who, when he hears the words of this sworn covenant, blesses himself in his heart, saying, ‘I shall be safe, though I walk in the stubbornness of my heart.’ This will lead to the sweeping away of moist and dry alike.

    2 Without asking my advice
    they set out to go down to Egypt
    in order to seek shelter under Pharaoh’s protection
    and take refuge in Egypt’s shadow.

    • Oz note: this alliance was to counter the Assyrian threat. God’s people would not be equal partners, paying an annual tribute fee.
    • Isa 31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!
    • Num 27:21 And he shall stand before Eleazar the priest, who shall inquire for him by the judgment of the Urim before the LORD. At his word they shall go out, and at his word they shall come in, both he and all the people of Israel with him, the whole congregation.”
    • Josh 9:14 So the men took some of their provisions, but did not ask counsel from the LORD.
    • 1Ki 22:7 But Jehoshaphat said, “Is there not here another prophet of the LORD of whom we may inquire?”
    • Jer 21:2 “Inquire of the LORD for us, for Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon is making war against us. Perhaps the LORD will deal with us according to all his wonderful deeds and will make him withdraw from us.”
    • Jer 42:2, 20 and said to Jeremiah the prophet, “Let our plea for mercy come before you, and pray to the LORD your God for us, for all this remnant—because we are left with but a few, as your eyes see us— 20 that you have gone astray at the cost of your lives. For you sent me to the LORD your God, saying, ‘Pray for us to the LORD our God, and whatever the LORD our God says declare to us and we will do it.’

    3 But Pharaoh’s protection will become your shame,
    and refuge in Egypt’s shadow your humiliation.

    • Oz note: Zoan (also called Tanis) is the location of all of the Pharoe’s wisest council and advisors.
    • Isa 20:5 Then they shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Cush their hope and of Egypt their boast.
    • Jer 37:5, 7 The army of Pharaoh had come out of Egypt. And when the Chaldeans who were besieging Jerusalem heard news about them, they withdrew from Jerusalem. 7 “Thus says the LORD, God of Israel: Thus shall you say to the king of Judah who sent you to me to inquire of me, ‘Behold, Pharaoh’s army that came to help you is about to return to Egypt, to its own land.

    4 For though his princes are at Zoan
    and his messengers reach as far as Hanes,

  • Isa 19:11 The princes of Zoan are utterly foolish; the wisest counselors of Pharaoh give stupid counsel. How can you say to Pharaoh, “I am a son of the wise, a son of ancient kings”?
  • 5 everyone will be ashamed
    because of a people who can’t help.
    They are of no benefit, they are no help;
    they are good for nothing but shame and disgrace.

    • Jer 2:36 How much you go about, changing your way! You shall be put to shame by Egypt as you were put to shame by Assyria.

    6 A pronouncement concerning the animals of the Negev:

    Through a land of trouble and distress,
    of lioness and lion,
    of viper and flying serpent,
    they carry their wealth on the backs of donkeys
    and their treasures on the humps of camels,
    to a people who will not help them.

    • Oz note: Negev was a wilderness area south of the Israelite city of Beersheba.
    • Isa 57:9 You journeyed to the king with oil and multiplied your perfumes; you sent your envoys far off, and sent down even to Sheol.
    • Hos 8:9 For they have gone up to Assyria, a wild donkey wandering alone; Ephraim has hired lovers.
    • Hos 12:1 Ephraim feeds on the wind and pursues the east wind all day long; they multiply falsehood and violence; they make a covenant with Assyria, and oil is carried to Egypt.
    • Deu 8:15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock,
    • REMINDER: EPHRAIM is another name for Samaria, the Capital of the Northern Kingdom, Israel.

    7 Egypt’s help is completely worthless;
    therefore, I call her:
    Rahab Who Just Sits.

    • 30:7 In the book of Job, Rahab is a monster representing chaos, which is parallel to Leviathan (Jb 26:12–13), but the name is used here and elsewhere to refer to Egypt (Ps 87:4). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1083). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Deu 8:15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock,

    8 Go now, write it on a tablet in their presence
    and inscribe it on a scroll;
    it will be for the future,
    forever and ever.

    • Oz note: in other words, write this down, a predicted future of destruction.
    • Hab 2:1 I will take my stand at my watchpost and station myself on the tower, and look out to see what he will say to me, and what I will answer concerning my complaint.

    9 They are a rebellious people,
    deceptive children,
    children who do not want to listen to the LORD’s instruction.

    • Oz note: Israel was not following God’s law, and also, not follow God’s commandment of not becoming allies of foreign nations.
    • Deu 32:20 And he said, ‘I will hide my face from them; I will see what their end will be, for they are a perverse generation, children in whom is no faithfulness.
    • Isa 1:4 Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, offspring of evildoers, children who deal corruptly! They have forsaken the LORD, they have despised the Holy One of Israel, they are utterly estranged.

    10 They say to the seers, “Do not see,”
    and to the prophets,
    “Do not prophesy the truth to us.
    Tell us flattering things.
    Prophesy illusions.
    11 Get out of the way!
    Leave the pathway.
    Rid us of the Holy One of Israel.”

    • Oz note: Just like us, Israel didn’t want to hear the bad things that were being told them. They only want to hear what they like. The Holy One of Israel (God) is used more than 25 times in Isaiah.
    • Jer 11:21 Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the men of Anathoth, who seek your life, and say, “Do not prophesy in the name of the LORD, or you will die by our hand”—
    • Amo 2:12 “But you made the Nazirites drink wine, and commanded the prophets, saying, ‘You shall not prophesy.’
    • Mic 2:6 “Do not preach”—thus they preach— “one should not preach of such things; disgrace will not overtake us.”
    • 1Ki 22:13 And the messenger who went to summon Micaiah said to him, “Behold, the words of the prophets with one accord are favorable to the king. Let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.”
    • Mic 2:11 If a man should go about and utter wind and lies, saying, “I will preach to you of wine and strong drink,” he would be the preacher for this people!

    12 Therefore the Holy One of Israel says:
    “Because you have rejected this message
    and have trusted in oppression and deceit,
    and have depended on them,
    13 this iniquity of yours will be
    like a crumbling gap,
    a bulge in a high wall
    whose collapse will come in an instant—suddenly!

    • Psa 62:3 How long will all of you attack a man to batter him, like a leaning wall, a tottering fence?
    • Isa 29:5 But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff. And in an instant, suddenly,

    14 Its collapse will be like the shattering
    of a potter’s jar, crushed to pieces,
    so that not even a fragment of pottery
    will be found among its shattered remains—
    no fragment large enough to take fire from a hearth
    or scoop water from a cistern.”

    • Oz note: Self explanatory…because the people of Israel didn’t listen to God, and trusted Egypt rather than their God, Israel will collapse…they will become shattered.
    • Psa 2:9 You shall break them with a rod of iron and dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.”
    • Jer 19:11 and shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD of hosts: So will I break this people and this city, as one breaks a potter’s vessel, so that it can never be mended. Men shall bury in Topheth because there will be no place else to bury.

    15 For the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, has said:
    “You will be delivered by returning and resting;
    your strength will lie in quiet confidence.
    But you are not willing.”

    • Isa 7:4 And say to him, ‘Be careful, be quiet, do not fear, and do not let your heart be faint because of these two smoldering stumps of firebrands, at the fierce anger of Rezin and Syria and the son of Remaliah.
    • Mat 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing!

    16 You say, “No!
    We will escape on horses”—
    therefore you will escape!—
    and, “We will ride on fast horses”—
    but those who pursue you will be faster.
    17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one,
    at the threat of five you will flee,
    until you remain
    like a solitary pole on a mountaintop
    or a banner on a hill.

    • Oz note: The people of Israel should have just relaxed and trusted upon their God, but they didn’t… so their life would be miserable, and they will flee in terror.
    • Lev 26:8 Five of you shall chase a hundred, and a hundred of you shall chase ten thousand, and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
    • Deu 28:25 “The LORD will cause you to be defeated before your enemies. You shall go out one way against them and flee seven ways before them. And you shall be a horror to all the kingdoms of the earth.
    • Josh 23:10 One man of you puts to flight a thousand, since it is the LORD your God who fights for you, just as he promised you.

    THE LORD’S MERCY TO ISRAEL

    18 Therefore the LORD is waiting to show you mercy,
    and is rising up to show you compassion,
    for the LORD is a just God.
    All who wait patiently for him are happy.

    • Oz notes: God is always reaching out to us. God always starts the initiative to restore relationships with His people. When His people repent, and turn their ways, then his judgment turns into compassion and restoration.
    • Psa 2:12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and you perish in the way, for his wrath is quickly kindled. Blessed are all who take refuge in him.
    • Psa 34:8 Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him!
    • Pro 16:20 Whoever gives thought to the word will discover good, and blessed is he who trusts in the LORD.
    • Jer 17:7 “Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.

    19 For people will live on Zion in Jerusalem. You will never weep again; he will show favor to you at the sound of your outcry; as soon as he hears, he will answer you.

    • 30:19 The outcry of the people refers to their repentance, an acknowledgment of their sin, and a turn to God for help. As a result, he would respond with his favor. They will live on Zion in Jerusalem near the presence of God. The beginning of the fulfillment of this promise occurred after the Jews began returning from Babylonian exile in 539 BC. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1084). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 65:9 I will bring forth offspring from Jacob, and from Judah possessors of my mountains; my chosen shall possess it, and my servants shall dwell there.

    20 The Lord will give you meager bread and water during oppression, but your Teacher will not hide any longer. Your eyes will see your Teacher,

    • 30:20 The word oppression refers to the future exile and political oppression by foreign nations (Assyria, followed by Babylon, followed by Persia) that happened because of their sin. The Teacher of the people of God is a reference to God himself who would show them the right way to behave. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1084). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 1Ki 22:27 and say, ‘Thus says the king, “Put this fellow in prison and feed him meager rations of bread and water, until I come in peace.”‘
    • Psa 127:2 It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.
    • Psa 74:9 We do not see our signs; there is no longer any prophet, and there is none among us who knows how long.
    • Amo 8:11 “Behold, the days are coming,” declares the Lord GOD, “when I will send a famine on the land— not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.

    21 and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.”

    • 30:21 Walking in the way is reminiscent of the language of Ps 1 and Proverbs. There are two ways—a crooked path that represents an evil life heading toward death and the straight path of godliness that leads to life. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1084). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Jos 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

    22 Then you will defile your silver-plated idols and your gold-plated images. You will throw them away like menstrual cloths, and call them filth.

    • 2Ch 31:1 Now when all this was finished, all Israel who were present went out to the cities of Judah and broke in pieces the pillars and cut down the Asherim and broke down the high places and the altars throughout all Judah and Benjamin, and in Ephraim and Manasseh, until they had destroyed them all. Then all the people of Israel returned to their cities, every man to his possession.
    • Isa 31:7 For in that day everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.
    • Hos 14:8 O Ephraim, what have I to do with idols? It is I who answer and look after you. I am like an evergreen cypress; from me comes your fruit.

    23 Then he will send rain for your seed that you have sown in the ground, and the food, the produce of the ground, will be rich and plentiful. On that day your cattle will graze in open pastures.

    • Mat 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
    • 1Ti 4:8 for while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

    24 The oxen and donkeys that work the ground will eat salted fodder scattered with winnowing shovel and fork.

    • 30:23–24 Based on the lists of covenant blessings found in places like Dt 28, God will grant agricultural prosperity to his restored people. While they had nothing but bread and water (Is 30:20) during their oppression, they would have large quantities of food in the future. Even the oxen and donkeys would have plenty of good food. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1084). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    25 Streams flowing with water will be on every high mountain and every raised hill on the day of great slaughter when the towers fall.

    • 30:25 Israel’s prosperity was normally tenuous because of limited water supplies. Here the picture is of overflowing waters. The reference to the great slaughter and the fall of towers is probably a reference to the downfall of their oppressors. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1084). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 2:14, 15 against all the lofty mountains, and against all the uplifted hills; 15 against every high tower, and against every fortified wall;

    26 The moonlight will be as bright as the sunlight, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days—on the day that the LORD bandages his people’s injuries and heals the wounds he inflicted.

    • Isa 60:19, 20 The sun shall be no more your light by day, nor for brightness shall the moon give you light; but the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. 20 Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.

    ANNIHILATION OF THE ASSYRIANS

    • 30:27–33 The pronouncement in these verses describes God’s appearance as a judging warrior. The object of his wrath is not revealed until v. 31 where Assyria, the oppressor of God’s people, is named. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1084). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    27 Look! The name of the LORD is coming from far away,
    his anger burning and heavy with smoke.
    His lips are full of fury,
    and his tongue is like a consuming fire.
    28 His breath is like an overflowing torrent
    that rises to the neck.
    He comes to sift the nations in a sieve of destruction
    and to put a bridle on the jaws of the peoples
    to lead them astray.

    • Isa 11:4 but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.
    • Isa 8:8 and it will sweep on into Judah, it will overflow and pass on, reaching even to the neck, and its outspread wings will fill the breadth of your land, O Immanuel.”
    • Isa 37:29 Because you have raged against me and your complacency has come to my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came.’

    29 Your singing will be like that
    on the night of a holy festival,
    and your heart will rejoice
    like one who walks to the music of a flute,
    going up to the mountain of the LORD,
    to the Rock of Israel.

    • 30:29 The scene shifts to the people of God who will celebrate this act of God. The judgment of their enemies is a cause for rejoicing. They will praise God as if it were a holy festival like Passover or the Festival of Shelters. The mountain of the LORD refers to Zion where God (their Rock, a title that signifies shelter and protection) will make his presence known. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1085). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 2:3 and many peoples shall come, and say: “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths.” For out of Zion shall go the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem.
    • Deu 32:4 “The Rock, his work is perfect, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is he.

    30 And the LORD will make the splendor of his voice heard
    and reveal his arm striking in angry wrath
    and a flame of consuming fire,
    in driving rain, a torrent, and hailstones.

    • Oz note: notice that God uses weather to do his work. Sovereign Lord!
    • Isa 29:6 you will be visited by the LORD of hosts with thunder and with earthquake and great noise, with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
    • Isa 28:2 Behold, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong; like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters, he casts down to the earth with his hand.

    31 Assyria will be shattered by the voice of the LORD.
    He will strike with a rod.

    • Isa 37:36 And the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies.
    • Isa 10:5, 24 Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger; the staff in their hands is my fury! 24 Therefore thus says the Lord GOD of hosts: “O my people, who dwell in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrians when they strike with the rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did.

    32 And every stroke of the appointed staff
    that the LORD brings down on him
    will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres;
    he will fight against him with brandished weapons.

    • 30:32 The blows of weapons are compared to the beating of tambourines. Babylon was the appointed staff of God to bring down Assyria in the late seventh century BC. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1085). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 11:15 And the LORD will utterly destroy the tongue of the Sea of Egypt, and will wave his hand over the River with his scorching breath, and strike it into seven channels, and he will lead people across in sandals.

    33 Indeed! Topheth has been ready
    for the king for a long time.
    Its funeral pyre is deep and wide,
    with plenty of fire and wood.
    The breath of the LORD, like a torrent of burning sulfur,
    kindles it.

    • 30:33 Topheth was located in the Valley of Ben Hinnom (Jr 7:30–34). This valley was immediately south and west of Jerusalem. At times it functioned as a garbage heap for the city. In Greek, this valley was known as Gehenna, which became associated with hell. We do not know for certain what the word Topheth means or where it came from, but we do know that King Josiah had desecrated this place earlier during his religious reforms (2Kg 23:10–11). It had been a place where the foreign god Molech was worshiped. Jeremiah said it epitomized the sin and guilt of the people (Jr 7:30–32; 19:6–13). God explicitly had forbidden human sacrifice as well as the worship of Molech (Lv 18:21; Dt 12:31; 18:10; see also Is 57:5, 9; Jr 19:5; 32:35; Ezk 16:20–21; 20:25–26, 31; 23:37, 39). Here though it is being used for a good purpose—the burning of the body of the king of Assyria after his defeat. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1085). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Jer 7:31 And they have built the high places of Topheth, which is in the Valley of the Son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I did not command, nor did it come into my mind.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 30:1–33). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 31

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    THE LORD, THE ONLY HELP

    Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help
    and who depend on horses!
    They trust in the abundance of chariots
    and in the large number of horsemen.
    They do not look to the Holy One of Israel,
    and they do not seek the LORD.

    • Oz note: Looks like a continuation of Chapter 30. This is the 5th WOE.
    • Isa 30:2 who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
    • Psa 20:7 Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.
    • Dan 9:13 As it is written in the Law of Moses, all this calamity has come upon us; yet we have not entreated the favor of the LORD our God, turning from our iniquities and gaining insight by your truth.

    2 But he also is wise and brings disaster.
    He does not go back on what he says;
    he will rise up against the house of the wicked
    and against the allies of evildoers.

    • Num 23:19 God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?

    3 Egyptians are men, not God;
    their horses are flesh, not spirit.
    When the LORD raises his hand to strike,
    the helper will stumble
    and the one who is helped will fall;
    both will perish together.

    • Oz note: God will destroy both the helper (Egypt) and the helped (Israel).

    4 For this is what the LORD said to me:

    As a lion or young lion growls over its prey
    when a band of shepherds is called out against it,
    and it is not terrified by their shouting
    or subdued by their noise,
    so the LORD of Armies will come down
    to fight on Mount Zion
    and on its hill.

    • Amo 3:8 The lion has roared; who will not fear? The Lord GOD has spoken; who can but prophesy?”

    5 Like hovering birds,
    so the LORD of Armies will protect Jerusalem;
    by protecting it, he will rescue it;
    by passing over it, he will deliver it.

    • Deu 32:11 Like an eagle that stirs up its nest, that flutters over its young, spreading out its wings, catching them, bearing them on its pinions,

    6 Return to the one the Israelites have greatly rebelled against. 7 For on that day, every one of you will reject the worthless idols of silver and gold that your own hands have sinfully made.

    • 31:6–7 The restoration of God’s people has two sides: returning to him, which implies repentance, and rejecting false gods in the form of silver and gold idols. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1085). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 2:20 In that day mankind will cast away their idols of silver and their idols of gold, which they made for themselves to worship, to the moles and to the bats,
    • 1Ki 12:30 Then this thing became a sin, for the people went as far as Dan to be before one.

    8 Then Assyria will fall,
    but not by human sword;
    a sword will devour him,
    but not one made by man.
    He will flee from the sword;
    his young men will be put to forced labor.

    • Oz note: God will use Babylon to defeat Assyria… but this all God…not Babylon!
    • 2Ki 19:35, 36 And that night the angel of the LORD went out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians. And when people arose early in the morning, behold, these were all dead bodies. 36 Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went home and lived at Nineveh.

    9 His rock will pass away because of fear,
    and his officers will be afraid because of the signal flag.

    This is the LORD’s declaration—whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

    • 31:9 Though the reference is unusual, the rock is probably a reference to the Assyrian king. A rock is something that provides shelter and protection, but in this case the rock will fail to provide defense. The signal flag is a reference to a battle standard used to rally troops. Zion’s fire and Jerusalem’s furnace may be a reference to the altar fire (see the explanation of “Ariel” in note at 29:1), but in the context of judgment it may point to the fire that will come out of Jerusalem to destroy the attacking enemy. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1086). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 37:37 Then Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and returned home and lived at Nineveh.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 31:1–9). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 32

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    THE RIGHTEOUS KINGDOM ANNOUNCED

    1 Indeed, a king will reign righteously,
    and rulers will rule justly.

    • Oz note: Scholars are dividing as to if they are talking about historical kings, or if we are talking about King Jesus. But my opinion is that it is NOT Jesus because the word king isn’t capitolized. Just my two cents.
    • Psa 45:1 To the choirmaster: according to Lilies. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah; a love song. My heart overflows with a pleasing theme; I address my verses to the king; my tongue is like the pen of a ready scribe.

    2 Each will be like a shelter from the wind,
    a refuge from the rain,
    like flowing streams in a dry land
    and the shade of a massive rock in an arid land.

    • Oz notes: Looking at verse 1, and then reading verse 2, makes me think of “wordly” kings, not our heavenly King. Verse 2 talks about how the kings will protect their people.
    • Isa 4:6 There will be a booth for shade by day from the heat, and for a refuge and a shelter from the storm and rain.

    3 Then the eyes of those who see will not be closed,
    and the ears of those who hear will listen.

    • 32:3 Righteous rule will result in greater discernment among the subjects of the just king. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1086). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 29:18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.

    4 The reckless mind will gain knowledge,
    and the stammering tongue will speak clearly and fluently.
    5 A fool will no longer be called a noble,
    nor a scoundrel said to be important.

    • 32:4–5 The Teacher in Ecclesiastes (Ec 10:16–17) pointed out how dangerous it is when a fool becomes a ruler; the world turns upside down. Here there may be a wordplay on fool (Hb nabal) and noble (Hb nadiv). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1086). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    6 For a fool speaks foolishness
    and his mind plots iniquity.
    He lives in a godless way
    and speaks falsely about the LORD.
    He leaves the hungry empty
    and deprives the thirsty of drink.
    7 The scoundrel’s weapons are destructive;
    he hatches plots to destroy the needy with lies,
    even when the poor person says what is right.

    • 32:6–7 The book of Proverbs makes it clear that a fool is someone who rejects God and has a detrimental effect on the community. Here Isaiah claims that folly among the leadership leads to hunger and thirst among the people. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1086). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    8 But a noble person plans noble things;
    he stands up for noble causes.

    9 Stand up, you complacent women;
    listen to me.
    Pay attention to what I say,
    you overconfident daughters.

    • Amo 6:1 “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the first of the nations, to whom the house of Israel comes!

    10 In a little more than a year
    you overconfident ones will shudder,
    for the grapes will fail
    and the harvest will not come.
    11 Shudder, you complacent ones;
    tremble, you overconfident ones!
    Strip yourselves bare
    and put sackcloth around your waists.
    12 Beat your breasts in mourning
    for the delightful fields and the fruitful vines,

    • 11-12. The pronouncement suggests the people should move directly into ritual mourning in anticipation of future judgment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1086). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    13 for the ground of my people
    growing thorns and briers,
    indeed, for every joyous house in the jubilant city.

    • Hos 9:6 For behold, they are going away from destruction; but Egypt shall gather them; Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver; thorns shall be in their tents.
    • Isa 22:2 you who are full of shoutings, tumultuous city, exultant town? Your slain are not slain with the sword or dead in battle.

    14 For the palace will be deserted,
    the busy city abandoned.
    The hill and the watchtower will become
    barren places forever,
    the joy of wild donkeys,
    and a pasture for flocks,

    • 32:14 Not only will the fields be desolate and unproductive, but so will the city of Jerusalem. It will be turned into the haunt of wild animals. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1086). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    15 until the Spirit from on high is poured out on us.
    Then the desert will become an orchard,
    and the orchard will seem like a forest.

    • 32:15 However, because of God (the Spirit from on high) a miraculous transformation will take place in the future. What has been unproductive will produce fruit-bearing trees. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Joe 2:28 “And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions.
    • Isa 29:17 Is it not yet a very little while until Lebanon shall be turned into a fruitful field, and the fruitful field shall be regarded as a forest?

    16 Then justice will inhabit the wilderness,
    and righteousness will dwell in the orchard.
    17 The result of righteousness will be peace;
    the effect of righteousness
    will be quiet confidence forever.

    • Jas 3:18 And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.

    18 Then my people will dwell in a peaceful place,
    in safe and secure dwellings.
    19 But hail will level the forest,
    and the city will sink into the depths.

    • Isa 30:30 And the LORD will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones.
    • Zec 11:2 Wail, O cypress, for the cedar has fallen, for the glorious trees are ruined! Wail, oaks of Bashan, for the thick forest has been felled!

    20 You will be happy as you sow seed
    beside abundant water,
    and as you let oxen and donkeys range freely

    • Isa 30:24 and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 32:1–20). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 33

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    THE LORD RISES UP

    Woe, you destroyer never destroyed,
    you traitor never betrayed!
    When you have finished destroying,
    you will be destroyed.
    When you have finished betraying,
    they will betray you.

    • 33:1 This is the sixth and final woe in chaps. 28–33 (28:1; 29:1, 15; 30:1; 31:1). The woe pronounces the destruction of a betrayer. Many interpreters believe the reference is to Sennacherib, whom King Hezekiah of Judah paid to back off from the siege of Jerusalem (chaps. 36–37). But others believe it is a general reference to the deception of the nations. They will receive their due. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 21:2 A stern vision is told to me; the traitor betrays, and the destroyer destroys. Go up, O Elam; lay siege, O Media; all the sighing she has caused I bring to an end.
    • Hab 2:8 Because you have plundered many nations, all the remnant of the peoples shall plunder you, for the blood of man and violence to the earth, to cities and all who dwell in them.
    • Rev 13:10 If anyone is to be taken captive, to captivity he goes; if anyone is to be slain with the sword, with the sword must he be slain. Here is a call for the endurance and faith of the saints.

    2 LORD, be gracious to us! We wait for you.
    Be our strength every morning
    and our salvation in time of trouble.

    • 33:2 Since the nations have let them down, God’s people have no recourse but to wait for God to save them. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 25:9 It will be said on that day, “Behold, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the LORD; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.”

    3 The peoples flee at the thunderous noise;
    the nations scatter when you rise in your majesty.
    4 Your spoil will be gathered as locusts are gathered;
    people will swarm over it like an infestation of locusts.

    • 33:3–4 God will be victorious over Israel’s enemies. Locusts are often symbols of a large destroying army (Jl 1; Nah 3:15–16). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    5 The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high;
    he has filled Zion with justice and righteousness.

    • Psa 97:9 For you, O LORD, are most high over all the earth; you are exalted far above all gods.

    6 There will be times of security for you—
    a storehouse of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.
    The fear of the LORD is Zion’s treasure.

    • 33:6 Zion’s treasure is not gold, silver, or weapons. Its treasure is the fear of the LORD. A relationship of dependence and trust leads to action by a warring God on behalf of his people (Pr 1:7). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 33:7–13 This passage describes a future attack (perhaps Sennacherib’s attack on Jerusalem in 701 BC; v. 1) as if it were happening in the present. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    7 Listen! Their warriors cry loudly in the streets;
    the messengers of peace weep bitterly.

    • 33:7 Diplomacy has broken down. The diplomats weep as warriors control the streets. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2Ki 18:18, 37 And when they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder. 37 Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

    8 The highways are deserted;
    travel has ceased.
    An agreement has been broken,
    cities despised,
    and human life disregarded.

    • 33:8 The agreement that was broken may be a direct reference to the agreement that Sennacherib made to withdraw from Jerusalem after being paid tribute—a promise he did not honor. Since the army is on the brink of attack, all travel has ceased. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Judg 5:6 “In the days of Shamgar, son of Anath, in the days of Jael, the highways were abandoned, and travelers kept to the byways.
    • 2Ki 18:14-17 And Hezekiah king of Judah sent to the king of Assyria at Lachish, saying, “I have done wrong; withdraw from me. Whatever you impose on me I will bear.” And the king of Assyria required of Hezekiah king of Judah three hundred talents of silver and thirty talents of gold. 15 And Hezekiah gave him all the silver that was found in the house of the LORD and in the treasuries of the king’s house. 16 At that time Hezekiah stripped the gold from the doors of the temple of the LORD and from the doorposts that Hezekiah king of Judah had overlaid and gave it to the king of Assyria. 17 And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer’s Field.

    9 The land mourns and withers;
    Lebanon is ashamed and wilted.
    Sharon is like a desert;
    Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.

    • 33:9 Lebanon was north of Israel. Sharon, the western foothills famous for its wild flowers, as well as Bashan and Carmel were known as lush regions. But because of conflict these areas are described as bare wilderness. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 24:4 The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish.

    10 “Now I will rise up,” says the LORD.
    “Now I will lift myself up.
    Now I will be exalted.

    • Psa 12:5 “Because the poor are plundered, because the needy groan, I will now arise,” says the LORD; “I will place him in the safety for which he longs.”

    11 You will conceive chaff;
    you will give birth to stubble.
    Your breath is fire that will consume you.

    • Psa 7:14 Behold, the wicked man conceives evil and is pregnant with mischief and gives birth to lies.
    • Isa 59:4 No one enters suit justly; no one goes to law honestly; they rely on empty pleas, they speak lies, they conceive mischief and give birth to iniquity.

    12 The peoples will be burned to ashes,
    like thorns cut down and burned in a fire.

    • 33:11–12 In spite of the efforts of the enemy army to win a victory, they will achieve nothing productive. They conceive and give birth, not to life but to death, here represented by dead vegetation that is good for nothing (chaff and stubble). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 9:18 For wickedness burns like a fire; it consumes briers and thorns; it kindles the thickets of the forest, and they roll upward in a column of smoke.

    13 You who are far off, hear what I have done;
    you who are near, know my strength.”

    • 33:13 God’s warring activity will be a testimony to the whole world, both near and far off, of his strength. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1087). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 49:1 Listen to me, O coastlands, and give attention, you peoples from afar. The LORD called me from the womb, from the body of my mother he named my name.

    14 The sinners in Zion are afraid;
    trembling seizes the ungodly:
    “Who among us can dwell with a consuming fire?
    Who among us can dwell with ever-burning flames?”

    • 33:14 The anticipation of such a powerful, judging God frightens sinners and causes everyone to ask, Who … can dwell with such a God? Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1088). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    15 The one who lives righteously
    and speaks rightly,
    who refuses profit from extortion,
    whose hand never takes a bribe,
    who stops his ears from listening to murderous plots
    and shuts his eyes against evil schemes—

    • Psa 15:2 He who walks blamelessly and does what is right and speaks truth in his heart;
    • Psa 24:4 He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully.
    • Psa 119:37 Turn my eyes from looking at worthless things; and give me life in your ways.

    16 he will dwell on the heights;
    his refuge will be the rocky fortresses,
    his food provided, his water assured.

    17 Your eyes will see the King in his beauty;
    you will see a vast land.

    • 33:17 The King is none other than God himself (cp. v. 22, “the LORD is our King”). The picture of the King in his beauty looks to the future after the judgment and the destruction of the enemy when God’s people will be restored. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1088). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    18 Your mind will meditate on the past terror:
    “Where is the accountant?
    Where is the tribute collector?
    Where is the one who spied out our defenses?”

    • 33:18 In this glorious future, no longer will there be emissaries from the oppressive enemy to take the resources of the people of God (accountant and tribute collector) or those who try to prepare for battle against them (the one who spied out our defenses). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1088). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 1Co 1:20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?

    19 You will no longer see the barbarians,
    a people whose speech is difficult to comprehend—
    who stammer in a language that is not understood.

    • 33:19 The barbarians at the end of the eighth century were the Assyrians, who spoke a language (Akkadian) that the people of God could not understand. They destroyed the northern kingdom and subjected the south to vassalage and threatened their existence. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1088). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2 Ki 19:32 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there, or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it.
    • Deu 28:49, 50 The LORD will bring a nation against you from far away, from the end of the earth, swooping down like the eagle, a nation whose language you do not understand, 50 a hard-faced nation who shall not respect the old or show mercy to the young.
    • Jer 5:15 Behold, I am bringing against you a nation from afar, O house of Israel, declares the LORD. It is an enduring nation; it is an ancient nation, a nation whose language you do not know, nor can you understand what they say.

    20 Look at Zion, the city of our festival times.
    Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    a peaceful pasture, a tent that does not wander;
    its tent pegs will not be pulled up
    nor will any of its cords be loosened.

    • Psa 48:12 Walk about Zion, go around her, number her towers,
    • Psa 46:5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
    • Psa 125:1, 2 A Song of Ascents. Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. 2 As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the LORD surrounds his people, from this time forth and forevermore.
    • Isa 37:33 “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it.
    • Isa 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent, and let the curtains of your habitations be stretched out; do not hold back; lengthen your cords and strengthen your stakes.

    21 For the majestic one, our LORD, will be there,
    a place of rivers and broad streams
    where ships that are rowed will not go,
    and majestic vessels will not pass.

    • 33:20–21 Describing Jerusalem as a tent may be a way of emphasizing the fragility of the city. A tent is easy to pull down or destroy. However, since God will be for them, this tent will not move. To describe Zion as a place of rivers and broad streams is to paint a picture of future blessing since Jerusalem had nothing of the kind. The prevention of shipping in these rivers may refer to war vessels. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1088). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    22 For the LORD is our Judge,
    the LORD is our Lawgiver,
    the LORD is our King.
    He will save us.

    • Jas 4:12 There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?
    • Psa 89:18 For our shield belongs to the LORD, our king to the Holy One of Israel.

    23 Your ropes are slack;
    they cannot hold the base of the mast
    or spread out the flag.
    Then abundant spoil will be divided,
    the lame will plunder it,

    • 33:23 It appears that the pronouncement changes the addressee. Your must refer to the enemy who tries to capture the people of God. The ship imagery (ropes … base of the mast) may point to those ships (v. 21) that try to assail Zion. But rather than taking plunder away, even the lame among the people of God will receive a portion. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1088). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    24 and none there will say, “I am sick.”
    The people who dwell there
    will be forgiven their iniquity.

    • 33:24 The change from judgment to salvation for the people of God takes place for one reason: they will be forgiven their iniquity.
    • Jer 50:20 In those days and in that time, declares the LORD, iniquity shall be sought in Israel, and there shall be none, and sin in Judah, and none shall be found, for I will pardon those whom I leave as a remnant.

    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1088). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 33:1–24). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


    Chapter 34

    Return to top

    THE JUDGMENT OF THE NATIONS

    1 You nations, come here and listen;
    you peoples, pay attention!
    Let the earth and all that fills it hear,
    the world and all that comes from it.

    • Oz note: He is GOD of ALL nations.
    • Psa 49:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. Hear this, all peoples! Give ear, all inhabitants of the world,
    • Deu 32:1 “Give ear, O heavens, and I will speak, and let the earth hear the words of my mouth.

    2 The LORD is angry with all the nations,
    furious with all their armies.
    He will set them apart for destruction,
    giving them over to slaughter.
    3 Their slain will be thrown out,
    and the stench of their corpses will rise;
    the mountains will flow with their blood.

    • Oz note: God isn’t happy.
    • Joe 2:20 “I will remove the northerner far from you, and drive him into a parched and desolate land, his vanguard into the eastern sea, and his rear guard into the western sea; the stench and foul smell of him will rise, for he has done great things.

    4 All the stars in the sky will dissolve.
    The sky will roll up like a scroll,
    and its stars will all wither
    as leaves wither on the vine,
    and foliage on the fig tree.

  • Psa 102:26 They will perish, but you will remain; they will all wear out like a garment. You will change them like a robe, and they will pass away,
  • Eze 32:7, 8 When I blot you out, I will cover the heavens and make their stars dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give its light. 8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over you, and put darkness on your land, declares the Lord GOD.
  • Joe 2:31 The sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.
  • Mat 24:29 “Immediately after the tribulation of those days the sun will be darkened, and the moon will not give its light, and the stars will fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens will be shaken.
  • 2Pe 3:10 But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.
  • Isa 14:1 For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob.
  • Rev 6:13 and the stars of the sky fell to the earth as the fig tree sheds its winter fruit when shaken by a gale.
  • THE JUDGMENT OF EDOM

    5 When my sword has drunk its fill, in the heavens,
    it will then come down on Edom
    and on the people I have set apart for destruction.

    • 34:5 Victory over heavenly forces (v. 4) is followed by a description of one representative nation, Edom. This nation was south of Moab in the region southeast of the Dead Sea. Set apart for destruction translates a single Hebrew verb (cherem) that is used frequently in Joshua to indicate that every man, woman, and child would be killed. It also describes the death of the enemy as a type of sacrifice to God. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1089). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Jer 46:10 That day is the day of the Lord GOD of hosts, a day of vengeance, to avenge himself on his foes. The sword shall devour and be sated and drink its fill of their blood. For the Lord GOD of hosts holds a sacrifice in the north country by the river Euphrates.
    • Jer 49:7 Concerning Edom. Thus says the LORD of hosts: “Is wisdom no more in Teman? Has counsel perished from the prudent? Has their wisdom vanished?
    • Mal 1:4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.'”

    6 The LORD’s sword is covered with blood.
    It drips with fat,
    with the blood of lambs and goats,
    with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
    For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
    a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

    • Oz note: Bozrah was the capital of Edom
    • Zep 1:7 Be silent before the Lord GOD! For the day of the LORD is near; the LORD has prepared a sacrifice and consecrated his guests.

    7 The wild oxen will be struck down with them,
    and young bulls with the mighty bulls.
    Their land will be soaked with blood,
    and their soil will be saturated with fat.

    8 For the LORD has a day of vengeance,
    a time of paying back Edom
    for its hostility against Zion.

    • Oz note: time of paying = Edom had taken advantage of Israel in the past, when they were weak.
    • Isa 63:4 For the day of vengeance was in my heart, and my year of redemption had come.

    9 Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch,
    her soil into sulfur;
    her land will become burning pitch.

    • Oz note: burning pitch is “sulfur”.
    • Deu 29:23 the whole land burned out with brimstone and salt, nothing sown and nothing growing, where no plant can sprout, an overthrow like that of Sodom and Gomorrah, Admah, and Zeboiim, which the LORD overthrew in his anger and wrath—

    10 It will never go out—day or night.
    Its smoke will go up forever.
    It will be desolate, from generation to generation;
    no one will pass through it forever and ever.

    • Rev 14:11 And the smoke of their torment goes up forever and ever, and they have no rest, day or night, these worshipers of the beast and its image, and whoever receives the mark of its name.”
    • Rev 18:18 and cried out as they saw the smoke of her burning, “What city was like the great city?”
    • Rev 19:3 Once more they cried out, “Hallelujah! The smoke from her goes up forever and ever.”
    • Mal 1:4 If Edom says, “We are shattered but we will rebuild the ruins,” the LORD of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and ‘the people with whom the LORD is angry forever.'”

    11 Eagle owls and herons will possess it,
    and long-eared owls and ravens will dwell there.
    The LORD will stretch out a measuring line
    and a plumb line over her
    for her destruction and chaos.

    • Oz note: Owls were “unclean” birds to the Israelites. Plumb line, a construction term, God will deconstruct Edom.
    • Isa 14:23 “And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD of hosts.
    • Zep 2:14 Herds shall lie down in her midst, all kinds of beasts; even the owl and the hedgehog shall lodge in her capitals; a voice shall hoot in the window; devastation will be on the threshold; for her cedar work will be laid bare.
    • Rev 18:2 And he called out with a mighty voice, “Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place for demons, a haunt for every unclean spirit, a haunt for every unclean bird, a haunt for every unclean and detestable beast.
    • 2Ki 21:13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the measuring line of Samaria, and the plumb line of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.
    • Lam 2:8 The LORD determined to lay in ruins the wall of the daughter of Zion; he stretched out the measuring line; he did not restrain his hand from destroying; he caused rampart and wall to lament; they languished together.

    12 No nobles will be left to proclaim a king,
    and all her princes will come to nothing.
    13 Her palaces will be overgrown with thorns;
    her fortified cities, with thistles and briers.
    She will become a dwelling for jackals,
    an abode for ostriches.

    • Isa 32:13 for the soil of my people growing up in thorns and briers, yes, for all the joyous houses in the exultant city.
    • Hos 9:6 For behold, they are going away from destruction; but Egypt shall gather them; Memphis shall bury them. Nettles shall possess their precious things of silver; thorns shall be in their tents.
    • Isa 13:21 But wild animals will lie down there, and their houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches will dwell, and there wild goats will dance.

    14 The desert creatures will meet hyenas,
    and one wild goat will call to another.
    Indeed, the night birds will stay there
    and will find a resting place.
    15 Sand partridges will make their nests there;
    they will lay and hatch their eggs
    and will gather their broods under their shadows.
    Indeed, the birds of prey will gather there,
    each with its mate.
    16 Search and read the scroll of the LORD:
    Not one of them will be missing,
    none will be lacking its mate,
    because he has ordered it by my mouth,
    and he will gather them by his Spirit.

    • Oz note: scroll of the LORD = commentaries are not sure what this represents.
    • Edom will become desolate, deserted, occupied only by wild animals, and overgrown.
    • Mal 3:16 Then those who feared the LORD spoke with one another. The LORD paid attention and heard them, and a book of remembrance was written before him of those who feared the LORD and esteemed his name.

    17 He has cast the lot for them;
    his hand allotted their portion with a measuring line.
    They will possess it forever;
    they will dwell in it from generation to generation.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 34:1–17). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 35

    Return to top

    THE RANSOMED RETURN TO ZION

    1 The wilderness and the dry land will be glad;
    the desert will rejoice and blossom like a wildflower.

    • Oz note: In chapter 34 above, God turned the land into barren wilderness, unkept. But now, in chapter 35, the entire chapter, God is restoring the land into a garden. The lesson learned, trust God, and nothing or no one else.
    • Isa 55:12 Isa 55:12 “For you shall go out in joy and be led forth in peace; the mountains and the hills before you shall break forth into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

    2 It will blossom abundantly
    and will also rejoice with joy and singing.
    The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
    the splendor of Carmel and Sharon.
    They will see the glory of the LORD,
    the splendor of our God.

    • Isa 32:15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.

    3 Strengthen the weak hands,
    steady the shaking knees!

    • Job 4:3, 4 Behold, you have instructed many, and you have strengthened the weak hands. 4 Your words have upheld him who was stumbling, and you have made firm the feeble knees.
    • Heb 12:12 Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees,

    4 Say to the cowardly:
    “Be strong; do not fear!
    Here is your God; vengeance is coming.
    God’s retribution is coming; he will save you.”

    • vengeance is coming = God will punish the wicked, and reward and restore the righteous.

    5 Then the eyes of the blind will be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

    • Isa 29:18 In that day the deaf shall hear the words of a book, and out of their gloom and darkness the eyes of the blind shall see.
    • Mat 9:27 And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed him, crying aloud, “Have mercy on us, Son of David.”
    • Mat 11:15 He who has ears to hear, let him hear.
    • John 9:6, 7 Having said these things, he spit on the ground and made mud with the saliva. Then he anointed the man’s eyes with the mud 7 and said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which means Sent). So he went and washed and came back seeing.
    • Mat 11:5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.

    6 Then the lame will leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute will sing for joy,
    for water will gush in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;

  • Mat 11:5 the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them.
    • Mat 15:30 And great crowds came to him, bringing with them the lame, the blind, the crippled, the mute, and many others, and they put them at his feet, and he healed them,
    • John 5:8, 9 Jesus said to him, “Get up, take up your bed, and walk.” 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked. Now that day was the Sabbath.
    • Act 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying out with a loud voice, came out of many who had them, and many who were paralyzed or lame were healed.
    • Isa 32:4 The heart of the hasty will understand and know, and the tongue of the stammerers will hasten to speak distinctly.
    • Mat 9:32 As they were going away, behold, a demon-oppressed man who was mute was brought to him.
    • Mat 12:22 Then a demon-oppressed man who was blind and mute was brought to him, and he healed him, so that the man spoke and saw.
    • Isa 41:18 I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys. I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water.
    • John 7:38 Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'”

    7 the parched ground will become a pool,
    and the thirsty land, springs.
    In the haunt of jackals, in their lairs,
    there will be grass, reeds, and papyrus.

    • Isa 34:13 Thorns shall grow over its strongholds, nettles and thistles in its fortresses. It shall be the haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches.

    8 A road will be there and a way;
    it will be called the Holy Way.
    The unclean will not travel on it,
    but it will be for the one who walks the path.
    Fools will not wander on it.

    • 35:8 Israel, with its deep wadis and mountainous terrain, was a hard land to cross, but Isaiah foresaw a road. This road will be the Holy Way, a name indicating that it would provide access to God. While the unclean would not travel on it since it led to the presence of a holy God, even the fools would not get lost if they sought to walk this path. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1090). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 52:1 Awake, awake, put on your strength, O Zion; put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city; for there shall no more come into you the uncircumcised and the unclean.
    • Rev 21:27 But nothing unclean will ever enter it, nor anyone who does what is detestable or false, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
    • Isa 11:9 They shall not hurt or destroy in all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the LORD as the waters cover the sea.
    • Eze 34:25 “I will make with them a covenant of peace and banish wild beasts from the land, so that they may dwell securely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods.

    9 There will be no lion there,
    and no vicious beast will go up on it;
    they will not be found there.
    But the redeemed will walk on it,
    10 and the ransomed of the LORD will return
    and come to Zion with singing,
    crowned with unending joy.
    Joy and gladness will overtake them,
    and sorrow and sighing will flee

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 35:1–10). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


    Chapter 36

    701 B.C.

    Return to top

    SENNACHERIB’S INVASION

    1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria attacked all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.

    • 36:1 The year was 701 BC. The Assyrians had defeated the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 BC and put Judah in a position where they had to pay annual tribute to keep the Assyrians from attacking them. In 703 BC Sennacherib succeeded his father Sargon on the throne of Assyria. Many nations, including Judah, seized upon this succession in leadership as an opportunity to rebel against Assyria. After taking care of rebellions in other parts of his empire, Sennacherib turned his attention to Judah in 701 BC. He easily took many of the smaller fortified cities on the way to Jerusalem. For accounts of this confrontation, see 2Kg 18–19 and 2Ch 32. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1090). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2Ki 18:13, 17 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them. 17 And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rab-saris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Washer’s Field.
    • 2Ch 32:1 After these things and these acts of faithfulness, Sennacherib king of Assyria came and invaded Judah and encamped against the fortified cities, thinking to win them for himself.

    2 Then the king of Assyria sent his royal spokesman, along with a massive army, from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. The Assyrian stood near the conduit of the upper pool, by the road to Launderer’s Field.

    • 36:2 Lachish was an important garrison city about thirty miles west of Jerusalem. Along with other cities, it guarded the road that led to Jerusalem. The king of Assyria, along with his armies, was still at Lachish when he sent his royal spokesman (perhaps a Hebrew representation of an Akkadian title “chief cupbearer”), to present an ultimatum to Jerusalem. The spokesman stood at the same place where Isaiah had confronted Ahaz at an earlier time (7:3). This reminds the reader that the earlier Judean king was told not to trust the Assyrians, but Ahaz did not heed this advice, thus leading to the present situation. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1090). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    3 Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the court secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, came out to him.
    4 The royal spokesman said to them, “Tell Hezekiah:

    The great king, the king of Assyria, says this: What are you relying on? 5 You think mere words are strategy and strength for war. Who are you now relying on that you have rebelled against me?

    • 36:4–5 The purpose of the spokesman’s speech was to try to get Hezekiah to surrender.
    • 2Ki 18:19 And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours?

    6 Look, you are relying on Egypt, that splintered reed of a staff that will pierce the hand of anyone who grabs it and leans on it. This is how Pharaoh king of Egypt is to all who rely on him.

    • 36:6 The royal spokesman then undermined any confidence the nation of Judah might have in Egypt as an ally. He used the metaphor of a splintered reed of a staff. A staff was something a person leaned on for support. However, this staff was made out of a reed that could not support a person’s weight. Indeed, God through Isaiah had been making the same point. Egypt was not an ally that could be trusted. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Eze 29:6, 7 Then all the inhabitants of Egypt shall know that I am the LORD. “Because you have been a staff of reed to the house of Israel, 7 when they grasped you with the hand, you broke and tore all their shoulders; and when they leaned on you, you broke and made all their loins to shake.

    7 Suppose you say to me, ‘We rely on the LORD our God.’ Isn’t he the one whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and Jerusalem, ‘You are to worship at this altar’?

    • 36:7 Finally, the spokesman questioned whether God would provide protection to Hezekiah. His argument shows that he did not understand the religion of Judah. Indeed, the removal of all altars except the one on Mount Zion was in conformity with the law of centralization in Dt 12. However, the spokesman had a pagan mind-set that assumed a god would be pleased with multiple altars, and conversely displeased if the number of altars were constricted. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    8 “Now make a deal with my master, the king of Assyria. I’ll give you two thousand horses if you’re able to supply riders for them! 9 How then can you drive back a single officer among the least of my master’s servants? How can you rely on Egypt for chariots and horsemen?

    • 36:8–9 The spokesman then taunted Judah by offering them two thousand horses, suggesting that they could not find riders for them. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    10 Have I attacked this land to destroy it without the LORD’s approval? The LORD said to me, ‘Attack this land and destroy it.’ ”

    • 36:10 Here the spokesman’s statement reflects ancient Near Eastern pagan theology. The Assyrians believed that the God of Israel was a real deity, though perhaps not a strong one. The spokesman claimed that Judah’s God had ordered the nation’s destruction. God did use foreign nations on occasion to punish his own people, but in this case the spokesman was wrong, as further developments of the confrontation between Assyria and Israel would indicate. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the royal spokesman, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, since we understand it. Don’t speak to us in Hebrew within earshot of the people who are on the wall.”

    • 36:11 The Assyrians spoke a dialect of Akkadian, and the Judeans spoke Hebrew at this time. The spokesman probably had been speaking Hebrew to the Judean delegation. The leaders of Judah did not want the people to be frightened by the spokesman’s speech. Perhaps because they did not know how to speak Akkadian, they requested that the conversation take place in Aramaic. This language was closely related to Hebrew. It was known more broadly throughout the ancient Near East, but not by the people who were listening to this conversation. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    12 But the royal spokesman replied, “Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the men who are sitting on the wall, who are destined with you to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?”

    • 36:12 However, it served the spokesman’s propagandistic purpose to have the people hear and be frightened by the coming Assyrian army, so he refused this request. He reminded them of the consequences of a long siege. They would run out of water and have to drink their urine; they would run out of food and have to eat their excrement. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    13 Then the royal spokesman stood and called out loudly in Hebrew:

    Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14 This is what the king says: “Don’t let Hezekiah deceive you, for he cannot rescue you. 15 Don’t let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on the LORD, saying, ‘The LORD will certainly rescue us! This city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.’ ”

    • 36:15 The spokesman mocked the idea of trusting in God to rescue Judah from Assyria. But as the previous chapters have asserted many times, trusting God is precisely what the people of Judah needed to do in this situation. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    16 Don’t listen to Hezekiah, for this is what the king of Assyria says: “Make peace with me and surrender to me. Then every one of you may eat from his own vine and his own fig tree and drink water from his own cistern 17 until I come and take you away to a land like your own land—a land of grain and new wine, a land of bread and vineyards.

    • 36:16–17 Assyria’s imperialistic policy called for the deportation of a subjugated people. The spokesman presented his ultimatum for surrender. For the time being, the Judeans would stay in their own land, but after a while, they would be deported to another land. Such a policy was put into place in 722 BC when the Assyrians conquered the northern kingdom and deported the vast majority of the native population and then brought in foreigners to live there. This policy was intended to break the connection between a people and the god of their land. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Zec 3:10 In that day, declares the LORD of hosts, every one of you will invite his neighbor to come under his vine and under his fig tree.”

    18 Beware that Hezekiah does not mislead you by saying, ‘The LORD will rescue us.’ Has any one of the gods of the nations rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they rescued Samaria from my power? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands ever rescued his land from my power? So will the LORD rescue Jerusalem from my power?”

    • 36:18–20 The spokesman argued that the God of Judah, Yahweh, could not save Judah any more than the gods of other nations and cities that had been defeated by Assyria. He specifically mentioned the defeat of three cities whose gods were unable to rescue their inhabitants. Arpad and Hamath were cities in northern Syria known to have been defeated by Assyria at an earlier time. The exact identification of Sepharvaim is unknown. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1092). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    21 But they kept silent; they didn’t say anything, for the king’s command was, “Don’t answer him.” 22 Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the court secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the court historian, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn and reported to him the words of the royal spokesman.

    • 36:21–22 Hezekiah did not give his officials authority to negotiate with Assyria. They simply reported the proceedings to the king. Their clothes that were torn were a customary sign of mourning, showing their deep distress. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1093). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 36:1–22). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


    Chapter 37

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    HEZEKIAH SEEKS ISAIAH’S COUNSEL

    1 When King Hezekiah heard their report, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went to the LORD’s temple.

    • 37:1 The report from Hezekiah’s officials (36:22) led the king to assume a posture of mourning, indicated by the customary tearing of his clothes and putting on sackcloth, a rough and uncomfortable material. He then went to the temple, demonstrating the proper response to such a crisis. He did not turn to a foreign nation like Egypt for help, but he turned to God. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1093). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2 Ki 19:1 And it came to pass, when king Hezekiah heard it, that he rent his clothes, and covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the LORD.

    2 He sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, Shebna the court secretary, and the leading priests, who were covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3 They said to him, “This is what Hezekiah says: ‘Today is a day of distress, rebuke, and disgrace. It is as if children have come to the point of birth, and there is no strength to deliver them. 4 Perhaps the LORD your God will hear all the words of the royal spokesman, whom his master the king of Assyria sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke him for the words that the LORD your God has heard. Therefore offer a prayer for the surviving remnant.’ ”

    • 37:2–4 Hezekiah then sent two of his officials, Eliakim and Shebna, along with senior priests, to elicit prayers on behalf of the nation from the prophet Isaiah. One of the main roles of a prophet was to provide intercessory prayer. The first mention of a prophet in the Bible links the office with prayer (Gn 20:7). Most of the prophets, beginning with Moses (Ex 33) and Samuel (1Sm 12:23), demonstrated the important role of prayer in their work. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1093). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    5 So the servants of King Hezekiah went to Isaiah, 6 who said to them, “Tell your master, ‘The LORD says this: Don’t be afraid because of the words you have heard, with which the king of Assyria’s attendants have blasphemed me.

    • 37:5–6 Isaiah assured King Hezekiah through his men that God would remedy the threat presented by the Assyrian army. God took the Assyrian challenge personally. The king had shown trust in the Lord by approaching Isaiah, his servant, to pray. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1093). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    7 I am about to put a spirit in him and he will hear a rumor and return to his own land, where I will cause him to fall by the sword.’ ”

    • 37:7 God would send a spirit of deception to the Assyrian king so he would hear and believe a falsehood that would cause him to retreat. The fact that God would send such a spirit evokes memory of the “evil spirit” God sent to torment Saul (1Sm 16:14) and the “lying spirit” God used to deceive King Ahab (1Kg 22:22). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1093). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    SENNACHERIB’S LETTER

    8 When the royal spokesman heard that the king of Assyria had pulled out of Lachish, he left and found him fighting against Libnah.

    • 37:8 When the royal spokesman had traveled to Jerusalem, the Assyrian king and his army was at Lachish (36:2); but when the spokesman returned, the king was at Libnah, a town about eight miles northeast of Lachish. Sennacherib had completed the capture of Lachish and had moved on to the next city on what seemed to be an unstoppable march toward Jerusalem. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1093). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    9 The king had heard concerning King Tirhakah of Cush, “He has set out to fight against you.” So when he heard this, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying,

    • 37:9 King Tirhakah of Cush at this point in history (701 BC) may have been crown prince of Egypt. He became pharaoh of all Egypt in 690 BC and ruled until 664 BC. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1094). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    10 “Say this to King Hezekiah of Judah: ‘Don’t let your God, on whom you rely, deceive you by promising that Jerusalem won’t be handed over to the king of Assyria.

    • 37:10 The rumor of Tirhakah’s advance on his rear flank caused Sennacherib to retreat from his advance on Jerusalem, but before he left he sent a message in the form of a “letter” (v. 14) to warn Hezekiah that his departure was only temporary. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1094). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    11 Look, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the countries: they completely destroyed them. Will you be rescued? 12 Did the gods of the nations that my predecessors destroyed rescue them—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the Edenites in Telassar? 13 Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, Hena, or Ivvah?’ ”

    • 37:11–13 Sennacherib again told Hezekiah (see the spokesman’s speech in 36:18–20) that he should not trust the Lord. After all, the gods of other nations and cities conquered by Assyria in the past had been unable to help them. Most of the sites listed here were in what is today eastern Turkey (Haran, the city where Abraham and his family stayed for a while before descending into the promised land; see Gn 11:31–32) or northern Syria (Gozan … Rezeph and Eden). One site, Telassar, has been associated with a location (Til-Ashshuri) in what is today Iraq near the Diyala River. On Hamath … Arpad, and Sepharvaim, see note at 36:18–20. The locations of Hena and Ivvah are unknown. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1094). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Jer 49:23 Concerning Damascus. Hamath is confounded, and Arpad: for they have heard evil tidings: they are fainthearted; there is sorrow on the sea; it cannot be quiet.

    HEZEKIAH’S PRAYER

    14 Hezekiah took the letter from the messengers’ hands, read it, then went up to the LORD’s temple and spread it out before the LORD.

    15 Then Hezekiah prayed to the LORD:

    • 37:14–15 Hezekiah immediately goes to the Lord, his only hope. He does not suppose to inform God of the contents of the letter, but lays it out as an expression of faith—only God can reply to such outrageous claims. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1094). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    16 LORD of Armies, God of Israel, enthroned between the cherubim, you are God—you alone—of all the kingdoms of the earth. You made the heavens and the earth. 17 Listen closely, LORD, and hear; open your eyes, LORD, and see. Hear all the words that Sennacherib has sent to mock the living God.

    • Dan 1:18 Now at the end of the days that the king had said he should bring them in, then the prince of the eunuchs brought them in before Nebuchadnezzar.

    18 LORD, it is true that the kings of Assyria have devastated all these countries and their lands. 19 They have thrown their gods into the fire, for they were not gods but made from wood and stone by human hands. So they have destroyed them. 20 Now, LORD our God, save us from his power so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you, LORD, are God,aa—you alone.

    • 37:18–20 Sennacherib had dared to compare the true God to mere idols and suggested that he would defeat the Lord’s people as easily as he had defeated the gods of the other countries. Hezekiah appealed to God based on his glory. If Judah should be defeated, then the nations, and in particular Assyria, would believe that Yahweh was just like the false gods of all the other nations. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p.1095). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    GOD’S ANSWER THROUGH ISAIAH

    21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent a message to Hezekiah: “The LORD, the God of Israel, says, ‘Because you prayed to me about King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22 this is the word the LORD has spoken against him:

    Virgin Daughter Zion
    despises you and scorns you;
    Daughter Jerusalem shakes her head
    behind your back.

    • 37:22 Daughter Zion is a personification of Zion, the most holy location in Judah. This reminds the reader of the intimate relationship God enjoyed with his people. The response was addressed to none other than Sennacherib, so the use of this title for God’s people shows from the start how important they were to Yahweh. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1095). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    23 Who is it you have mocked and blasphemed?
    Against whom have you raised your voice
    and lifted your eyes in pride?
    Against the Holy One of Israel!

    • 37:23 God was enraged by Sennacherib’s mocking condescension toward him, treating him as a local and powerless deity. He was the Holy One of Israel, one of Isaiah’s favorite titles for God, emphasizing his separateness, moral perfection, and uniqueness. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1095). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    24 You have mocked the Lord through your servants.
    You have said, “With my many chariots
    I have gone up to the heights of the mountains,
    to the far recesses of Lebanon.
    I cut down its tallest cedars,
    its choice cypress trees.
    I came to its distant heights,
    its densest forest.
    25 I dug wells and drank water in foreign lands.
    I dried up all the streams of Egypt
    with the soles of my feet.”

    26 Have you not heard?
    I designed it long ago;
    I planned it in days gone by.
    I have now brought it to pass,
    and you have crushed fortified cities
    into piles of rubble.
    27 Their inhabitants have become powerless,
    dismayed, and ashamed.
    They are plants of the field,
    tender grass,
    grass on the rooftops,
    blasted by the east wind.

    • 37:26–27 Now God revealed to Sennacherib the true nature of things. Sennacherib had boasted of his achievements, but God announced that he had done nothing without divine design. His victories had come about only because God had willed it. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1095). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    28 But I know your sitting down,
    your going out and your coming in,
    and your raging against me.
    29 Because your raging against me
    and your arrogance have reached my ears,
    I will put my hook in your nose
    and my bit in your mouth;
    I will make you go back
    the way you came.

    • 37:29 It was Assyrian practice, as illustrated in the bas-reliefs that adorned their palaces, to put a hook in the nose or the mouth of captives as they carried them into exile. God told Sennacherib that he would be subjected to this brutal and degrading treatment. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1095). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 30:28 And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.
    • Eze 38:4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

    30 “ ‘This will be the sign for you: This year you will eat what grows on its own, and in the second year what grows from that. But in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 31 The surviving remnant of the house of Judah will again take root downward and bear fruit upward. 32 For a remnant will go out from Jerusalem, and survivors from Mount Zion. The zeal of the LORD of Armies will accomplish this.’

    • 37:30–32 God directed these words to Hezekiah, king of Judah, to show him that the future would see a turn for the better for God’s people. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1096). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 37:30 Because of the siege by Assyria, the Judeans were penned up behind the walls of Jerusalem and had not been able to plant their crops. Thus, they would eat what grew on its own, an unreliable volunteer crop. After Assyria lifted the siege, they would be able to plant, but not until the third year would agriculture get back to normal. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1096). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 37:31–32 Now the pronouncement speaks of a metaphorical harvest—of the surviving remnant of the people of God. The future will see the remnant become productive.
    • 2Ki 19:31 For out of Jerusalem shall go forth a remnant, and they that escape out of mount Zion: the zeal of the LORD of hosts shall do this.
    • Isa 9:7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.

    33 “Therefore, this is what the LORD says about the king of Assyria:

    He will not enter this city,
    shoot an arrow here,
    come before it with a shield,
    or build up a siege ramp against it.
    34 He will go back
    the way he came,
    and he will not enter this city.
    This is the LORD’s declaration.
    35 I will defend this city and rescue it
    for my sake
    and for the sake of my servant David.”

    • 37:33–35 God directed his attention back to the king of Assyria. He announced that Sennacherib would fail at his attempt to take the city. He would not even begin the assault but would return to Assyria. God would do this for his own glory and because of the promise he had made to David. God promised David that “your house and kingdom will endure before me forever, and your throne will be established forever” (2Sm 7:16). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1096). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2Ki 20:6 And I will add unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake.
    • Isa 38:6 And I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria: and I will defend this city.

    DEFEAT AND DEATH OF SENNACHERIB

    36 Then the angel of the LORD went out and struck down one hundred eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians. When the people got up the next morning, there were all the dead bodies!

    • 2Ki 19:35 And it came to pass that night, that the angel of the LORD went out, and smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand: and when they arose early in the morning, behold, they were all dead corpses.

    37 So King Sennacherib of Assyria broke camp and left. He returned home and lived in Nineveh.

    • 37:36–37 God sent his angel to kill the Assyrians without a battle. No proximate cause is given for the death of the enemy soldiers, though it is likely that God used disease to accomplish his goal. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1096). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    38 One day, while he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and escaped to the land of Ararat. Then his son Esar-haddon became king in his place.

    • 37:38 Nisroch was an unknown Assyrian god or, more likely, the name given by the Hebrews to a god known by another name. Ararat was a region located around Lake Van north of Assyria. It was known in antiquity as Urartu and was a long-standing foe of Assyria, thus a likely place for the murderous sons of Sennacherib to escape. While Adrammelech and Sharezer are not known by name, Esar-haddona is known to have succeeded his father Sennacherib after the king’s death in 683 BC. Since these events happened in 683 BC, it appears that almost twenty years passed from the time Sennacherib withdrew from Jerusalem in 701 BC to the time when he died at the hands of his sons. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1096). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 37:1–38). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


    Chapter 38

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    HEZEKIAH’S ILLNESS AND RECOVERY

    38:1 In those days Hezekiah became terminally ill. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, “This is what the LORD says: ‘Set your house in order, for you are about to die; you will not recover.’ ”

    • 2 Kings 20:1 (KJV) 1 In those days was Hezekiah sick unto death. And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.

    2 Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the LORD.

    • Psalms 50:15 (KJV) And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee, and thou shalt glorify me.

    3 He said, “Please, LORD, remember how I have walked before you faithfully and wholeheartedly, and have done what pleases you.” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

    • Nehemiah 5:19 (KJV) Think upon me, my God, for good, according to all that I have done for this people.
    • 2 Chronicles 31:20-21 (KJV And thus did Hezekiah throughout all Judah, and wrought that which was good and right and truth before the LORD his God. 21 And in every work that he began in the service of the house of God, and in the law, and in the commandments, to seek his God, he did it with all his heart, and prospered.

    4 Then the word of the LORD came to Isaiah: 5 “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the LORD God of your ancestor David says: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Look, I am going to add fifteen years to your life.

    • 38:4–5 God heard the prayer of Hezekiah and increased his lifespan by fifteen years. Interestingly, God is described as the LORD God of your ancestor David. Hezekiah was the descendant of David, who had been promised a son on the throne in Jerusalem forever. Hezekiah may not have had an heir at this time (his heir, Manasseh, was twelve years old when Hezekiah died, 2Kg 21:1). This meant that if he died prior to the fifteen-year extension, the Davidic dynasty would come to an end. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1096). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Nehemiah 1:4 (KJV) And it came to pass, when I heard these words, that I sat down and wept, and mourned certain days, and fasted, and prayed before the God of heaven,

    6 And I will rescue you and this city from the grasp of the king of Assyria; I will defend this city.

    • 2 Chronicles 32:22 (KJV) Thus the LORD saved Hezekiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem from the hand of Sennacherib the king of Assyria, and from the hand of all other, and guided them on every side.

    7 This is the sign to you from the LORD that he will do what he has promised: 8 I am going to make the sun’s shadow that goes down on the stairway of Ahaz go back by ten steps.’ ” So the sun’s shadow went back the ten steps it had descended.

    • 38:8 The return of the sun’s shadow on the stairway indicated a lengthening of the day that would be comparable to God’s lengthening of the life of Hezekiah. The parallel account in 2Kg 20:9–11 indicates that Hezekiah was allowed to choose whether the shadow would go ahead or go back ten steps. Hezekiah chose the latter since he considered that the more difficult feat. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1096). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2 Kings 20:8-11 (KJV) And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day? 9 And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the LORD, that the LORD will do the thing that he hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? 10 And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. 11 And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the LORD: and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.

    9 A poem by King Hezekiah of Judah after he had been sick and had recovered from his illness:

    10 I said: In the prime of my life
    I must go to the gates of Sheol;
    I am deprived of the rest of my years.

    • 2 Corinthians 1:9 (KJV) 9 But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead:

    11 I said: I will never see the LORD,
    the LORD in the land of the living;
    I will not look on humanity any longer
    with the inhabitants of what is passing away.

    • 38:11 The land of the living refers to this world and leaves open the question about Hezekiah’s belief in the afterlife. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1097). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psalms 6:4-5 (KJV) Return, O LORD, deliver my soul: oh save me for thy mercies’ sake. 5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?

    12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
    like a shepherd’s tent.
    I have rolled up my life like a weaver;
    he cuts me off from the loom.
    By nightfall you make an end of me.

    • Job 7:6 My days are swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, and are spent without hope.

    13 I thought until the morning:
    He will break all my bones like a lion.
    By nightfall you make an end of me.
    14 I chirp like a swallow or a crane;
    I moan like a dove.
    My eyes grow weak looking upward.
    Lord, I am oppressed; support me.

    • Isa 59:11 We roar all like bears, and mourn sore like doves: we look for judgment, but there is none; for salvation, but it is far off from us.

    15 What can I say?
    He has spoken to me,
    and he himself has done it.
    I walk along slowly all my years
    because of the bitterness of my soul.

    • Job 17:11 My days are past, my purposes are broken off, even the thoughts of my heart.

    16 Lord, by such things people live,
    and in every one of them my spirit finds life;
    you have restored me to health
    and let me live.
    17 Indeed, it was for my own well-being
    that I had such intense bitterness;
    but your love has delivered me
    from the Pit of destruction,
    for you have thrown all my sins behind your back.
    18 For Sheol cannot thank you;
    Death cannot praise you.
    Those who go down to the Pit
    cannot hope for your faithfulness.

    • Psa 6:5 For in death there is no remembrance of thee: in the grave who shall give thee thanks?
    • Psa 30:9 What profit is there in my blood, when I go down to the pit? Shall the dust praise thee? shall it declare thy truth?
    • Psa 88:11 Shall thy lovingkindness be declared in the grave? or thy faithfulness in destruction?
    • Psa 115:17 The dead praise not the LORD, neither any that go down into silence.
    • Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

    19 The living, only the living can thank you,
    as I do today;
    a father will make your faithfulness known to children.

    • Deu 4:9 Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all the days of thy life: but teach them thy sons, and thy sons’ sons;
    • Deu 6:7 And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.
    • Psa 78:3, 4 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us. 4 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

    20 The LORD is ready to save me;
    we will play stringed instruments
    all the days of our lives
    at the house of the LORD.

    • 38:19 God benefits from keeping his saints alive. The living can praise God, and they can share that praise with the following generations. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1097). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2Ki 20:7 And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.

    21 Now Isaiah had said, “Let them take a lump of pressed figs and apply it to his infected skin, so that he may recover.” 22 And Hezekiah had asked, “What is the sign that I will go up to the LORD’s temple?”

    • 2Ki20:8 And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the LORD will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the LORD the third day?

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 38:1–22). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


    Chapter 39

    701 B.C.

    Return to top

    HEZEKIAH’S FOLLY

    39:1 At that time Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah since he heard that he had been sick and had recovered.

    • 39:1 Merodach-baladan was king of Babylon, at this time a province of the Assyrian Empire. The letters and a gift that he sent to Hezekiah were part of a strategy to get Hezekiah to join with him in a rebellious alliance. This story in 39:1–8 finds its parallel in 2Kg 20:12–19. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1097). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2Ki 20:12 At that time Berodachbaladan, the son of Baladan, king of Babylon, sent letters and a present unto Hezekiah: for he had heard that Hezekiah had been sick.

    2 Hezekiah was pleased with the letters, and he showed the envoys his treasure house—the silver, the gold, the spices, and the precious oil—and all his armory, and everything that was found in his treasuries. There was nothing in his palace and in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them.

    • 2Ch 32:31 Howbeit in the business of the ambassadors of the princes of Babylon, who sent unto him to enquire of the wonder that was done in the land, God left him, to try him, that he might know all that was in his heart.

    3 Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked him, “What did these men say, and where did they come to you from?”
    Hezekiah replied, “They came to me from a distant country, from Babylon.”
    4 Isaiah asked, “What have they seen in your palace?”
    Hezekiah answered, “They have seen everything in my palace. There isn’t anything in my treasuries that I didn’t show them.”
    5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD of Armies: 6 ‘Look, the days are coming when everything in your palace and all that your predecessors have stored up until today will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will be left,’ says the LORD.

    • Jer 20:5 Moreover I will deliver all the strength of this city, and all the labours thereof, and all the precious things thereof, and all the treasures of the kings of Judah will I give into the hand of their enemies, which shall spoil them, and take them, and carry them to Babylon.

    7 ‘Some of your descendants—who come from you, whom you father—will be taken away, and they will become eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ ”

    • 39:5–7 God through the prophet Isaiah expressed his great displeasure with Hezekiah. The king’s actions demonstrated that he was trusting foreign nations like Babylon for his protection rather than God. The Lord’s punishment would take away the wealth that Hezekiah had been showing off to Merodach-baladan. Another part of the punishment was that some of the king’s descendants would be taken away and would become eunuchs in Babylon. Babylonian records indicate that a number of the Babylonian king’s advisers were eunuchs. Some have speculated that Daniel and his three friends (described as “from the royal family and from the nobility,” Dn 1:3) were also made eunuchs since Ashpenaz’s title is literally rendered “chief of the eunuchs.” Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1098). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    8 Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good,” for he thought: There will be peace and security during my lifetime.

    39:8 The implication of the announced punishment was that it would happen in a future generation. Hezekiah’s selfish relief does not speak well for him. The reference is likely to the turbulent end of the Davidic dynasty in Judah and specifically to the events surrounding the exile and removal of the last king, Zedekiah.
    Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1098). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

  • 1Sa 3:18 And Samuel told him every whit, and hid nothing from him. And he said, It is the LORD: let him do what seemeth him good.
  • Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 39:1–8). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 40

    Return to top

    GOD’S PEOPLE COMFORTED

    40:1 “Comfort, comfort my people,”
    says your God.
    2 “Speak tenderly to Jerusalem,
    and announce to her
    that her time of hard service is over,
    her iniquity has been pardoned,
    and she has received from the LORD’s hand
    double for all her sins.”

    • Isa 61:7 For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them.

    3 A voice of one crying out:

    Prepare the way of the LORD in the wilderness;
    make a straight highway for our God in the desert.

    • Mat 3:3 For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
    • Mal 3:1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.
    • Psa 68:4 Sing unto God, sing praises to his name: extol him that rideth upon the heavens by his name JAH, and rejoice before him.

    4 Every valley will be lifted up,
    and every mountain and hill will be leveled;
    the uneven ground will become smooth
    and the rough places, a plain.

    • Isa 45:2 I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight: I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron:

    5 And the glory of the LORD will appear,
    and all humanity together will see it,
    for the mouth of the LORD has spoken.

    6 A voice was saying, “Cry out!”
    Another said, “What should I cry out?”
    “All humanity is grass,
    and all its goodness is like the flower of the field.

    • Job 14:2 He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.

    7 The grass withers, the flowers fade
    when the breath of the LORD blows on them;
    indeed, the people are grass.
    8 The grass withers, the flowers fade,
    but the word of our God remains forever.”

    • Joh 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?

    9 Zion, herald of good news,
    go up on a high mountain.
    Jerusalem, herald of good news,
    raise your voice loudly.
    Raise it, do not be afraid!
    Say to the cities of Judah,
    “Here is your God!”
    10 See, the Lord GOD comes with strength,
    and his power establishes his rule.
    His wages are with him,
    and his reward accompanies him.

    • Isa 59:16 And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.
    • Isa 62:11 Behold, the LORD hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, his reward is with him, and his work before him.

    11 He protects his flock like a shepherd;
    he gathers the lambs in his arms
    and carries them in the fold of his garment.
    He gently leads those that are nursing.

    • Eze 34:23 And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.
    • Joh 10:11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.
    • Heb 13:20 Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant,
    • 1Pe 2:25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
    • 40:12–26 The series of rhetorical questions that appear in these verses have one intention—to demonstrate the uniqueness of the one true God. This assured God’s people that God not only wanted to deliver them, but he was able to do so. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1099). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    12 Who has measured the waters in the hollow of his hand
    or marked off the heavens with the span of his hand?
    Who has gathered the dust of the earth in a measure
    or weighed the mountains on a balance
    and the hills on the scales?

    • Pro 30:4 Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fists? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his son’s name, if thou canst tell?

    13 Who has directed the Spirit of the LORD,
    or who gave him counsel?

    • Job 21:22 Shall any teach God knowledge? seeing he judgeth those that are high.
    • 1Co 2:16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.

    14 Who did he consult?
    Who gave him understanding
    and taught him the paths of justice?
    Who taught him knowledge
    and showed him the way of understanding?
    15 Look, the nations are like a drop in a bucket;
    they are considered as a speck of dust on the scales;
    he lifts up the islands like fine dust.
    16 Lebanon’s cedars are not enough for fuel,
    or its animals enough for a burnt offering.
    17 All the nations are as nothing before him;
    they are considered by him
    as empty nothingness.

    • Dan 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
    • Psa 62:9 Surely men of low degree are vanity, and men of high degree are a lie: to be laid in the balance, they are altogether lighter than vanity.

    18 With whom will you compare God?
    What likeness will you set up for comparison with him?

    • Isa 46:5 To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like?
    • Acts 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

    19 An idol?—something that a smelter casts
    and a metalworker plates with gold
    and makes silver chains for?

    • Isa 41:6-7 They helped every one his neighbour; and every one said to his brother, Be of good courage. 7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
    • Isa 44:12 The smith with the tongs both worketh in the coals, and fashioneth it with hammers, and worketh it with the strength of his arms: yea, he is hungry, and his strength faileth: he drinketh no water, and is faint.
    • Jer 10:3 For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe.

    20 A poor person contributes wood for a pedestal
    that will not rot.
    He looks for a skilled craftsman
    to set up an idol that will not fall over.

    • Isa 41:7 So the carpenter encouraged the goldsmith, and he that smootheth with the hammer him that smote the anvil, saying, It is ready for the sodering: and he fastened it with nails, that it should not be moved.
    • Jer 10:4 They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not.

    21 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
    Has it not been declared to you
    from the beginning?
    Have you not considered
    the foundations of the earth?

    • Psa 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork.
    • Act 14:17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
    • Rom 1:19 Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

    22 God is enthroned above the circle of the earth;
    its inhabitants are like grasshoppers.
    He stretches out the heavens like thin cloth
    and spreads them out like a tent to live in.

    • Job 9:8 Which alone spreadeth out the heavens, and treadeth upon the waves of the sea.
    • Psa 104:2 Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment: who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain:
    • Isa 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
    • Isa 51:13 And forgettest the LORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor?
    • Jer 10:12 He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.

    23 He reduces princes to nothing
    and makes judges of the earth like a wasteland.

    • Job 12:21 He poureth contempt upon princes, and weakeneth the strength of the mighty.
    • Psa 107:40 He poureth contempt upon princes, and causeth them to wander in the wilderness, where there is no way.

    24 They are barely planted, barely sown,
    their stem hardly takes root in the ground
    when he blows on them and they wither,
    and a whirlwind carries them away like stubble.

    25 “To whom will you compare me,
    or who is my equal?” asks the Holy One.

    26 Look up and see!
    Who created these?
    He brings out the stars by number;
    he calls all of them by name.
    Because of his great power and strength,
    not one of them is missing.

    • Psa 147:4 He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

    27 Jacob, why do you say,
    and Israel, why do you assert,
    “My way is hidden from the LORD,
    and my claim is ignored by my God”?
    28 Do you not know?
    Have you not heard?
    The LORD is the everlasting God,
    the Creator of the whole earth.
    He never becomes faint or weary;
    there is no limit to his understanding.

    • Psa 147:5 Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite.
    • Rom 11:33 O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

    29 He gives strength to the faint
    and strengthens the powerless.
    30 Youths may become faint and weary,
    and young men stumble and fall,
    31 but those who trust in the LORD
    will renew their strength;
    they will soar on wings like eagles;
    they will run and not become weary,
    they will walk and not faint.

    • Psa 103:5 Who satisfieth thy mouth with good things; so that thy youth is renewed like the eagle’s.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 40:1–31). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 41

    Return to top

    THE LORD VERSUS THE NATIONS’ GODS

    41 “Be silent before me, coasts and islands!
    And let peoples renew their strength.
    Let them approach; let them testify;
    let’s come together for the trial.

    • Oz notes: coasts and islands means “far off lands”. This is meant to sound like a trial.
    • Zec 2:13 Be silent, O all flesh, before the LORD: for he is raised up out of his holy habitation.

    2 Who has stirred up someone from the east?
    In righteousness he calls him to serve.
    The LORD hands nations over to him,
    and he subdues kings.
    He makes them like dust with his sword,
    like wind-driven stubble with his bow.

    • 41:2 The one from the east who subdues kings is a reference to Cyrus, king of Persia (45:1), whom God used to defeat Babylon in 539 BC. This brought the exile of Judah to an end. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1100). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 46:11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
    • Gen 14:14 And when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his trained servants, born in his own house, three hundred and eighteen, and pursued them unto Dan.
    • Isa 45:1 Thus saith the LORD to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut;

    3 He pursues them, going on safely,
    hardly touching the path with his feet.

    • hardly touching the path means that Cyrus conquered nations very quickly.

    Who has performed and done this,
    calling the generations from the beginning?
    I am the LORD, the first
    and with the last—I am he.”

    • Who has performed and done this = God has done this…he used Cyrus to do it, but it was all God.
    • Rev 1:17 And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last:
    • Rev 22:13 I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.

    5 The coasts and islands see and are afraid,
    the whole earth trembles.
    They approach and arrive.
    6 Each one helps the other,
    and says to another, “Take courage!”

    • Isa 40:19 The workman melteth a graven image, and the goldsmith spreadeth it over with gold, and casteth silver chains.

    7 The craftsman encourages the metalworker;
    the one who flattens with the hammer
    encourages the one who strikes the anvil,
    saying of the soldering, “It is good.”
    He fastens it with nails so that it will not fall over.

    • craftsman encourages the metalworker = the people who made the false idols that the people trusted in.
    • Isa 40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!
    • Isa 40:20 He that is so impoverished that he hath no oblation chooseth a tree that will not rot; he seeketh unto him a cunning workman to prepare a graven image, that shall not be moved.

    8 But you, Israel, my servant,
    Jacob, whom I have chosen,
    descendant of Abraham, my friend—

    • descendant of Abraham, = God keeping His Abrahamic covenant, restoring the people of Abraham.
    • Deu 7:6 For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God: the LORD thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto himself, above all people that are upon the face of the earth.
    • Deu 10:15 Only the LORD had a delight in thy fathers to love them, and he chose their seed after them, even you above all people, as it is this day.
    • Psa 135:4 For the LORD hath chosen Jacob unto himself, and Israel for his peculiar treasure.
    • Isa 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
    • 2Ch 20:7 Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?
    • Jas 2:23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.

    9 I brought you from the ends of the earth
    and called you from its farthest corners.
    I said to you: You are my servant;
    I have chosen you; I haven’t rejected you.

    • 41:9 God’s punishment of Judah led to exile in 586 BC when many of its leading citizens were taken to Babylon and from there scattered throughout the empire. Restoration involved bringing them back from the ends of the earth. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1100). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    10 Do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be afraid, for I am your God.
    I will strengthen you; I will help you;
    I will hold on to you with my righteous right hand.

    • right hand is often used as a reference to God’s military strength, his might!
    • Isa 43:5 Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west;
    • Deu 31:6 Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the LORD thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

    11 Be sure that all who are enraged against you
    will be ashamed and disgraced;
    those who contend with you
    will become as nothing and will perish.

  • Exo 23:22 But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.
  • Isa 45:24 Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed.
  • Isa 60:12 For the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish; yea, those nations shall be utterly wasted.
  • Zec 12:3 And in that day will I make Jerusalem a burdensome stone for all people: all that burden themselves with it shall be cut in pieces, though all the people of the earth be gathered together against it.
  • 12 You will look for those who contend with you,
    but you will not find them.
    Those who war against you
    will become absolutely nothing.
    13 For I am the LORD your God,
    who holds your right hand,
    who says to you, “Do not fear,
    I will help you.
    14 Do not fear, you worm Jacob,
    you men of Israel.
    I will help you”—
    this is the LORD’s declaration.
    Your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel.

    • Vs 13-14. Commentaries point out that Israel is not powerful enough, or large enough, to protect themselves. Israel’s protection coes from God.

    15 See, I will make you into a sharp threshing board,
    new, with many teeth.
    You will thresh mountains and pulverize them
    and make hills into chaff.

    • Mic 4:13 Arise and thresh, O daughter of Zion: for I will make thine horn iron, and I will make thy hoofs brass: and thou shalt beat in pieces many people: and I will consecrate their gain unto the LORD, and their substance unto the Lord of the whole earth.
    • 2Co 10:4 (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;)

    16 You will winnow them
    and a wind will carry them away,
    a whirlwind will scatter them.
    But you will rejoice in the LORD;
    you will boast in the Holy One of Israel.

    • Jer 51:2 And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.
    • Isa 45:25 In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.

    17 The poor and the needy seek water, but there is none;
    their tongues are parched with thirst.
    I will answer them.
    I am the LORD, the God of Israel. I will not abandon them.

    • 41:17–18 The phrase the poor and the needy here refers to God’s own down-and-out people whom he has punished. But God will restore them, turning their dry land into a watery paradise. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1101). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    18 I will open rivers on the barren heights,
    and springs in the middle of the plains.
    I will turn the desert into a pool
    and dry land into springs.

    • Isa 35:6,7 Then shall the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb sing: for in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert. 7 And the parched ground shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water: in the habitation of dragons, where each lay, shall be grass with reeds and rushes.
    • Isa 43:19 Behold, I will do a new thing; now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert.
    • Isa 44:3 For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring:
    • Psa 107:35 He turneth the wilderness into a standing water, and dry ground into watersprings.

    19 I will plant cedar, acacia, myrtle, and olive trees
    in the wilderness.
    I will put juniper, elm, and cypress trees together
    in the desert,
    20 so that all may see and know,
    consider and understand,
    that the hand of the LORD has done this,
    the Holy One of Israel has created it.

    • 19-20. Only God can make an orchard out of a wilderness. The “created” word used here is the same as created in Genesis.
    • Job 12:9 Who knoweth not in all these that the hand of the LORD hath wrought this?

    21 “Submit your case,” says the LORD.
    “Present your arguments,” says Jacob’s King.

    • Jacob’s King is God himself.

    22 “Let them come and tell us
    what will happen.
    Tell us the past events,
    so that we may reflect on them
    and know the outcome,
    or tell us the future.

    • Isa 45:21 Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.

    23 Tell us the coming events,
    then we will know that you are gods.
    Indeed, do something good or bad,
    then we will be in awe when we see it.

    • Isa 42:9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.
    • Isa 44:7, 8 And who, as I, shall call, and shall declare it, and set it in order for me, since I appointed the ancient people? and the things that are coming, and shall come, let them shew unto them. 8 Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any.
    • Isa 45:3 And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayest know that I, the LORD, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel.
    • Joh 13:19 Now I tell you before it come, that, when it is come to pass, ye may believe that I am he.
    • Jer 10:5 They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good.

    24 Look, you are nothing
    and your work is worthless.
    Anyone who chooses you is detestable.

    • 22-24. All the other “gods”; all the other “idols” are nothing.
    • Psa 115:8 They that make them are like unto them; so is every one that trusteth in them.
    • Isa 44:9 They that make a graven image are all of them vanity; and their delectable things shall not profit; and they are their own witnesses; they see not, nor know; that they may be ashamed.
    • 1Co 8:4 As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one.

    25 “I have stirred up one from the north, and he has come,
    one from the east who invokes my name.
    He will march over rulers as if they were mud,
    like a potter who treads the clay.

    • 41:25 King Cyrus of Persia is in mind here. He is said to be from the east (see note at v. 2) because his homeland was geographically east of Israel. On the other hand, he could at the same time be from the north because that was the direction from which he attacked Babylon. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1101). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Ezr 1:2 Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which is in Judah.

    26 Who told about this from the beginning,
    so that we might know,
    and from times past,
    so that we might say, ‘He is right’?
    No one announced it,
    no one told it,
    no one heard your words.

    • Isa 43:9 Let all the nations be gathered together, and let the people be assembled: who among them can declare this, and shew us former things? let them bring forth their witnesses, that they may be justified: or let them hear, and say, It is truth.

    27 I was the first to say to Zion,
    ‘Look! Here they are!’
    And I gave Jerusalem a herald with good news.

    • 41:26–27 While the idols were ignorant because they did not really exist, God knew the future. Indeed he knew about this from the beginning. The coming of Cyrus was good news to Jerusalem because his defeat of Babylon would mean that the exiles could come home. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1101). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 40:9 O Zion, that bringest good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, that bringest good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength; lift it up, be not afraid; say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!

    28 When I look, there is no one;
    there is no counselor among them;
    when I ask them, they have nothing to say.

    • Isa 63:5 And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

    29 Look, all of them are a delusion;
    their works are nonexistent;
    their images are wind and emptiness.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 41:1–29). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    Chapter 42

    690 B.C.

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    THE SERVANT’S MISSION

    42:1 “This is my servant; I strengthen him,
    this is my chosen one; I delight in him.
    I have put my Spirit on him;
    he will bring justice to the nations.

    • Commentaries all point to several possibilities for who my servant might be. Some say it might be Isaiah, some say King Cyrus, and of course some (most?) say it is Christ.
    • I have put my Spirit on him” means that God will empower those whom He choses to do his good will!
    • Isa 43:10 Ye are my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
    • Isa 49:3, 6 And said unto me, Thou art my servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified. 6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
    • Mat 12:18 Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.
    • Phi 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:
    • Mat 3:17 And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
    • Mat 17:5 While he yet spake, behold, a bright cloud overshadowed them: and behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him.
    • Eph 1:6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
    • Isa 11:2 And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;
    • Joh 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.

    2 He will not cry out or shout
    or make his voice heard in the streets.

    • 42:2 The servant will not be loud or obnoxious in carrying out his task. He will not cry out in pain. This assumes suffering as part of the servant’s future (chap. 53). At Gethsemane Jesus went quietly when arrested (Mt 26:47). Later he quietly bore the crossbeam of his cross a portion of the way as he walked the streets toward his execution site: Golgotha (Jn 19:17). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1102). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    3 He will not break a bruised reed,
    and he will not put out a smoldering wick;
    he will faithfully bring justice.

    • He will be a fair person, not wanting to hurt or destroy anyone, he will bring justice.

    4 He will not grow weak or be discouraged
    until he has established justice on earth.
    The coasts and islands will wait for his instruction.”

    • coasts and islands = God controls “everything and everywhere”… this is worldwide.
    • Gen 49:10 The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.

    5 This is what God, the LORD, says—
    who created the heavens and stretched them out,
    who spread out the earth and what comes from it,
    who gives breath to the people on it
    and spirit to those who walk on it—

    • God is the creator…he gave breath to Adam, and everyone since.
    • Isa 44:24 Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself;
    • Zec 12:1 The burden of the word of the LORD for Israel, saith the LORD, which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him.
    • Act 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;

    6 “I am the LORD. I have called you
    for a righteous purpose,
    and I will hold you by your hand.
    I will watch over you, and I will appoint you
    to be a covenant for the people
    and a light to the nations,

    • We are talking about the nation of Israel here. God had made a covenant with Abraham, Genesis 12:1-3, and all nations will be blessed by them.
    • Isa 43:1 But now thus saith the LORD that created thee, O Jacob, and he that formed thee, O Israel, Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art mine.
    • Isa 49:6, 8 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. 8
    • Luk 2:32 Thus saith the LORD, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages;
    • Act 13:47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, “‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'”

    7 in order to open blind eyes,
    to bring out prisoners from the dungeon,
    and those sitting in darkness from the prison house.

    • Isa 35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
    • Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
    • Luk 4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
    • 2Ti 2:26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
    • Heb 2:14 Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,
    • Isa 9:2 The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone.

    8 I am the LORD. That is my name,
    and I will not give my glory to another
    or my praise to idols.

  • Isa 48:11 For my own sake, for my own sake, I do it, for how should my name be profaned? My glory I will not give to another.
  • 9 The past events have indeed happened.
    Now I declare new events;
    I announce them to you before they occur.”

    A SONG OF PRAISE

    10 Sing a new song to the LORD;
    sing his praise from the ends of the earth,
    you who go down to the sea with all that fills it,
    you coasts and islands with your inhabitants.

    • 42:10 The expression new song occurs only in Isaiah, Psalms (Ps 33:3; 40:3; 98:1; 149:1), and Revelation (Rv 5:9; 14:3). With only minor exceptions, “new song” is associated, as here, with the image of God as a warrior. It is the warrior who causes all things to become new through his refining warfare Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1102). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 33:3 Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.
    • Psa 40:3 He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD.
    • Psa 98:1 A Psalm. Oh sing to the LORD a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.
    • Psa 107:23 Some went down to the sea in ships, doing business on the great waters;

    11 Let the desert and its cities shout,
    the settlements where Kedar dwells cry aloud.
    Let the inhabitants of Sela sing for joy;
    let them cry out from the mountaintops.
    12 Let them give glory to the LORD
    and declare his praise in the coasts and islands.
    13 The LORD advances like a warrior;
    he stirs up his zeal like a soldier.
    He shouts, he roars aloud,
    he prevails over his enemies.

    • When God is a warrior, He always win. There are no surprises!
    • Isa 31:4 For thus the LORD said to me, “As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called out against him he is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, so the LORD of hosts will come down to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.

    14 “I have kept silent from ages past;
    I have been quiet and restrained myself.
    But now, I will groan like a woman in labor,
    gasping breathlessly.

    • 42:14 God has been silent. He has not made an appearance as a warrior for a long time, but that is about to change. He is about to give birth to his righteous anger toward the enemy of his people. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1103). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    15 I will lay waste mountains and hills
    and dry up all their vegetation.
    I will turn rivers into islands
    and dry up marshes.
    16 I will lead the blind by a way they did not know;
    I will guide them on paths they have not known.
    I will turn darkness to light in front of them
    and rough places into level ground.
    This is what I will do for them,
    and I will not abandon them.
    17 They will be turned back and utterly ashamed—
    those who trust in an idol
    and say to a cast image,
    ‘You are our gods!’

    • 17. Those who trust in an idol will not be helped but will experience shame. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1103). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Psa 97:7 All worshipers of images are put to shame, who make their boast in worthless idols; worship him, all you gods!
    • Isa 1:29 For they shall be ashamed of the oaks that you desired; and you shall blush for the gardens that you have chosen.
    • Isa 44:11 Behold, all his companions shall be put to shame, and the craftsmen are only human. Let them all assemble, let them stand forth. They shall be terrified; they shall be put to shame together.
    • Isa 45:16 All of them are put to shame and confounded; the makers of idols go in confusion together.

    ISRAEL’S BLINDNESS AND DEAFNESS

    • 42:18–25 The chapter ends with a pronouncement that explains why God’s people will experience judgment before they receive the deliverance described in the previous hymn (vv. 10–17). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1103). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    18 “Listen, you deaf!
    Look, you blind, so that you may see.
    19 Who is blind but my servant,
    or deaf like my messenger I am sending?
    Who is blind like my dedicated one,
    or blind like the servant of the LORD?

    • Isa 43:8 Bring out the people who are blind, yet have eyes, who are deaf, yet have ears!
    • Eze 12:2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.
    • Joh 9:39, 41 Jesus said, “For judgment I came into this world, that those who do not see may see, and those who see may become blind.” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no guilt; but now that you say, ‘We see,’ your guilt remains.

    20 Though seeing many things, you pay no attention.
    Though his ears are open, he does not listen.”

    • 42:18–20 God describes his servant Israel as blind and deaf. These physical disabilities represent spiritual disabilities; they don’t perceive God’s guidance. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1103). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Rom 2:21 you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself? While you preach against stealing, do you steal?

    21 Because of his righteousness, the LORD was pleased
    to magnify his instruction and make it glorious.

    • 42:21 The people’s inability to see and hear God’s instruction was not a failure on God’s part. He magnified his instruction and made it glorious. Only the most spiritually insensitive could miss it. God had even sent the prophets—men like Isaiah and later Jeremiah and Ezekiel—to make his instruction clearer, but still they did not obey. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1103). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    22 But this is a people plundered and looted,
    all of them trapped in holes
    or imprisoned in dungeons.
    They have become plunder
    with no one to rescue them
    and loot, with no one saying, “Give it back!”

    • 42:22 God’s people have become plunder, a reference to the judgment he will bring on them with the exile. No one will help them. The reference to holes is to makeshift prisons, similar to the cistern in which Jeremiah was held (Jr 38). Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1103). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    23 Who among you will hear this?
    Let him listen and obey in the future.
    24 Who gave Jacob to the robber,
    and Israel to the plunderers?
    Was it not the LORD?
    Have we not sinned against him?
    They were not willing to walk in his ways,
    and they would not listen to his instruction.
    25 So he poured out his furious anger
    and the power of war on Jacob.
    It surrounded him with fire, but he did not know it;
    it burned him, but he didn’t take it to heart.

    • 42:23–25 God is the one who has allowed Israel to be the plunder of the nations as punishment for not following his law. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1103). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • 2Ki 25:9 And he burned the house of the LORD and the king’s house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down.
    • Hos 7:9 Strangers devour his strength, and he knows it not; gray hairs are sprinkled upon him, and he knows it not.

    Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Is 42:1–43:1). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.


    Chapter 43

    690 B.C.

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    RESTORATION OF ISRAEL

    43:1 Now this is what the LORD says—
    the one who created you, Jacob,
    and the one who formed you, Israel
    “Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have called you by your name; you are mine.

    • Jacob was renamed Israel in Genesis 32:28. God named Israel, showing ownership. God telling his people to do not fear, HE has the situation in hand and under control
    • Isa 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.
    • Isa 42:6 “I am the LORD; I have called you in righteousness; I will take you by the hand and keep you; I will give you as a covenant for the people, a light for the nations,
    • Isa 45:4 For the sake of my servant Jacob, and Israel my chosen, I call you by your name, I name you, though you do not know me.

    2 When you pass through the waters,
    I will be with you
    and the rivers will not overwhelm you,
    When you walk through the fire,
    you will not be scorched
    and the flame will not burn you.

    • Water can stand for forces of chaos and evil, see Daniel 7:1-9, or water can stand for personal duress, see Psalm 69:1-3. Notice, God is directly protecting them, showing a personal relationship.
    • Psa 66:12 you let men ride over our heads; we went through fire and through water; yet you have brought us out to a place of abundance.
    • Psa 91:3 For he will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the deadly pestilence.
    • Deu 31:6 Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”
    • Dan 3:25 He answered and said, “But I see four men unbound, walking in the midst of the fire, and they are not hurt; and the appearance of the fourth is like a son of the gods.”

    3 For I am the LORD your God,
    the Holy One of Israel, and your Savior.
    I have given Egypt as a ransom for you,
    Cush and Seba in your place.

    • Pro 11:8 The righteous is delivered from trouble, and the wicked walks into it instead.
    • Pro 21:18 The wicked is a ransom for the righteous, and the traitor for the upright.

    4 Because you are precious in my sight
    and honored, and I love you,
    I will give people in exchange for you
    and nations instead of your life.
    5 Do not fear, for I am with you;
    I will bring your descendants from the east,
    and gather you from the west.

    • Isa 41:10 fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
    • Isa 44:2 Thus says the LORD who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.
    • Jer 30:10 “Then fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, nor be dismayed, O Israel; for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid.
    • Jer 46:27, 28 “But fear not, O Jacob my servant, nor be dismayed, O Israel, for behold, I will save you from far away, and your offspring from the land of their captivity. Jacob shall return and have quiet and ease, and none shall make him afraid. 28 Fear not, O Jacob my servant, declares the LORD, for I am with you. I will make a full end of all the nations to which I have driven you, but of you I will not make a full end. I will discipline you in just measure, and I will by no means leave you unpunished.”

    6 I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    and to the south, ‘Do not hold them back!’
    Bring my sons from far away,
    and my daughters from the ends of the earth—

    • 43:5–6 God will gather his people from all over the world, east and west … north and south. The reference is to the restoration from the exile. The returns under Sheshbazzar and Zerubbabel as well as the later returns under Ezra and Nehemiah show that the Lord kept his promise. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1104). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

    7 everyone who bears my name
    and is created for my glory.
    I have formed them; indeed, I have made them.”

    • 43:7 The exile will not result in the eradication of God’s special people. After all, he created them. They will preserve their distinct identity and not be merged into foreign populations. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1104). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Isa 63:19 We have become like those over whom you have never ruled, like those who are not called by your name.
    • Jas 2:7 Are they not the ones who blaspheme the honorable name by which you were called?
    • Psa 100:3 Know that the LORD, he is God! It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
    • Isa 29:23 For when he sees his children, the work of my hands, in his midst, they will sanctify my name; they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
    • Joh 3:3, 5 Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.”
      Joh 3:5 Jesus answered, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
    • 2Co 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
    • Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

    8 Bring out a people who are blind, yet have eyes,
    and are deaf, yet have ears.

    • eyes and ears, the reference is to spiritual insensitivity.
    • Isa 6:9 And he said, “Go, and say to this people: “‘Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive.’
    • Isa 42:19 Who is blind but my servant, or deaf as my messenger whom I send? Who is blind as my dedicated one, or blind as the servant of the LORD?
    • Eze 12:2 “Son of man, you dwell in the midst of a rebellious house, who have eyes to see, but see not, who have ears to hear, but hear not, for they are a rebellious house.

    9 All the nations are gathered together,
    and the peoples are assembled.
    Who among them can declare this,
    and tell us the former things?
    Let them present their witnesses
    to vindicate themselves,
    so that people may hear and say, “It is true.”

    • Here we see “sarcasm”.
    • Isa 41:21, 22, 26 Set forth your case, says the LORD; bring your proofs, says the King of Jacob. 22 Let them bring them, and tell us what is to happen. Tell us the former things, what they are, that we may consider them, that we may know their outcome; or declare to us the things to come. 26 Who declared it from the beginning, that we might know, and beforehand, that we might say, “He is right”? There was none who declared it, none who proclaimed, none who heard your words.

    10 “You are my witnesses”—
    this is the LORD’s declaration—
    “and my servant whom I have chosen,
    so that you may know and believe me
    and understand that I am he.
    No god was formed before me,
    and there will be none after me.

    • Isa 44:8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”
    • Isa 55:4 Behold, I made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander for the peoples.
    • Isa 44:6 Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.

    11 I—I am the LORD.
    Besides me, there is no Savior.

    • Isa 45:21 Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.
    • Hos 13:4 But I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt; you know no God but me, and besides me there is no savior.

    12 I alone declared, saved, and proclaimed—
    and not some foreign god among you.
    So you are my witnesses”—
    this is the LORD’s declaration—
    “and I am God.

    • 43:10–12 God called to the assembled nations (v. 9) to be a witness. He also called on his people, whom he identified as his servant, to be his witnesses. The calling of witnesses associates this passage with the courtroom. Not only is God better than the foreign gods; they do not exist at all. The nations were silent when asked to witness to their gods’ work in their lives. God’s people functioned as God’s witness to the fact that he had saved them in the past. Longman, T., III. (2017). Isaiah. In E. A. Blum & T. Wax (Eds.), CSB Study Bible: Notes (p. 1104). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
    • Deu 32:16 They stirred him to jealousy with strange gods; with abominations they provoked him to anger.
    • Isa 44:8 Fear not, nor be afraid; have I not told you from of old and declared it? And you are my witnesses! Is there a God besides me? There is no Rock; I know not any.”

    13 Also, from today on I am he alone,
    and none can rescue from my power.
    I act, and who can reverse it?”

    • God is SOVEREIGN!
    • Psa 90:2 Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever you had formed the earth and the world, from everlasting to everlasting you are God.
    • Job 9:12 Behold, he snatches away; who can turn him back? Who will say to him, ‘What are you doing?’

    GOD’S DELIVERANCE OF REBELLIOUS ISRAEL

    14 This is what the LORD, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel says:

    Because of you, I will send an army to Babylon
    and bring all of them as fugitives,
    even the Chaldeans in the ships in which they rejoice.

    • 43:14 God will turn the Babylonians into fugitives, suggesting that their cities will be defeated and they will wander from place to place. Chaldeans were an Aramaic-speaking tribe of Babylon that rose up in the seventh century BC to lead the charge against Assyria, thus establishing the Neo-Babylonian Empire. The Chaldean tribe’s home base was at the point where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers emptied into what is