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Isaiah 57:1 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Isa 57:1-2. The most alarming feature of the situation, though the least noticed, is the gradual removal of the righteous members of the community. Comp. Psa 12:1.

merciful men ] lit., men of piety (cf. ch. Isa 55:7, Isa 28:14).

none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come] The idea conveyed by this rendering is that the natural death of many good men was a divine intimation, little heeded by the community, that some great calamity was impending. The translation is perfectly admissible, and the thought is in accordance with the religious sentiment of the O.T. (cf. 2Ki 22:20); yet it is doubtful if we are entitled to read so much into the prophet’s language. There is nothing to indicate that “the evil” is future, nor is it likely that the prophet has in view a future of terror for the righteous. The clause may be equally well rendered that (or for) the righteous is swept away before the evil; and this is probably all that is meant. The “evil” is the prevailing wickedness and oppression caused by the misgovernment described in Isa 56:10-12. The words “none considering” are parallel to “no man layeth it to heart,” and mean that the community takes no note of the fact that its best members are disappearing from its midst.

Ch. Isa 56:9 to Isa 57:21. A Protest against the Unworthy Shepherds of God’s Flock, and the arrogant Heathenism by which it is threatened; followed by a Message of Consolation to True Israelites

This sombre and impassioned discourse is composed of three parts:

i. ch. Isa 56:9 to Isa 57:2. The defenceless condition of the community, due to the incompetence of its spiritual leaders.

(1) All the wild beasts of the field and the forest are invited to come and devour the unprotected flock ( Isa 56:9). (2) For its rulers neglect their duty; they are inefficient as dumb dogs, they are slothful, greedy and sensual ( Isa 56:10-12). (3) In consequence of their incapacity the righteous perish, none regarding their fate (Isa 57:1-2).

ii. Isa 57:3-13 a. A bitter tirade against an insolent and aggressive paganising party, animated by a contemptuous hostility towards the true religion.

(1) This party, which is characterised as a bastard and hybrid race, the illegitimate offspring of an adulterer and a harlot, is summoned to the bar to hear the Divine sentence on their career of flagrant idolatry ( Isa 57:3-4). (2) The indictment follows, in the form of a recital of the varied heathen rites to which they were addicted ( Isa 57:5-9), and in which with infatuated perversity they still persist in spite of all the teachings of experience ( Isa 57:10-11). (3) Judgement is then pronounced; Jehovah will unmask the hypocrisy of their pretended righteousness, and leave them to the protection of the false deities whom they have so diligently served, but who shall be unable to save them (Isa 57:12-13).

iii. Isa 57:14-21. The prophet now turns with a message of comfort to the depressed and contrite people of God. The obstacles in the way of their salvation shall be removed ( Isa 57:14); Jehovah, whose condescension brings Him near to the lowly in heart, will at length avert His anger, and bring healing and peace ( Isa 57:15-19); only the wicked who persist in their impenitence are excluded from the promised blessing ( Isa 57:20-21).

Isa 56:9 to Isa 57:2. Denunciation of the worthless rulers of the Jewish community. The difficulty of supposing that this passage refers to the state of things in the Exile is obvious. Israel is compared to a flock in charge of its own shepherds; and these shepherds are responsible both for the internal disorders from which it suffers, and the outward dangers which threaten it. An invitation to the wild beasts (the heathen nations) to come and devour a people already “robbed and spoiled” (Isa 42:22) by foreign conquest, is almost inconceivable. It is of course possible, as many scholars hold, that the verses are extracted from a pre-exilic prophecy; but the description is at least as applicable to the conditions which existed after the return from Babylon. The books of Malachi and Nehemiah reveal incidentally a state of affairs which would go far to account for the dark picture here presented of the ruling classes in the restored community.

Consult other comments:

Isaiah 57:1 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 57:1 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Isaiah 57:1 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Isaiah 57:1 - B.H. Carroll's An Interpretation of the English Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Through the Bible Commentary

Isaiah 57:1 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Isaiah 57:1 - College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

Isaiah 57:1 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Isaiah 57:1 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Isaiah 57:1 - Expositors Bible Commentary

Isaiah 57:1 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Isaiah 57:1 - Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures

Isaiah 57:1 - Expositor's Dictionary of Text by Robertson

Isaiah 57:1 - F.B. Meyer's Through the Bible Commentary

Isaiah 57:1 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Isaiah 57:1 - Geneva Bible Notes

Isaiah 57:1 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Isaiah 57:1 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Isaiah 57:1 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Isaiah 57:1 - Commentaries on the New Testament and Prophets

Isaiah 57:1 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Isaiah 57:1 - William Kelly Major Works (New Testament)

Isaiah 57:1 - The Popular Commentary on the Bible by Kretzmann

Isaiah 57:1 - A Commentary on the Holy Scriptures, Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical by Lange

Isaiah 57:1 - An Exposition on the Whole Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Isaiah 57:1 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Isaiah 57:1 - The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Isaiah 57:1 - The Complete Pulpit Commentary

Isaiah 57:1 - Old and New Testaments Restoration Commentary

Isaiah 57:1 - The Sermon Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible

Isaiah 57:1 - Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 57:1 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Isaiah 57:1 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Isaiah 57:1 - You Can Understand the Bible: Study Guide Commentary Series by Bob Utley

Isaiah 57:1 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges