Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
isa 29:1The city - The royal city, and seat of David and his posterity. Set them - Go on in killing sacrifices from time to time, one year after another, whereby you think to appease me, but all shall be in vain.
isa 29:4And thou - Thou who now speakest so loftily, shall be humbled, and with a low voice, beg the favour of thine enemies. As one - Who, that they might possess the people with a kind of reverence and horror, used to deliver their answers with a low voice, from some cave under the ground.
isa 29:5Strangers - Whom thou hast hired to assist thee, as indeed they did, when the Chaldeans came against them. Terrible ones - Thy great commanders, and stout soldiers. It - This destruction of thy strangers, and terrible ones shall come to pass.
isa 29:6Thou - Thou, O Jerusalem. Fire - With dreadful judgments, which are frequently expressed by these metaphors.
isa 29:8His soul - His appetite or desire is unsatisfied. So - No less unsatisfied and insatiable; they shall be always thirsting after more of your blood.
isa 29:9Wonder - At the stupidity of this people. Cry - Cry out again and again through astonishment. They stagger - With giddiness or stupidity, which makes them like drunken men, insensible of their danger.
isa 29:10Dead sleep - Hardness of heart, and insensibleness of your danger. Seers - Your magistrates and ministers. Covered - With the veil of ignorance and stupidity.
isa 29:12Of all - Of all, your prophets. As a book - In which no man can read, while it is sealed up, as books then sometimes were, being made in the form of rolls. Delivered - Unsealed and opened.
isa 29:13Draw near - Namely, in acts of worship. With lips - With outward devotions. But - They do not pay me that love, and fear, and obedience, which I require. And - They worship me not in such a manner, as I have prescribed, but according to mens inventions, preferring the devices and traditions of their false prophets, before my institutions.
isa 29:14Hid - Shall disappear and vanish.
isa 29:15Seek deep - A metaphor from men, who use to dig deep into the earth, that they may hide any thing there. To hide - Vainly imagining, that they can deceive, not only men, but God, by their external professions. Who - Neither God nor man can discover us.
isa 29:16Surely - All your subtle devices, by which you turn yourselves into all shapes. As clay - It is no more to me, than the clay is to the potter, who can alter and dispose it as he sees fit.
isa 29:17As a forest - The forest of Lebanon, which was a barren mountain, shall by God's providence, become a fruitful and populous place; and these places which are now fruitful and populous, shall then become as barren and desolate, as that forest. This is a prophecy of the rejection of the Jews, and of the calling of the Gentiles.
isa 29:18Shall see - Being, by God's grace, brought out of gross, ignorance and wickedness, unto a clear and saving knowledge of the truth.
isa 29:19Meek - The humble and meek believers. Poor - Mean and despicable people, such as the Gentiles were in the opinion of the Jews, and such as the greatest part of the first Christians were.
isa 29:20That watch - That early and diligently apply themselves to the practice of wickedness.
isa 29:21That make a man - That condemn a man, as if he was a great criminal. For him - For God's faithful prophets and ministers. The gate - There the people used to assemble, both upon civil and sacred accounts, and there prophets used to deliver their prophecies. Turn - From his right. The just - The faithful ministers of God. Nought - Not for any great advantage, but for a trifle.
isa 29:22Redeemed - From manifold dangers, and especially from idolatry. Jacob - The Israelites or posterity of Jacob, who had great cause to be ashamed, for their continued infidelity, shall at last be brought back to the God of their fathers, and to their Messiah. Pale - Through fear of their enemies.
isa 29:23He seeth - When the believing seed of Jacob shall see those children, whom they have begotten to God, by the gospel, even the Gentiles. The work - The children, not of the flesh, but of the promise, whom I, by my almighty grace, have regenerated. In the midst - Incorporated with the Jews, into one and the same body. Shall sanctify - They shall glorify God, with them and for them.
isa 29:24That erred - Those Gentiles who erred from God's truth. Murmured - They that murmured at God's faithful teachers, shall now receive God's truth in the love of it.