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Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at

Isaiah Chapter 57

Isaiah 57:1

isa 57:1

The righteous - Just and holy men. No man - Few or none. Layeth it to heart - Is duly affected with this sad sign of God's displeasure.

Isaiah 57:2

isa 57:2

He - This just and merciful man shall enter into a state of rest, where he shall be out of the reach of the approaching miseries. They - just men. Here is a sudden change of the number, which is very frequent in the prophets. Beds - In their graves, which are not unfitly called their beds, as their death is commonly called sleep in scripture.

Isaiah 57:3

isa 57:3

Hither - To God's tribunal, to receive your sentence. Sons - Not by propagation, but by imitation. And the whore - Not the genuine children of Abraham, their dispositions were far more suitable to a bastardly brood, than to Abraham's seed.

Isaiah 57:4

isa 57:4

Against whom - Consider whom it is that you mock and scoff, when you deride God's prophets. A seed - A generation of liars, whose practices contradict your professions, who deal deceitfully both with God and men.

Isaiah 57:5

isa 57:5

Enflaming - Lusting after them, and mad upon them. Slaying - In way of sacrifice to their idols. Valleys - He seems to allude to the valley of Hinnom in which these cruelties were practised. Clifts - Which they chuse either for shade, or for those dark vaults, in rocks, which were convenient for idolatrous uses.

Isaiah 57:6

isa 57:6

Portion - Thou hast chosen for thy portion those idols, which were worshipped by the sides of brooks or rivers where such smooth stones commonly lie. They - Thou hast forsaken me and chosen idols. Offered - For the devil is God's ape, and idolaters used the same rites and offerings in the worship of idols which God had prescribed in his own. Comfort - Should I be pleased with such a people and such actions?

Isaiah 57:7

isa 57:7

Mountain - In high places, which were much used for religious worship, both by Israelites and by Heathens. Thy bed - Thine altar, in which thou didst commit spiritual whoredom with idols.

Isaiah 57:8

isa 57:8

The posts - Behind the posts of the doors of thine house: where the Heathens placed their tutelar gods to whose protection they committed their houses, that so they might have their eyes and minds upon them, whensoever they went out or came in. Set up - Those monuments which thou didst set up there as remembrances of those idol - gods whom they represented. Discovered - Thou hast uncovered thy nakedness; to others beside me thine husband. Gone up - Into the adulterous bed. Enlarged - That it might receive many adulterers together. Thou hast multiplied thine idols and altars. A covenant - Thou hast covenanted to serve them.

Isaiah 57:9

isa 57:9

The King - The king of Assyria, called the king by way of eminency, to whom the Israelites in the days of Isaiah were very prone to trust, and send presents. And so the prophet passes from their idolatry to another sin, even their confidence in Heathen princes. Increase - Didst send great quantities. Far off - Into Assyria, which was far from Judea. Debase - Thou wast willing to submit to the basest terms to procure their aid.

Isaiah 57:10

isa 57:10

Wearied - Thou hast not eased, but tired thyself with thy tedious journey. Yet - And yet thou didst not perceive that thy labour was lost. Hast found - Thou hast sometimes found success in these ways. Not grieved - Therefore thou didst not repent of thy sin herein.

Isaiah 57:11

isa 57:11

Feared - And who are they, the fear of whom drives thee to these wicked courses? Lied - That thou hast dealt thus perfidiously with me. Not remembered - Hast thou forgotten all those great things which I have done for thee. Held my peace - Have not I forbore to punish thee from time to time, that by this goodness I might oblige thee to love me. And thou - Or, therefore thou dost not fear or regard me. Thou abusest my long - suffering.

Isaiah 57:13

isa 57:13

But - But they shall be carried away suddenly and violently by the blast of mine anger. Vanity - A vapour which quickly vanishes away. Inherit - Shall enjoy my favour and presence in my temple.

Isaiah 57:14

isa 57:14

And he - God will raise up a man who shall say with authority and efficacy. Cast up - Make causeways, where it is needful, for their safe and easy passage, and remove all things which may hinder them in their return.

Isaiah 57:16

isa 57:16

For - I will not proceed to the utmost severity with sinful men.

Isaiah 57:17

isa 57:17

Covetousness - Of which sin the Jews were eminently guilty. But this comprehends all those sins for which God contended with them. He went - Yet he was not reformed, but trespassed more and more.

Isaiah 57:18

isa 57:18

Mourners - To those who are humbled under God's hand, that mourn in Zion for their own and others sins.

Isaiah 57:19

isa 57:19

I create - I will by my almighty power produce. Peace - That peace which is not wrought by mens hands, but only by God's lips or word. The doubling of the word signifies the certainty and abundance this peace. Far off - To the Gentiles who are far from God, as well as to the Jews, who are called a people near unto God, Psa 148:14.

Isaiah 57:20

isa 57:20

Cast up - Their minds are restless, being perpetually hurried with their own lusts and passions, and with guilt, and the dread of the divine vengeance.

Isaiah 57:21

isa 57:21

No peace - Though they may have a great share of prosperity, yet they have no share in this inward, and spiritual, and everlasting peace.

Next: Isaiah Chapter 58