Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
isa 65:1I am, &c. - This in the primary sense of this text, is a prophecy of the conversion of the Gentiles, upon the rejection of the Jews; for their contempt and crucifying of Christ, cannot be doubted by any, who will not arrogate to themselves a greater ability to interpret the prophesies of the Old Testament, than St. Paul had, who, Rom 10:20, expressly so interprets it, and applies it, which shews the vanity of the Jews in their other interpretations of it. Sought - The word signifies properly a diligent enquiry in things relating to God. Asked not - That in times past made no enquiry after me; l am now found by them that formerly sought me not. I said - I invited whole nations by the preaching of my gospel to behold me, and that with importunity, doubling my words upon them, and this I did unto a nation not called by my name, with whom I was not in covenant.
isa 65:2I have spread - Applied to the Jews, Rom 10:21. I have stretched out my hands, I have used all means to reduce them, I have stretched out the hands of a passionate orator to persuade them, of a liberal benefactor to load them with my benefits; this I have done continually in the whole course of my providence with them.
isa 65:3To my face - With the utmost impudence, not taking notice of God's omnipresence, and omniscience. In gardens, &c. - Directly contrary to the divine rule.
isa 65:4Remain - They remained among the graves, there consulting with devils, who were thought to delight in such places; or to practice necromancy, all which were forbidden, Deu 18:11; Isa 8:19. Monuments - Some interpret it of idol temples, some of caves and dens, in which the Heathens used to worship their idols. Broth of abominable things - Of such flesh as was to the Jews unclean by the law.
isa 65:5Holier - Thus they esteemed themselves holier than others, though all their holiness lay in rituals, and those too, such as God never commanded. Of these God saith, These are a smoak in my nostrils, a fire that burneth all the day; that is, a continual provocation to me: as smoak is an offence to our noses.
isa 65:6Behold - They may think I take no notice of these things; but I will as certainly remember them, as princes or great men that record things in writing which they would not forget.
isa 65:7Together - Yea, and when I reckon with them, I will punish them, not only for their personal sins, but for the sins of their parents, which they have made their own, by imitation. Their former - I will not only punish the late sins that they have committed, but the former sins of this kind, which those that went before did commit, and they have continued in.
isa 65:8Thus, &c. - These word's may be conceived as a gracious answer from God to the prophet, pleading God's covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Israel. To this God replies, that he intended no such severity. His threatening should be made good upon the generality of this people. Blessing - But yet, as in a vineyard, which is generally unfruitful, there may be some vine that brings forth fruit, and has the hopes of new wine in the cluster, and as to such, the gardener bids his servant destroy it not, for there is in them what speaks God's blessing. So - So (saith God) will I do for my servants sake, that I may not destroy them all, for the sake of my servants, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
isa 65:9Judah - God farther promises to bring out of Judah, an inheritor of his mountains which refers to the Jews return out of the captivity of Babylon to Jerusalem, to worship God in his temple, upon mount Zion. Mine elect - My chosen ones. The term signifies such as are dignified with some special favour. The whole nation of the Jews are called a chosen people.
isa 65:10A fold - Sharon was a place of great fruitfulness for pastures. It was become like a wilderness, God here promises that it should again be a place for the flocks.
isa 65:11Forget - To forget God's holy mountains, signifies not to regard the true worship of God. God calls Zion his holy mountain. That troop - The idols of the ten tribes, and of the Assyrians, were a troop, where as the God of Israel was one God. By preparing a table, here seems to be meant, the feasts they made upon their sacrifices in imitation of what the true God had commanded his people. Furnish - God had appointed drink offerings for his honour, but the people had paid their homage to idols. Number - The multitude of their idols.
isa 65:12To the sword - A great number of you shall perish by the sword; or possibly the term number may refer to all in the next phrase, so that none of them should escape. God saith he will number them, tell them out one by one to the sword. Bow down - As you have bowed down to idols. I called - By my prophets, you did not answer by doing the things which I enjoined. Chuse - You sinned deliberately chusing sinful courses, the things which I hated.
isa 65:15A curse - They shall use your names as examples, of the eminent wrath of God upon sinners. Another name - He will not suffer his own people to be called by a name by which idolaters are known.
isa 65:16God of truth - Because they shall see what God promised is fulfilled. Are hid - That is, they are at an end.
isa 65:17I create - I am about wholly to change the state not only of my people, but to bring a new face upon the world, which shall abide until a new heavens and earth appear, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Not be remembered - That state of things shall be so glorious, that the former state of my people shall not be remembered.
isa 65:18You - The church, as well under the gospel, as under the law.
isa 65:20An infant - Those that were now children, shall die at a great age. But - Yet none of these things shall be of any advantage to wicked men, but if any of them shall live to be an hundred years old, yet they shall die accursed.
isa 65:23With them - Is blessed with them.
isa 65:24Before they call - God promised, Isa 58:9, to answer them, when they called: here he promises to answer the words, as soon as they should be formed in their hearts before they could get them out of their lips. While - Yea, while they were speaking.
isa 65:25The wolf, &c. - God here promises to take off the fierceness of the spirits of his peoples enemies, so that they shall live quietly and peaceably together. And dust - God promises a time of tranquility to his church under the metaphor of serpents eating the dust, their proper meat, Gen 3:14, instead of flying upon men: it signifies such a time, when wicked men shall no more eat up the people of God.