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  • JOHN WESLEY'S BIBLE COMMENTARY
    NOTES - ISAIAH 29

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    XXIX The temple and city of Jerusalem destroyed, ver. 1-6. Her enemies insatiable, ver. 7, 8 Their senselessness, ver. 9-12. And deep hypocrisy, ver. 13-17. These scorner and oppressor being cut off, the rest shall be converted, ver. 18-24.

    Verse 1. The 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.

    Verse 4. And 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.

    Verse 5. Strangers - 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.

    Verse 6. Thou - Thou, O Jerusalem. Fire - With dreadful judgments, which are frequently expressed by these metaphors.

    Verse 8. His soul - His appetite or desire is unsatisfied. So - No less unsatisfied and insatiable; they shall be always thirsting after more of your blood.

    Verse 9. Wonder - 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.

    Verse 10. Dead sleep - Hardness of heart, and insensibleness of your danger. Seers - Your magistrates and ministers. Covered - With the veil of ignorance and stupidity.

    Verse 12. Of 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.

    Verse 13. Draw 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.

    Verse 14. Hid - Shall disappear and vanish.

    Verse 15. Seek 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.

    Verse 16. Surely - 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.

    Verse 17. As 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.

    Verse 18. Shall see - Being, by God's grace, brought out of gross, ignorance and wickedness, unto a clear and saving knowledge of the truth.

    Verse 19. Meek - 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.

    Verse 20. That watch - That early and diligently apply themselves to the practice of wickedness.

    Verse 21. That 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.

    Verse 22. Redeemed - 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.

    Verse 23. He 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.

    Verse 24. That 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.

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