Isa 55:1-13. The Call of the Gentile World to Faith the Result of God's Grace to the Jews First.
1. every one -- After the special privileges of Israel (Isa 54:1-17) there follow, as the consequence, the universal invitation to the Gentiles (Lu 24:47; Ro 11:12, 15).
Ho -- calls the most earnest attention.
thirsteth -- has a keen sense of need (Mt 5:6).
waters ... wine and milk -- a gradation. Not merely water, which is needed to maintain life at all, but wine and milk to strengthen, cheer, and nourish; the spiritual blessings of the Gospel are meant (Isa 25:6; So 5:1; Joh 7:37). |Waters,| plural, to denote abundance (Isa 43:20; 44:3).
no money -- Yet, in Isa 55:2, it is said, |ye spend money.| A seeming paradox. Ye are really spiritual bankrupts: but thinking yourselves to have money, namely, a devotion of your own making, ye lavish it on that |which is not bread,| that is, on idols, whether literal or spiritual.
buy ... without money -- another paradox. We are bought, but not with a price paid by ourselves (1Co 6:20; 1Pe 1:18, 19). In a different sense we are to |buy| salvation, namely, by parting with everything which comes between us and Christ who has bought it for us and by making it our own (Mt 13:44, 46; Lu 12:33; Re 3:18).
2. not bread -- (Hab 2:13). |Bread of deceit| (Pr 20:17). Contrast this with the |bread of life| (Joh 6:32, 35; also Lu 14:16-20).
satisfieth not -- (Ec 1:8; 4:8).
hearken ... and eat -- When two imperatives are joined, the second expresses the consequence of obeying the command in the first (Ge 42:18). By hearkening ye shall eat. So in Isa 55:1, |buy and eat.| By buying, and so making it your own, ye shall eat, that is, experimentally enjoy it (Joh 6:53). Compare the invitation (Pr 9:5, 6; Mt 22:4).
fatness -- (Ps 36:8; 63:5).
3. me ... live -- by coming to me ye shall live: for |I am the life| (Joh 14:6).
everlasting covenant -- (Jer 32:40; 2Sa 23:5).
with you ... David -- God's covenant is with the antitypical David, Messiah (Eze 34:23), and so with us by our identification with Him.
sure -- answering to |everlasting,| irrevocable, unfailing, to be relied on (Ps 89:2-4, 28, 29, 34-36; Jer 33:20, 21; 2Sa 7:15, 16; 2Co 1:18-20).
mercies of David -- the mercies of grace (Isa 63:7; Joh 1:16) which I covenanted to give to David, and especially to Messiah, his antitype. Quoted in Ac 13:34.
4. him -- the mystical David (Eze 37:24, 25; Jer 30:9; Ho 3:5). Given by God (Isa 49:6).
witness -- He bore witness even unto death for God, to His law, claims, and plan of redeeming love (Joh 18:37; Re 1:5). Revelation is a |testimony|; because it is propounded to be received on the authority of the Giver, and not merely because it can be proved by arguments.
commander -- |preceptor| [Horsley]; |lawgiver| [Barnes].
to the people -- rather, |peoples.|
5. thou -- Jehovah addresses Messiah.
call ... run -- God must call, before man can, or will, run (So 1:4; Joh 6:44). Not merely come, but run eagerly.
thou knowest not -- now as thy people (so in Mt 7:23).
nation ... nations -- gradation; from Israel, one nation, the Gospel spread to many nations, and will do so more fully on Israel's conversion.
knew not thee -- (Isa 52:15; Eph 2:11, 12).
because of ... thy God ... glorified thee -- (Isa 60:5, 9; Zec 8:23); where similar language is directed to Israel, because of the identification of Israel with Messiah, who is the ideal Israel (Mt 2:15; compare with Ho 11:1; see Ac 3:13).
6. The condition and limit in the obtaining of the spiritual benefits (Isa 55:1-3): (1) Seek the Lord. (2) Seek Him while He is to be found (Isa 65:1; Ps 32:6; Mt 25:1-13; Joh 7:34; 8:21; 2Co 6:2; Heb 2:3; 3:13, 15).
call -- casting yourselves wholly on His mercy (Ro 10:13). Stronger than |seek|; so |near| is more positive than |while He may be found| (Ro 10:8, 9).
near -- propitious (Ps 34:18; 145:18).
7. unrighteous -- Hebrew, |man of iniquity|; true of all men. The |wicked| sins more openly in |his way|; the |unrighteous| refers to the more subtle workings of sin in the |thoughts.| All are guilty in the latter respect, thought many fancy themselves safe, because not openly |wicked in ways| (Ps 94:11). The parallelism is that of gradation. The progress of the penitent is to be from negative reformation, |forsaking his way,| and a farther step, |his thoughts,| to positive repentance, |returning to the Lord| (the only true repentance, Zec 12:10), and making God his God, along with the other children of God (the crowning point; appropriation of God to ourselves: |to our God|). |Return| implies that man originally walked with God, but has apostatized. Isaiah saith, |our God,| the God of the believing Israelites; those themselves redeemed desire others to come to their God (Ps 34:8; Re 22:17).
abundantly pardon -- Literally, |multiply to pardon,| still more than |have mercy|; God's graciousness is felt more and more the longer one knows Him (Ps 130:7).
8. For -- referring to Isa 55:7. You need not doubt His willingness |abundantly to pardon| (compare Isa 55:12); for, though |the wicked| man's |ways,| and |the unrighteous man's thoughts,| are so aggravated as to seem unpardonable, God's |thoughts| and |ways| in pardoning are not regulated by the proportion of the former, as man's would be towards his fellow man who offended him; compare the |for| (Ps 25:11; Ro 5:19).
9. (Ps 57:10; 89:2; 103:11). |For| is repeated from Isa 55:8. But Maurer, after the negation, translates, |but.|
10. The hearts of men, once barren of spirituality, shall be made, by the outpouring of the Spirit under Messiah, to bear fruits of righteousness (Isa 5:6; De 32:2; 2Sa 23:4; Ps 72:6).
snow -- which covers plants from frost in winter; and, when melted in spring, waters the earth.
returneth not -- void; as in Isa 55:11; it returns not in the same shape, or without |accomplishing| the desired end.
bud -- germinate.
11. (Mt 24:35). Rain may to us seem lost when it falls on a desert, but it fulfils some purpose of God. So the gospel word falling on the hard heart; it sometimes works a change at last; and even if so, it leaves men without excuse. The full accomplishment of this verse, and Isa 55:12, 13, is, however, to be at the Jews' final restoration and conversion of the world (Isa 11:9-12; 60:1-5, 21).
12. go out -- from the various countries in which ye (the Jews) are scattered, to your own land (Eze 11:17).
led -- by Messiah, your |Leader| (Isa 55:4; Isa 52:12; Mic 2:12, 13).
mountains ... trees, &c. -- images justly used to express the seeming sympathy of nature with the joy of God's people. For, when sin is removed, the natural world shall be delivered from |vanity,| and be renewed, so as to be in unison with the regenerated moral world (Isa 44:23; Ps 98:8; Ro 8:19-22).
13. thorn -- emblem of the wicked (2Sa 23:6; Mic 7:4).
fir tree -- the godly (Isa 60:13; Ps 92:12). Compare as to the change wrought, Ro 6:19.
brier -- emblem of uncultivation (Isa 5:6).
myrtle -- Hebrew, Hedes, from which comes Hedassah, the original name of Esther. Type of the Christian Church; for it is a lowly, though beautiful, fragrant, and evergreen shrub (Ps 92:13, 14).
for a name ... everlasting sign -- a perpetual memorial to the glory of Jehovah (Jer 13:11; 33:9).