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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 1

Hawker's Poor Man's CommentaryPoor Man's Commentary

Verse 1


The Prophet opens his vision with complaints. Both Judah and Jerusalem are reproved for their sins, and affectionately entreated to return to the Lord.

Isaiah 1:1

We have in this first verse, both the subject and the time in which it was delivered; together with the name and family of the writer. All which were proper for an introduction; by way of authority, for the cordial reception of what was written, by the church. But what I beg the reader yet more particularly to remark, is the title of this book. It is called a vision, intimating the special revelation by which the prophet was favoured and commissioned for the delivery of it. And, by consequence, how highly it ought to be regarded. The apostle Paul, in after ages, considered what he said upon divine things as of this kind, when passing by all self importance, he cried out, I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord, 2 Corinthians 12:1 . Judah and Jerusalem, are the people concerned in this vision; that is the church of God. And consequently in the present day of the gospel, both Jew and Gentile, brought as they now are into one fold, have an interest in all that is preached by the prophet in this vision, Galatians 3:28-29 . I only detain the Reader with one observation more, on this introductory verse of the prophet, just to remark, that Isaiah must have ministered in the church, not less than fifty years; as the Reader will himself find, if he calculates the different periods, from the reign of Uziah to Hezekiah. And under what discouragement this highly favoured servant of the Lord ministered, may in some measure be conceived, from the account we have of the idolatrous practices, at that time more or less prevailing, of both kings and people, 2 Kings 16:3-4 .

Verses 2-3

The prophet hath followed Moses, the man of God, in his sermon, in calling upon the several parts of the inanimate creation to listen to his discourse, Deuteronomy 32:1 . There is a vast beauty, as well as force in this manner of preaching. If men will not hear, the heavens will: yea, the very stones of the earth might well cry out in astonishment at man's obduracy. Even the poor beasts of labour, the ox, and the ass, which is dull to a proverb, are possessed of some kind of knowledge, to discern the hand that feeds and corrects them; but Israel, whom God had distinguished beyond all people, were senseless both of his mercies, and of his judgments! How tenderly elsewhere the Lord speaks of this! Hosea 11:1-9 .

Verses 4-9

How affecting are these verses! It is as if God paused over the state of his church. Their sin, like an epidemic disease, was universal. It did not break out in one or two instances of transgression; but the whole body became virtually all sin. They are laden with it. - And where should they be unladen, but upon Christ, the almighty burden bearer? - Reader! do not fail to remark, in the very opening of the prophecy, how in the view of universal corruption, the Holy Ghost is preaching Christ? And, Reader, do not fail to connect with this view also, another sweet gospel truth; namely, how the Lord, in such deplorable times, had preserved to himself a remnant according to the election of grace. Sodom's history was well known, and Abraham's intercession on that occasion could not have been forgotten. When therefore we hear it said, Except the Lord had left a very small remnant, how blessed is it to trace the Lord's hand, and to give to the Lord all the glory! Genesis 18:20-33 ; Romans 9:29 . Then read Romans 11:5 , and bless God for distinguishing mercy! Precious Jesus! to whom but to thee shall the glorious cause be ascribed! Oh how blessed to mark the little flock of thy kingdom, Luke 12:32 .

Verses 10-20

I make no break in this address of the prophet. The whole forms but one sermon, and a most striking one it is. I beg the reader to remark with me the very pointed terms made use of by the man of God. He calls them by the name of the men of Sodom and Gomorrah. Perhaps to intimate, that their place and people merited equal judgment. And had the Lord done so, there would have been no injustice on the part of God. Reader! let us pause over this thought, and not too hastily dismiss the solemn consideration from both our minds. As a nation, how awful do we stand, in the crying and abounding sins of our guilty land! And are we not visited as they? To what shall we ascribe it? Oh! the unknown treasures of grace in covenant love! Precious, precious Jesus! who shall calculate the infinite value of thine atoning blood; which speaks more for thy people, than all their sins against them? Reader, mark what is said in those verses concerning the inefficacy of sacrifices! And do not fail to connect with it, how and in what terms they are spoken of. The Lord calls them your sacrifices. Yes, Jehovah hath an eye only to one sacrifice, and that one of his own appointing. Reader! it is the sweetest and most precious of all thoughts; that while you and I are looking up to God in Christ for acceptance, by virtue of that one offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all, whereby he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified; we are looking up by the express appointment and authority of God our Father, in his own way, for salvation. See those Scriptures, Heb_5:1-6; Heb_10:1-14 .

Verses 21-23

Under these figures of speech, are represented the sad fall of our nature. It forms in language a beautiful, though in reality, an awful account. But, Reader, painful as it is to know, yet it is profitable, in order to lead the heart to Jesus. This is among the methods which the Holy Ghost is pleased to adopt, in bringing the soul to God in Christ. He first convinces of sin, and then of righteousness. I think that those parts of scripture are eminently blessed, which bring with them proofs of his divine teaching; and that, it is one and the same in both Testaments of God's word. John 16:7-11 .

Verses 24-31

How very blessed is it to behold divine grace triumphing over human transgression: and the Lord who alone can reform, graciously exercising his love in a way of reformation over his people. And, Reader, do observe that when the Lord comes forth to correct his people, it is at the same time to take vengeance of their enemies. When the Lord Jesus speaks of the year of his redeemed being come, he connects with it the day also of vengeance in his heart, Isaiah 63:4 . Reader! may it be your happiness and mine to know the Lord Jesus in his grace; and we shall know him also in the destruction of our enemies. May Jesus root out those inbred, indwelling sins of our nature, the greatest and most dangerous foes we have to contend with; that in the cleansing of his church and people, we may know ourselves included; when he will redeem Zion with judgment, and her converts with righteousness.

Verse 31


My soul, suffer not a portion of this blessed chapter to be overlooked, nor fancy the prophet's commission in the delivery of it to have ceased with the men of Judah and Jerusalem; Alas! every age and every period of the church, hath carried with it the same marks, more or less, of corruption, and to everyone, the expostulation of a gracious God is but too applicable: I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me!

Blessed Spirit of truth! Do thou, Lord, in grace, and love, and compassion, exercise thy kind office, with my poor soul, as the glorifier of Christ Jesus! By thy word, and by thy grace in my heart, give me to see, and feel, and know, that, like Israel, the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint. Let me never seek justification by the deeds of the law, or presume to think myself clean in thy sight! Plead, Lord, in my heart the injured cause of my God, and of his Christ; and by such saving discoveries as thou art making to thy church, by thy blessed word, both of human corruption, and the necessity of divine cleansing; make me to know that in Jesus, and his great salvation alone, it can be accomplished; that my sins, which are as scarlet, shall be white as snow; and though red as crimson, shall be as the wool.

And oh! the praises due to a covenant God in Christ, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for the rich discovery! Blessed, forever blessed be Jehovah, in having brought sinners acquainted with the cause of our ruin, and the only source of our relief in Jesus. Lord! help me to seize all the gracious improvements thy mercy hath designed, from the rich salvation by Jesus. And since by his precious blood and righteousness, thou halt opened a way for purely purging away our dross, and taking away all our sin; bring, Lord, the souls of thy redeemed, through this gracious process of thy mercy, and let thy people be again called the city of righteousness, the faithful city!

Bibliographical Information
Hawker, Robert, D.D. "Commentary on Isaiah 1". "Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary". https://studylight.org/commentaries/eng/pmc/isaiah-1.html. 1828.
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