Isaiah 1:15
And when you spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you: yes, when you make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(15) When ye spread forth your hands.—The words point to the attitude of one who prays, as was the manner of Jews, Greeks, and Romans (“tenditque ad sidera palmas,” Virg., Æn., xii. 196), standing, and with hands stretched out toward heaven. (Comp. Luke 18:11-13.)

When ye make many prayers.—The Pentateuch contains no directions for the use of forms of prayer beyond the benediction of Numbers 6:23-26, and two forms connected with the Passover in Deuteronomy 26:5-10; Deuteronomy 26:13-15. The “eighteen prayers” for daily use belong to the later Rabbinic stage of Judaism. It lies in the nature of the case, however, that first a real, and then an ostentatious devotion would show itself in the use of such forms, possibly, as in Psalm 119:164, “seven times a day.” In Proverbs 27:14; Proverbs 28:9, which belong to the reign of Hezekiah, and may, therefore, indirectly represent Isaiah’s teaching, we have the warnings of the wise as to the right use of such forms.

Your hands are full of blood.—Literally, bloods, as implying many murderous acts. The words point to the guilt of judges and princes, such as that described in Hosea 4:2. Life was sacrificed to greed of gain, or lust, or vindictiveness. To the prophet’s eye those hands, stretched upwards in the Temple by some, at least, of the king’s ministers and judges, were red with the blood of the slain. (Comp. Isaiah 59:3.)

Isaiah 1:15. When ye spread forth your hands — When ye pray with your hands spread abroad, as the manner was; I will hide mine eyes from you — I will take no notice of your persons or requests. Your hands are full of blood — You are guilty of murder and oppression, and of other crying sins, which I abhor, and have forbidden under pain of my highest displeasure.1:10-15 Judea was desolate, and their cities burned. This awakened them to bring sacrifices and offerings, as if they would bribe God to remove the punishment, and give them leave to go on in their sin. Many who will readily part with their sacrifices, will not be persuaded to part with their sins. They relied on the mere form as a service deserving a reward. The most costly devotions of wicked people, without thorough reformation of heart and life, cannot be acceptable to God. He not only did not accept them, but he abhorred them. All this shows that sin is very hateful to God. If we allow ourselves in secret sin, or forbidden indulgences; if we reject the salvation of Christ, our very prayers will become abomination.Ye spread forth your hands - This is an expression denoting the act of supplication. When we ask for help, we naturally stretch out our hands, as if to receive it. The expression therefore is equivalent to 'when ye pray, or implore mercy.' Compare Exodus 9:29; Exodus 17:11-12; 1 Kings 8:22.

I will hide mine eyes ... - That is, I will not attend to, or regard your supplications. The Chaldee Paraphrase is, 'When your priests expand their hands to pray for you.'

Your hands ... - This is given as a reason why he would not hear. The expression full of blood, denotes crime and guilt of a high order - as, in murder, the hands would be dripping in blood, and as the stain on the hands would be proof of guilt. It is probably a figurative expression, not meaning literally that they were murderers, but that they were given to rapine and injustice; to the oppression of the poor, the widow, etc. The sentiment is, that because they indulged in sin, and came, even in their prayers, with a determination still to indulge it, God would not hear them. The same sentiment is elsewhere expressed; Psalm 66:18 : 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me;' Proverbs 28:9 : 'He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination;' Jeremiah 16:10-12; Zechariah 7:11-12; Proverbs 1:28-29. This is the reason why the prayers of sinners are not heard - But the truth is abundantly taught in the Scriptures, that if sinners will forsake their sins, the greatness of their iniquity is no obstacle to forgiveness; Isaiah 1:18; Matthew 11:28; Luke 16:11-24.

15. (Ps 66:18; Pr 28:9; La 3:43, 44).

spread … hands—in prayer (1Ki 8:22). Hebrew, "bloods," for all heinous sins, persecution of God's servants especially (Mt 23:35). It was the vocation of the prophets to dispel the delusion, so contrary to the law itself (De 10:16), that outward ritualism would satisfy God.

When ye spread forth your hands; when you pray with hands spread abroad, as the manner was; of which see Exodus 9:29,33 Job 11:13, &c.

I will hide mine eyes from you; which is a gesture of contempt and loathing. I will take no notice of your persons or requests.

Your hands are full of blood; you are guilty of murder, and oppression, and other crying sins, which I abhor, and have forbidden, under pain of mine highest displeasure. And when ye spread forth your hands,.... That is, in prayer, this being a prayer gesture: hence the Targum paraphrases it,

"and when the priests spread out their hands to pray for you.''

I will hide mine eyes from you; will not look upon them, nor regard their prayer; see Lamentations 3:42.

yea, when ye make many prayers; as the Scribes and Pharisees did in Christ's time, and thought to be heard for their much speaking, like the Gentiles, Matthew 6:7.

I will not hear; so as to give an answer, or fulfil their requests: the reason follows,

your hands are full of blood; of the prophets of the Lord, of Christ and his followers, whom they put to death.

And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide my eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full {x} of blood.

(x) He shows that where men are given to evil, deceit, cruelty and extortion, which is meant by blood, there God will show his anger and not accept them though they seem holy, as in Isa 59:3.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15. your hands (“spread forth” in the attitude of prayer) are full of blood] a symbol of cruel wrongs perpetrated or tolerated, including the guilt of actual murder (Isaiah 1:21).Verse 15. - I will hide mine eyes, etc. A time comes when the wicked are alarmed, and seek to turn to God; but it is too late. "Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me" (Proverbs 1:28). When ye make many prayers; literally, multiply prayer. Full of blood (comp. ver. 21). Actual bloodshed may be pointed at, as the murder of Zechariah (2 Chronicles 24:21), and the fate which befell Isaiah himself, according to the tradition, would seem to show. But cruelty and oppression, producing poverty and wretchedness, and tending to shorten life, are no doubt also included (comp. Micah 3:10, 11). These were the special sins of the time (see vers. 17, 23). For the present, however, Jerusalem was saved from this extremity. The omnipotence of God had mercifully preserved it: "Unless Jehovah of hosts had left us a little of what had escaped, we had become like Sodom, we were like Gomorrah." Sarid (which is rendered inaccurately σπέρμα in the Sept.; cf., Romans 9:29) was used, even in the early Mosaic usage of the language, to signify that which escaped the general destruction (Deuteronomy 2:34, etc.); and כּמעט (which might very well be connected with the verbs which follow: "we were very nearly within a little like Sodom," etc.) is to be taken in connection with sarid, as the pausal form clearly shows: "a remnant which was but a mere trifle" (on this use of the word, see Isaiah 16:14; 2 Chronicles 12:7; Proverbs 10:20; Psalm 105:12). Jehovah Zebaoth stands first, for the sake of emphasis. It would have been all over with Israel long ago, if it had not been for the compassion of God (vid., Hosea 11:8). And because it was the omnipotence of God, which set the will of His compassion in motion, He is called Jehovah Zebaoth, Jehovah (the God) of the heavenly hosts - an expression in which Zebaoth is a dependent genitive, and not, as Luzzatto supposes, an independent name of God as the Absolute, embracing within itself all the powers of nature. The prophet says "us" and "we." He himself was an inhabitant of Jerusalem; and even if he had not been so, he was nevertheless an Israelite. He therefore associates himself with his people, like Jeremiah in Lamentations 3:22. He had had to experience the anger of God along with the rest; and so, on the other hand, he also celebrates the mighty compassion of God, which he had experienced in common with them. But for this compassion, the people of God would have become like Sodom, from which only four human beings escaped: it would have resembled Gomorrah, which was absolutely annihilated. (On the prefects in the protasis and apodosis, see Ges. 126, 5.)
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