Isaiah 1:22
Your silver is become dross, your wine mixed with water:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(22) Thy silver is become dross . . .—The two images describe the degeneracy of the rulers to whose neglect this disorder was due. (See Notes on Jeremiah 6:28-30.) Hypocrisy and adulteration were the order of the day. The coinage of judgment and justice was debased; the wine of spiritual life (Proverbs 9:5), of enthusiasm and zeal for good, was diluted till it had lost all power to strengthen and refresh. In “the salt that has lost its savour” of Matthew 5:13 we have a like symbolism.

Isaiah 1:22-23. Thy silver is become dross — Thou art wofully degenerated from thy former purity. Thy wine mixed with water — If there be any remains of religion and virtue in thee, they are mixed with many and great corruptions. Thy princes are rebellious — Against me, their sovereign Lord; and companions of thieves — Partly by giving them connivance and countenance, and partly by practising the same violence, and cruelty, and injustice that thieves used to do. Every one loveth gifts — That is, bribes given to pervert justice.1:21-31 Neither holy cities nor royal ones are faithful to their trust, if religion does not dwell in them. Dross may shine like silver, and the wine that is mixed with water may still have the colour of wine. Those have a great deal to answer for, who do not help the oppressed, but oppress them. Men may do much by outward restraints; but only God works effectually by the influences of his Spirit, as a Spirit of Judgment. Sin is the worst captivity, the worst slavery. The redemption of the spiritual Zion, by the righteousness and death of Christ, and by his powerful grace, most fully accord with what is here meant. Utter ruin is threatened. The Jews should become as a tree when blasted by heat; as a garden without water, which in those hot countries would soon be burned up. Thus shall they be that trust in idols, or in an arm of flesh. Even the strong man shall be as tow; not only soon broken, and pulled to pieces, but easily catching fire. When the sinner has made himself as tow and stubble, and God makes himself as a consuming fire, what can prevent the utter ruin of the sinner?Thy silver - The sentiment in this verse, as it is explained by the following, is, thy princes and people have become corrupt, and polluted. Silver is used here to denote what should have been more valuable - virtuous princes.

Dross - This word - סיג sı̂g - means the scoriae, or baser metal, which is separated from the purer in smelting. It is of little or no value; and the expression means, that the rulers had become debased and corrupt, as if pure silver had been converted wholly to dross.

Thy wine - Wine was regarded as the most pure and valuable drink among the ancients. It is used, therefore, to express that which should have been most valued and esteemed among them - to wit, their rulers.

Mixed with water - Diluted, made weak. According to Gesenius, the word rendered "mixed" - מהוּל mâhûl - is from מהל mâhal, the same as מוּל mûl, to circumcise; and hence, by a figure common with the Arabians, to adulterate, or dilute wine. The word does not occur in this sense elsewhere in the Scriptures, but the connection evidently requires it to be so understood. Wine mixed with water is that which is weakened, diluted, rendered comparatively useless. So with the rulers and judges. They had lest the strength and purity of their integrity, by intermingling those things which tended to weaken and destroy their virtue, pride, the love of gifts, and bribes, etc. Divested of the figure, the passage means, that the rulers had become wholly corrupt.

22. Thy princes and people are degenerate in "solid worth," equivalent to "silver" (Jer 6:28, 30; Eze 22:18, 19), and in their use of the living Word, equivalent to "wine" (So 7:9).

mixed—literally, "circumcised." So the Arabic, "to murder" wine, equivalent to dilute it.

Thou art woefully degenerated from thy former purity. If there be any remainders of religion and justice in thee, they are mixed with many and great corruptions. Thy silver is become dross,.... Meaning either that such persons, who had the appearance of goodness, looked like genuine silver, were now become reprobate, and, as the wicked of the earth, like dross, Jeremiah 6:30 or that the word of God, which is as silver purified seven times, was now corrupted with false glosses and human traditions, which were as dross:

thy wine mixed with water (m); the wine of the divine word, which was mixed and blended with the inventions of men, as before; so the roof of the church's mouth, which is no other than the ministry of the word, is compared to the best wine, Sol 7:9.

(m) It being usual to mix water with wine, and drink it, and this being not at all reproachful, but commendable, Gussetius thinks such a version does not express the sense of the words; he therefore thinks that is the same as contracted, which signified "infatuated"; and so the words should be rendered, "thy wine is infatuated into water"; is degenerated, and has lost its spirit and sprightliness, and is become insipid and tasteless. So Jarchi mentions a Midrash, which interprets it by the same word in Ecclesiastes 2:2. It is a word only used in this place. Joseph Kimchi says that in the Arabic, language has the signification of mixture, but without giving any instance. Indeed, according to Castel, it is used for the lees of oil.

Thy {f} silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:

(f) Whatever was pure in you before, is now corrupt, though you have an outward show.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. silver and wine may refer to the great men of the city (Isaiah 1:23) but more naturally to the “judgment” and “righteousness” of Isaiah 1:21;—all that was best in her, purity of morals, excellence of character, &c. The word for mixt occurs only here. The phrase is usually illustrated by the Latin “castrare vinum,” the verb being taken as connected with that for “circumcise.”

wine] better: choice drink, found elsewhere only in Hosea 4:18.Verse 22. - Thy silver is become dross. Primarily, "thy great men have deteriorated." From pure silver, they have become mere dross, the vile refuse of the smelted ore, only fit to be cast away as worthless. But per-Imps there is some further reference to all that was once precious in Jerusalem; there had been a general deterioration - all the silver was now a debased metal of no value. Thy wine mixed with water. A parallelism; but (as so often happens) a weakened iteration of the preceding sentiment. The first three run thus: "Wash, clean yourselves; put away the badness of your doings from the range of my eyes; cease to do evil." This is not only an advance from figurative language to the most literal, but there is also an advance in what is said. The first admonition requires, primarily and above all, purification from the sins committed, by means of forgiveness sought for and obtained. Wash: rachatzu, from râchatz, in the frequent middle sense of washing one's self. Clean yourselves: hizdaccu, with the tone upon the last syllable, is not the niphal of zâkak, as the first plur. imper. niph. of such verbs has generally and naturally the tone upon the penultimate (see Isaiah 52:11; Numbers 17:10), but the hithpael of zacah for hizdaccu, with the preformative Tav resolved into the first radical letter, as is very common in the hithpael (Ges. 54, 2, b). According to the difference between the two synonyms (to wash one's self, to clean one's self), the former must be understood as referring to the one great act of repentance on the part of a man who is turning to God, the latter to the daily repentance of one who has so turned. The second admonition requires them to place themselves in the light of the divine countenance, and put away the evil of their doings, which was intolerable to pure eyes (Habakkuk 1:13). They were to wrestle against the wickedness to which their actual sin had grown, until at length it entirely disappeared. Neged, according to its radical meaning, signifies prominence (compare the Arabic ne‛gd, high land which is visible at a great distance), conspicuousness, so that minneged is really equivalent to ex apparentia.
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