Isaiah 24:5
The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) The earth also is defiled.—The verb is used of blood-guiltiness in Numbers 35:33, of impurity in Jeremiah 3:1-2; Jeremiah 3:9. It includes, therefore, all the sins that, in modern phrase, desecrate humanity. Taking the word in its wider range, each form of evil was a transgression of the “everlasting covenant” of Genesis 9:16.

Isaiah 24:5-6. The earth also — Rather, And the land is defiled under the inhabitants thereof — By the wickedness of its people. Here we have the causes of the divine judgment upon the land: because they have transgressed the laws — The laws of God revealed to them, and pressed upon them in a singular manner; changed the ordinance — God’s ordinances concerning his worship and service; broken the everlasting covenant — The covenant made between God and Abraham, and all his posterity, which was everlasting, both on God’s part, who, upon the conditions therein expressed, engaged himself to be a God to them, and to their seed for ever; and on Israel’s part, who were obliged thereby to constant and perpetual obedience through all generations. Therefore hath the curse — The curse of God threatened to transgressors; devoured the earth — See this illustrated Zechariah 5:1. And they that dwell therein are desolate — Reduced to poverty, by the spoiling of their goods. The inhabitants are burned — Destroyed by fire and sword, or consumed by the wrath of God, which is often compared to fire; and few men left — The prophet’s general meaning is, that the inhabitants of the land should waste away and be consumed, being partly cut off by the sword, partly dispersed by the public calamities, partly destroyed by famine, and partly carried into captivity, so that but few of them should remain, and they only of the poorer sort. And this was the face of things in Judea at the time referred to.24:1-12 All whose treasures and happiness are laid up on earth, will soon be brought to want and misery. It is good to apply to ourselves what the Scripture says of the vanity and vexation of spirit which attend all things here below. Sin has turned the earth upside down; the earth is become quite different to man, from what it was when God first made it to be his habitation. It is, at the best, like a flower, which withers in the hands of those that please themselves with it, and lay it in their bosoms. The world we live in is a world of disappointment, a vale of tears; the children of men in it are but of few days, and full of trouble, See the power of God's curse, how it makes all empty, and lays waste all ranks and conditions. Sin brings these calamities upon the earth; it is polluted by the sins of men, therefore it is made desolate by God's judgments. Carnal joy will soon be at end, and the end of it is heaviness. God has many ways to imbitter wine and strong drink to those who love them; distemper of body, anguish of mind, and the ruin of the estate, will make strong drink bitter, and the delights of sense tasteless. Let men learn to mourn for sin, and rejoice in God; then no man, no event, can take their joy from them.The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants thereof - The statements in this verse are given as a reason why the curse had been pronounced against them, and why these calamities had come upon them, Isaiah 24:6. The first reason is, that the very earth become polluted by their crimes. This phrase may denote that injustice and cruelty prevailed to such an extent that the very earth was stained with gore, and covered with blood under the guilty population. So the phrase is used in Numbers 33:33; Psalm 106:38. Or it may mean in general that the wickedness of the people was great, and was accumulating, and the very earth under them was polluted by sustaining such a population. But the former is probably the correct interpretation.

Changed the ordinance - Or, the statute (חק chôq). This word, from חקק châqaq, to engrave, and then to make or institute a law or an ordinance, is usually applied to the positive statutes appointed by Moses. The word statute accurately expresses the idea. These they had changed by introducing new statutes, and had in fact, if not in form, repealed the laws of Moses, and introduced others.

Broken the everlasting covenant - The word 'covenant' here is evidently used, as it is often, in the sense of law. By the term 'everlasting covenant,' Vitringa correctly supposes is denoted the laws of nature, the immutable laws of justice and right, which are engraven on the conscience, and which are inflexible and perpetual.

5. earth—rather, "the land."

defiled under … inhabitants—namely, with innocent blood (Ge 4:11; Nu 35:33; Ps 106:38).

laws … ordinance … everlasting covenant—The moral laws, positive statutes, and national covenant designed to be for ever between God and them.

The earth also, Heb. And the land; or, this land; for here is an emphatical article in the Hebrew text.

Is defiled under the inhabitants thereof; by the wickedness of its people; of which see Leviticus 18:25,27 Num 35:33, &c. The laws; the laws of God revealed to them, and pressed upon them in a singular manner, called simply the laws, as the word of God is ofttimes called the word, by way of eminency.

The ordinance; God’s ordinances concerning his worship and service; the singular being put collectively for the plural.

The everlasting covenant; the covenant made between God and Abraham, and all his posterity, renewed with the Israelites at Sinai, which was everlasting, both on God’s part, who, upon the conditions therein expressed, engaged himself to be a God to them and to their seed for ever; and on Israel’s part, who were obliged thereby to constant and perpetual obedience through all generations. All these clauses clearly prove that the earth or land which this prophecy concerns, is no other than the land of Israel and Judah. The earth also is defiled under the inhabitants of it,.... Or, "and the earth"; or, "for the earth is defiled" (q); and so it is a reason why it is emptied and spoiled, because polluted and corrupted with the fornication of the whore of Rome, with her idolatries and superstitions, with which the inhabitants of the earth are defiled; or with her rapine and violence, cruelties, bloodshed, and murders; for blood defiles a land, Numbers 35:33 all which are committed by the inhabitants of the earth, subject to the see of Rome, by reason of which it may be said to be corrupted or defiled; so the phrase may be interpreted "for", or "because of the inhabitants of it": thus Jarchi and Kimchi, because of their wickedness and impieties; see Revelation 11:18 or, "the earth is deceitful" (r), or plays the hypocrite; promising and showing as if it would bring forth fruit, and brings forth none, but is barren and unfruitful, because of the sins of the inhabitants of it; see Revelation 18:14,

because they have transgressed the laws; of God and man, as antichrist and his followers have done; who is that wicked that "lawless one", that sets up himself above laws, and takes upon him to dispense with the laws of God and man, 2 Thessalonians 2:4 and in innumerable instances has transgressed both, casting all contempt upon them, and bidding all defiance to them, as being not at all bound and obliged by them:

changed the ordinance; or "ordinances"; the singular for the plural, a collective word; the ordinances of divine revelation, of the Gospel dispensation, those of baptism, and the Lord's supper; the former of these is changed, both as to subjects and mode, from adult baptism to infant baptism, from immersion to aspersion; and the latter, in it the bread and wine are pretended to be changed into the very body and blood of Christ, and is only given in one kind to the laity, and made a real sacrifice of, when its end and use are only to commemorate the one sacrifice already offered up; moreover, by the "ordinance" may be meant the Scriptures, which are the "the rule of judgment"; which antichrist has most miserably perverted, and has changed and altered the sense of them; taking upon him to be the infallible interpreter of them, and judge of all controversies, forbidding the reading of them to the people, and setting up his own decrees, definitions, and determinations, above them; and is "that throne of iniquity, that frameth mischief, by a law", or ordinance, of his own making, and which he puts in the room of the divine law or ordinance, Psalm 94:20 where the same word is used as here; and he is that little horn, that thought to change times and laws, Daniel 7:25,

broken the everlasting covenant; not the eternal law of nature, nor the everlasting covenant of circumcision, or that made with Israel on mount Sinai; but the new covenant, or the administration of the covenant of grace under the Gospel dispensation, which is to last to the end of time, and lies in the ministration of the word, and administration of ordinances; which antichrist has done all that in his power lies to break, make null and void, by corrupting the word, and changing the ordinances, and setting up his own institutions above them, and against them.

(q) "et terra", V. L. "nam terra", Piscator. (r) "hypocrita est", Montanus, Tigurine version.

The earth {c} also is defiled under its inhabitants; because they have transgressed the laws, changed the ordinance, broken the everlasting covenant.

(c) That is, does not give her fruit for the sin of the people, whom the earth deceived of their nourishment because they deceived God of his honour.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. The earth also is defiled (literally, profaned) under the inhabitants thereof] That the land of Israel is profaned by the sins of its people, is a prominent idea in the O.T.; the conception is here extended to the whole earth. The condition of the world resembles that which preceded the Deluge (Genesis 6:11).

changed the ordinance] Rather, disregarded (lit. “passed by”) the ordinance.

the everlasting covenant] The expression is taken from Genesis 9:16, and refers to the covenant made after the flood with Noah and his family as representatives of the human race. The sin of the world lies in the violation of these fundamental dictates of morality, especially the law against murder, which is the principal stipulation of the Noachic covenant (Genesis 9:5-6). The conception is probably a late one.Verse 5. - The earth also is defiled. Hitherto the prophet has been concerned with the mere fact of a terrible judgment to be sent by God upon the whole world. Now he sets forth the cause of the fact. It is the old cause, which has reduced so many lauds to desolation, and which in the far-off times produced the Flood, viz. the wickedness of man (Genesis 6:5-13). The earth is "defiled" or "polluted" by the sins of its inhabitants, and has to be purged from the defilement by suffering. They have transgressed the laws. Apart from both Judaism and Christianity, all mankind have been placed by God under a double law:

1. The "law written in their hearts" (Romans 2:15), which speaks to them through their consciences, and lays them under an obligation that cannot be gainsaid.

2. The law of positive commands, given to the entire human race through the common progenitors, Adam and Noah, which is obligatory upon all to whom it has been traditionally handed down; but which has been only very partially handed down, and it is not generally felt as obligatory. Mankind has in all ages largely transgressed both laws, and both would seem to be pointed at in the present passage. The transgression of the "law written in the heart" is doubtless that which especially calls down God's vengeance, and makes him from time to time execute wrath on the whole world. Changed the ordinance; rather, broken, violated. Transgression in act is intended, not formal abrogation of the Divine ordinances. Broken the everlasting covenant. Mr. Cheyne supposes an allusion to the covenant made with Noah (Genesis 9:16); but it seems better to understand that "everlasting covenant" which exists between God and man, in virtue of the nature wherewith God has endowed man, and of the laws which he Ires impressed upon man's con. science. Sophocles well says of these laws, that they are

ὑψίποδες οὐρανίαν δι αἰθέρὰΝΛ´τεκνοθέντες ῶν Ὄλυμπος
πατὴρ μόνος οὐδέ νιν θνατὰ
φύσις αηνέρων ἔτικτεν οὐδὲ
μήν ποτε λάθα κατακοιμάσει Or -

"Laws that walk on high, begot and bred
In upper air, whose only sire is Heaven;
Nor did the race of mortals give them birth,
Nor will oblivion ever cause them sleep."
When it begins again to make love to all the world, it will get rich again from the gain acquired by this worldly intercourse. "And it will come to pass at the end of the seventy years: Jehovah will visit Tzor, and she comes again to her hire, and commits prostitution with all the kingdoms of the earth on the broad surface of the globe." Such mercantile trading as hers, which is only bent upon earthly advantages, is called zânâh, on account of its recognising none of the limits opposed by God, and making itself common to all the world, partly because it is a prostitution of the soul, and partly because from the very earliest times the prostitution of the body was also a common thing in markets and fairs, more especially in those of Phoenicia (as the Phoenicians were worshippers of Astarte). Hence the gain acquired by commerce, which Tyre had now secured again, is called 'ethnân (Deuteronomy 23:19), with a feminine suffix, according to the Masora without mappik (Ewald, 247, a).
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