Isaiah 25:6
And in this mountain shall the LORD of hosts make to all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) And in this mountain shall the Lord . . .—The mountain is, as in Isaiah 2:1, the hill of Zion, the true representative type of the city of God. True to what we may call the catholicity of his character, Isaiah looks forward to a time when the outlying heathen nations shall no longer be excluded from fellowship with Israel, but shall share in its sacrificial feasts even as at the banquet of the great King. In the Hebrew, as even in the English, the rhythm flows on like a strain of music appropriate to such a feast. The “wines on the lees” are those that have been allowed to ripen and clarify in the cask, and so, like the “fat things full of marrow,” represent the crowning luxuries of an Eastern banquet.

Isaiah

‘IN THIS MOUNTAIN’

THE FEAST ON THE SACRIFICE

Isaiah 25:6
.

There is here a reference to Sinai, where a feast followed the vision of God. It was the sign of covenant, harmony, and relationship, and was furnished by a sacrifice.

I. The General Ideas contained in this Image of a Feast.

We meet it all through Scripture; it culminates in Christ’s parables and in the ‘Marriage Supper of the Lamb.’

In the image are suggested:-

Free familiarity of access, fellowship, and communion with Him.

Abundant Supply of all wants and desires.

Festal Joy.

Family Intercommunion.

II. The Feast follows on Sacrifice. We find that usage of a feast following a sacrifice existing in many races and religions. It seems to witness to a widespread consciousness of sin as disturbing our relations with God. These could be set right only by sacrifice, which therefore must precede all joyful communion with Him.

The New Testament accepts that truth and clears it from the admixture of heathenism.

God provides the Sacrifice.

It is not brought by man. There is no need for our efforts-no atonement to be found by us. The sacrifice is not meant to turn aside God’s wrath.

Communion is possible through Christ.

In Him God is revealed.

Objective hindrances are taken away.

Subjective ones are removed.

Dark fears-indifference-dislike of fellowship-Sin-these make communion with God impossible.

At Sinai the elders ‘saw God, and did eat and drink’ Here the end of the preceding chapter shows the ‘elders’ gazing on the glory of Jehovah’s reign in Zion.

III. The Feast consists of a Sacrifice.

Christ is the food of our souls, He and His work are meant to nourish our whole being. He is the object for all our nature.

The Sacrifice must be incorporated with us. It is not enough that it be offered, it must also be partaken of.

Now the Sacrifice is eaten by faith, and by occupation with it of each part of our being, according to its own proper action. Through love, obedience, hope, desire, we may all feed on Jesus.

The Lord’s Supper presents the same thoughts, under similar symbols, as Isaiah expressed in his prophecy.

Symbolically we feast on the sacrifice when we eat the Bread which is the Body broken for us. But the true eating of the true sacrifice is by faith. Crede et manducasti-Believe, and thou hast eaten.Isaiah 25:6-7. And in this mountain — In mount Zion, namely, God’s church, very frequently meant by the names of Zion and Jerusalem, both in the Old and New Testaments; shall the Lord make unto all people — Both Jews and Gentiles, who shall then be admitted to a participation of the same privileges and ordinances; a feast of fat things — A feast made of the most delicate provisions: which is manifestly meant of the ordinances, graces, and comforts given by God in his church. Of wines on the lees — Which have continued upon the lees a competent time, whereby they gain strength, and are afterward drawn out and refined. He will destroy the face of the covering — The covering of the face, or the veil, as the next clause expounds it, namely, of ignorance of God, and of the true religion; cast over all people — Which then was upon the Gentiles and the Jews, 2 Corinthians 3:14-16. This is a manifest prophecy concerning the illumination and conversion of the Gentiles.25:6-8 The kind reception of repentant sinners, is often in the New Testament likened to a feast. The guests invited are all people, Gentiles as well as Jews. There is that in the gospel which strengthens and makes glad the heart, and is fit for those who are under convictions of sin, and mourning for it. There is a veil spread over all nations, for all sat in darkness. But this veil the Lord will destroy, by the light of his gospel shining in the world, and the power of his Spirit opening men's eyes to receive it. He will raise those to spiritual life who were long dead in trespasses and sins. Christ will himself, in his resurrection, triumph over death. Grief shall be banished; there shall be perfect and endless joy. Those that mourn for sin shall be comforted. Those who suffer for Christ shall have consolations. But in the joys of heaven, and not short of them, will fully be brought to pass this saying, God shall wipe away all tears. The hope of this should now do away over-sorrow, all weeping that hinders sowing. Sometimes, in this world God takes away the reproach of his people from among men; however, it will be done fully at the great day. Let us patiently bear sorrow and shame now; both will be done away shortly.And in this mountain - In mount Zion, that is, in Jerusalem. The following verses undoubtedly refer to the times of the Messiah. Several of the expressions used here are quoted in the New Testament, showing that the reference is to the Messiah, and to the fact that his kingdom would commence in Jerusalem. and then extend to all people.

Shall the Lord of hosts - (See the note at Isaiah 1:9.)

Make unto all people - Provide for all people. He shall adapt the provisions of salvation not only to the Jews, but to people everywhere. This is one of the truths on which Isaiah loved to dwell, and which in fact constitutes one of the peculiarities of his prophecy. It is one of the chief glories of the gospel, that it is unto all people. See Isaiah 57:7; Daniel 5:19; Daniel 7:14; compare Luke 2:10 : 'I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people'

A feast - A feast, or entertainment, was usually observed, as it is now, on occasion of a great victory, or any other signal success. It is, therefore, emblematic of an occasion of joy. Here it is used in the twofold sense of an occasion of joy, and of an abundance of provisions for the necessities of those who should be entertained. This feast was to be prepared on mount Zion - in the provision which would be made in Jerusalem by the Messiah for the spiritual needs of the whole world. The arrangements for salvation arc often represented under the image of an ample and rich entertainment (see Luke 14:16; Revelation 19:19; Matthew 13:11).

Of fat things - Of rich delicacies. Fat things and marrow are often used as synonymous with a sumptuous entertainment, and are made emblematic Of the abundant provisions of divine mercy (see Isaiah 55:2; Psalm 63:5; Psalm 36:8 : 'I shall be satisfied with the fatness of thy house. ')

A feast of wines on the lees - The word which is used here (שׁמרים shemâriym) is derived from שׁמר shâmar, to keep, preserve, retain, and is applied usually to the lees or dregs of wine, because they retain the strength and color of the wine which is left to stand on them. It is also in this place applied to wine which has been kept on the lees, and is therefore synonymous with old wine; or wine of a rich color and flavor. This fact, that the color and strength of wine are retained by its being suffered to remain without being poured from one vessel into another, is more fully expressed in Jeremiah 48:11 :

Moab hath been at ease from his youth,

And he hath settled on his lees,

And hath not been emptied from vessel to vessel,

Neither hath he gone into captivity;

Therefore his taste remaineth in him,

And his scent is not changed.

Compare Zephaniah 1:12. It is well known that wines, unless retained for a considerable time on the lees, lose their flavor and strength, and are much less valuable (compare the notes at John 2:10; notes at John 1:11).

Of fat things full of marrow - Marrow is also an emblem of richness, or the delicacy of the entertainment Psalm 63:5.

continued...

6. in this mountain—Zion: Messiah's kingdom was to begin, and is to have its central seat hereafter, at Jerusalem, as the common country of "all nations" (Isa 2:2, &c.).

all people—(Isa 56:7; Da 7:14; Lu 2:10).

feast—image of felicity (Ps 22:26, 27; Mt 8:11; Lu 14:15; Re 19:9; compare Ps 36:8; 87:1-7).

fat things—delicacies; the rich mercies of God in Christ (Isa 55:2; Jer 31:14; Job 36:16).

wines on the lees—wine which has been long kept on the lees; that is, the oldest and most generous wine (Jer 48:11).

marrow—the choicest dainties (Ps 63:5).

well refined—cleared of all dregs.

In this mountain; in Mount Zion, to wit, in God’s church, which is very frequently meant by the names of Zion and Jerusalem, both in the Old and in the New Testament.

Make unto all people, both Jews and Gentiles, who shall then be admitted to the participation of the same privileges and ordinances,

a feast of fat things; a feast made up of the most exquisite and delicate provisions; which is manifestly meant of the ordinances, graces, and comforts given by God in and to his church.

Of wines on the lees; which have continued upon the lees a competent time, whereby they gain strength, and afterwards drawn off from the lees, and so refined, as it is explained in the next clause. And in this mountain shall the Lord of hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things,.... Which is to be understood, not of the ultimate glory of the saints in heaven; which is sometimes represented by a feast; and the participation of it, by sitting down with the saints at a table in the kingdom of God, and by drinking wine there, to which state the best things are reserved, Matthew 8:11, but rather of the Gospel dispensation, which lies in the ministration of the word and ordinances; and which are compared to a feast, which consists of the richest dainties, for the entertainment of the faith of God's people; and this is made by the Lord himself, who is sovereign Lord of all, the King of kings; who sits at table himself, and welcomes his guests, and is the sum and substance of the feast: and this is made in his "mountain"; the church, comparable to one for its visibility and immovableness; and for "all" his "people", Jews and Gentiles; for all that are made spiritually alive, and have a spiritual taste, and true faith in Christ, Matthew 22:4 particularly the Lord's supper itself is a feast, and a feast of love, comparable to wine; and which is better than wine, and in which wine, in a literal sense, is made use of; and in which the choicest and richest food is presented to faith; the flesh and blood of Christ, which are meat and drink indeed; here the saints are fed as with marrow and fatness, 1 Corinthians 5:7, Sol 1:2 but it seems rather to respect the marriage supper of the Lamb, in the latter day, when antichrist shall be destroyed, and Jews and Gentiles be converted, and shall join together in the participation of divine blessings, Revelation 19:1 or, best of all, the glories, joys, and pleasures of the New Jerusalem state; in which the saints shall drink of the water of life freely, and eat of the fruit of the tree of life, the leaves of which are for the healing of the nations, Revelation 21:6.

a feast of wines on the lees; that has been long kept on the lees, but now drawn off, and both strong and fine; of a banquet of wine, see Esther 7:2 this refers to the wine of the kingdom, Matthew 26:29,

of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined: this heap of words, and repetition of them, show the plenty of the provisions, and the richness and excellency of them; and "fat" being mentioned is a proof that the words must respect the times of the Messiah, since, under the law, fat was not to be eaten (e).

(e) Fortunatus Scacchus, in Sacror. Elaeochr. Myrothec. l. 1. c. 40. col. 205. thinks, that as the prophet speaks of the deliverance of believers from present troubles, and of good things at the coming of the Messiah, the metaphors are taken from the customs of that age, in which feasts were not prepared without the best of ointments; nor in a royal feast were the flesh of any animals used but such as were well fed and kept, and which, according to the law were pure and clean; and agreeably he renders the whole verse thus:

"and the Lord of hosts will make to all people a feast of ointments; a feast of those (animals) that are kept; of ointments full of marrow (the richest and fattest) of those that are kept'';

"pure" beasts, well kept and clean, according to the law of Moses. So Gussetius observes, that signifies not fat, but oil; and not "lees" of wine, but bottles in which wine is "kept", Comment. Ebr. p. 868, 872. The Syriac version of the latter part of the text, though not according to the original, is remarkable;

"the feast, I say, of our heavenly and most mighty quickener, reserved and fat.''.

The interpreter seems to have in his view the great master of the feast, our Lord Jesus Christ.

And on this {h} mountain shall the LORD of hosts make to all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined.

(h) That is, in Zion, by which he means his Church, which would under Christ be assembled of the Jews and the Gentiles, and is here described under the figure of a costly banquet, as in Mt 22:2.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. in this mountain] Mount Zion (cf. Isaiah 24:23), shewing that the author lived in Jerusalem.

a feast (lit. “banquet”) of fat things … full of marrow] The fat parts of the animal, which in ordinary sacrifice were reserved for the deity, were regarded in the East as the choicest delicacy. The same image is used in Psalm 36:8; Psalm 63:5 of the highest spiritual enjoyment in fellowship with God.

wines on the lees well refined] i.e. wine that has been left to stand long on its sediment, in order that its strength, flavour, bouquet, &c., might be enhanced by repeated fermentation (cf. Jeremiah 48:11; Zephaniah 1:12). Such old wines had to be strained before being used; hence the expression “well-refined” in E.V. The choice of terms in the Hebr. is partly dictated by the assonances: fat things corresponding to wines on the lees, and full of marrow to well refined. For the image of the feast as an emblem of the blessings of the kingdom of God cf. ch. Isaiah 55:1-2; Psalm 23:5; Matthew 8:11; Matthew 22:2 ff.; Luke 14:15 ff.; Revelation 19:9.

6–8. This section attaches itself directly to the concluding thought of ch. 24. The feast of Isaiah 25:6 may be regarded as a coronation-festival, inaugurating the reign of Jehovah on Mount Zion (Isaiah 24:23), although of course the state of things which is thus symbolised is not transitory but eternal. What is signified is the admission of all nations to communion with the one true God, and, as a consequence of this, the cessation of all the evils of human life. The whole passage, standing out as it does from a gloomy background of judgment and terror, is one of the most remarkable and fascinating in the Old Testament.Verses 6-8. - The blessings of the final state are now touched upon, as a special subject for thanksgiving. They are not enumerated; but a certain number are set forth, as specimens from which we may form a conception of the general condition of the "saved." These are:

(1) a heavenly feast, in which they will all participate (ver. 6);

(2) a removal of the "veil," or "covering," which is in this life over all things, causing men to have an indistinct vision, and an erroneous estimate of their value;

(3) the abolition of death, which will no longer hang over them as a thing to be feared; and

(4) the cessation of tears, or the entire freedom of the saved from all sorrow. Verse 6. - In this mountain; i.e. the heavenly Zion - the "mountain of the Lord's house" (Isaiah 2:2; comp. Isaiah 24:23). Unto all people; rather, unto all peoples. There is no restriction of salvation to any particular race or nation - "Jew, Greek, barbarian, Scythian, bond, free" (Colossians 3:11), are equally invited, and some of each come in (comp. Daniel 7:14; Matthew 8:11; Revelation 5:9; Revelation 7:9). The Church of the redeemed contains men and women of all "nations and kindreds, and peoples, and tongues." A feast of fat things. It follows from many passages of Holy Scripture that there is something in the final beatitude of man which is best represented to us in our present condition by the image of a "feast" - something very different, no doubt, from the festive joy of which our Teutonic ancestors hoped to partake in the halls of Odin, but yet figured to us most fitly and appropriately by terms ordinarily used to describe earthly feasting. Our Lord tells of a "marriage supper," to which he will invite his friends (Matthew 22:2-12); and the scene of the "marriage supper of the Lamb, "according to St. John in the Revelation" (Revelation 19:7-9), is heaven. There man, it would seem, will partake of a sacrificial feast with his glorified Lord (Matthew 26:29) - will eat the "heavenly manna," which is "angels' food" (Psalm 78:25), and drink a spiritual drink which may be called "the fruit of the vine," deriving from this "eating" and "drinking" life and joy and strength. It has been already observed, in the Commentary upon Exodus (p. 581), that the sacrificial meal on Sinai, whereto the seventy elders were admitted (Exodus 24:9-11), prefigured this heavenly feasting, and throws a certain light upon it. All gross and carnal ideas must, of course, be subtracted from the conception of the heavenly festivity; but it seems to be true to say that our author, and also St. John and our Lord himself, imply that in the world to come there will be a feast, at which God will be the Host, and all men, priests and laity alike, his guests, and receive from him the choicest and most exquisite gifts - gifts which will make them supremely happy (see Mr. Cheyne's note on the passage, p. 148). A feast of wines on the lees. 'Wine which remained on its Ices, and was not poured off them into another vessel, was considered to be of especial strength (see Jeremiah 48:11). Its defect was a want of clearness. The wine of the heavenly banquet is to be at once strong and perfectly clear or "well refined." Isaiah 24:22 announces the preliminary punishment of both angelic and human princes: 'asēphâh stands in the place of a gerundive, like taltēlâh in Isaiah 22:17. The connection of the words 'asēphâh 'assir is exactly the same as that of taltēlâh gâbēr in Isaiah 22:17 : incarceration after the manner of incarcerating prisoners; 'âsaph, to gather together (Isaiah 10:14; Isaiah 33:4), signifies here to incarcerate, just as in Genesis 42:17. Both verbs are construed with ‛al, because the thrusting is from above downwards, into the pit and prison (‛al embraces both upon or over anything, and into it, e.g., 1 Samuel 31:4; Job 6:16; see Hitzig on Nahum 3:12). We may see from 2 Peter 2:4 and Jde 1:6 how this is to be understood. The reference is to the abyss of Hades, where they are reserved in chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day. According to this parallel, yippâkedu (shall be visited) ought apparently to be understood as denoting a visitation in wrath (like Isaiah 29:6; Ezekiel 38:8; compare pâkad followed by an accusative in Isaiah 26:21, also Isaiah 26:14, and Psalm 59:6; niphkad, in fact, is never used to signify visitation in mercy), and therefore as referring to the infliction of the final punishment. Hitzig, however, understands it as relating to a visitation of mercy; and in this he is supported by Ewald, Knobel, and Luzzatto. Gesenius, Umbreit, and others, take it to indicate a citation or summons, though without any ground either in usage of speech or actual custom. A comparison of Isaiah 23:17 in its relation to Isaiah 23:15

(Note: Cf., Targ., Saad., "they will come into remembrance again.")

favours the second explanation, as being relatively the most correct; but the expression is intentionally left ambiguous. So far as the thing itself is concerned, we have a parallel in Revelation 20:1-3 and Revelation 20:7-9 : they are visited by being set free again, and commencing their old practice once more; but only (as Isaiah 24:23 affirms) to lose again directly, before the glorious and triumphant might of Jehovah, the power they have temporarily reacquired. What the apocalyptist of the New Testament describes in detail in Revelation 20:4, Revelation 20:11., and Revelation 21:1, the apocalyptist of the Old Testament sees here condensed into one fact, viz., the enthroning of Jehovah and His people in a new Jerusalem, at which the silvery white moon (lebânâh) turns red, and the glowing sun (chammâh) turns pale; the two great lights of heaven becoming (according to a Jewish expression) "like a lamp at noonday" in the presence of such glory. Of the many parallels to Isaiah 24:23 which we meet with in Isaiah, the most worthy of note are Isaiah 11:10 to the concluding clause, "and before His elders is glory" (also Isaiah 4:5), and Isaiah 1:26 (cf., Isaiah 3:14), with reference to the use of the word zekēnim (elders). Other parallels are Isaiah 30:26, for chammâh and lebânâh; Isaiah 1:29, for châphēr and bōsh; Isaiah 33:22, for mâlak; Isaiah 10:12, for "Mount Zion and Jerusalem." We have already spoken at Isaiah 1:16 of the word neged (Arab. Ne'gd, from nâgad, njd, to be exalted; vid., opp. Arab. gâr, to be pressed down, to sink), as applied to that which stands out prominently and clearly before one's eyes. According to Hofmann (Schriftbeweis, i.-320-1), the elders here, like the twenty-four presbuteroi of the Apocalypse, are the sacred spirits, forming the council of God, to which He makes known His will concerning the world, before it is executed by His attendant spirits the angels. But as we find counsellors promised to the Israel of the new Jerusalem in Isaiah 1:26, in contrast with the bad zekēnim (elders) which it then possessed (Isaiah 3:14), such as it had at the glorious commencement of its history; and as the passage before us says essentially the same with regard to the zekēnim as we find in Isaiah 4:5 with regard to the festal meetings of Israel (vid., Isaiah 30:20 and Isaiah 32:1); and still further, as Revelation 20:4 (cf., Matthew 19:28) is a more appropriate parallel to the passage before us than Revelation 4:4, we may assume with certainty, at least with regard to this passage, and without needing to come to any decision concerning Revelation 4:4, that the zekēnim here are not angels, but human elders after God's own heart. These elders, being admitted into the immediate presence of God, and reigning together with Him, have nothing but glory in front of them, and they themselves reflect that glory.

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