Isaiah 32:16
Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Then judgment shall dwell . . .—Outward blessings, themselves symbols of something beyond themselves, are followed by spiritual. Over the whole country, from the one extreme of cultivation to the other, the judgment and righteousness which had been so lacking should now find a home, and bring their blessed fruits of peace, and confidence, and calm. The whole picture is that of a smiling land, a God-fearing and contented people, all in striking contrast with the panic and unrest with which the people had been but too familiar.

Isaiah 32:16-18. Then judgment — Just judgment, as the next clause explains it, shall dwell in the wilderness — In what had formerly been a wilderness, namely, among the Gentiles, now supposed to be converted to Christianity; by whom righteousness also shall be practised, and among whom it shall remain. And the work of righteousness shall be peace — The effect of this righteousness shall be peace of conscience, possessed by all that practise it, and tranquillity, of mind, as well as peace with God. Or, perhaps, outward prosperity may be chiefly intended. And the effect — Hebrew, עבדה, the service, of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever השׁקשׂ ובשׂח, rest and confidence. The being truly righteous before God, and walking in his ordinances and commandments blameless, (Luke 1:6,) shall be attended with an assurance of God’s favour, and a dependance on him for the fulfilment of his promises; from whence will arise a holy serenity and security of mind, with a lively and joyful expectation of eternal felicity, of which no external circumstances of prosperity or adversity can deprive the possessors. And my people — The converted Gentiles, who shall then be my people; or the Jews upon their conversion to Christianity in the latter days; shall dwell in a peaceable habitation — Shall be safe and happy under the peculiar protection and care of God.32:9-20 When there was so much provocation given to the holy God, bad times might be expected. Alas! how many careless ones there are, who support self-indulgence by shameful niggardliness! We deserve to be deprived of the supports of life, when we make them the food of lusts. Let such tremble and be troubled. Blessed times shall be brought in by the pouring out of the Spirit from on high; then, and not till then, there will be good times. The present state of the Jews shall continue until a more abundant pouring out of the Spirit from on high. Peace and quietness shall be found in the way and work of righteousness. True satisfaction is to be had only in true religion. And real holiness is real happiness now, and shall be perfect happiness, that is, perfect holiness for ever. The good seed of the word shall be sown in all places, and be watered by Divine grace; and laborious, patient labourers shall be sent forth into God's husbandry.Then judgment shall dwell - Or, justice shall make its appropriate dwelling-place there.

In the wilderness - In the place that was a wilderness, but that shall now be turned to a fruitful field.

In the fruitful field - In the nation that is like a fruitful field; in Judea restored.

16. judgment—justice.

wilderness—then reclaimed.

fruitful field—then become more fruitful (Isa 32:15); thus "wilderness" and "fruitful field" include the whole land of Judea.

Judgment; just judgment, as the next clause explains it. Justice shall be executed in all the parts of the land, both in the barren and fruitful places, and shall be practised by all my people; which agrees with that promise, Isaiah 60:21, Thy people shall be all righteous, &c. Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness,.... In the desert part of the world, inhabited by Pagans, Papists, and Mahometans; where the Scriptures, the rule of judgment, and where the Gospel, sometimes called the judgment of the Lord, Isaiah 51:4 had no place, now they shall have one, and an abiding one; and men of judgment in spiritual and evangelical things, and such as do justice and judgment, shall dwell there:

and righteousness remain in the fruitful field; both the doctrine and practice of righteousness shall continue in the church of God, which will be the glory of it; the righteous men will be the settled constant inhabitants of it; these will be all righteous at this time, Isaiah 60:21 not only by profession, but in truth and reality; at least the far greater part; so the Targum interprets it of those that do judgment and do righteousness.

Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. “Judgment” and “righteousness,” the foundations of social order (ch. Isaiah 1:21; Isaiah 1:26 f., Isaiah 28:17), shall then be established throughout the land. The “wilderness” (i.e. untilled pasture-land) is not annihilated, only pushed further into the desert proper; even there the reign of right extends.Verse 16. - Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness. In all parts of the kingdom of Christ, the lowest as well as the highest, "judgment" and "righteousness" shall prevail (comp. ver. 1). This short address, although rounded off well, is something more than a fragment complete in itself, like the short parabolic piece in Isaiah 28:23-29, which commences in a similar manner. It is the last part of the fourth woe, just as that was the last part of the first. It is a side piece to the threatening prophecy of the time of Uzziah-Jotham (Isaiah 3:16.), and chastises the frivolous self-security of the women of Jerusalem, just as the former chastises their vain and luxurious love of finery. The prophet has now uttered many a woe upon Jerusalem, which is bringing itself to the verge of destruction; but notwithstanding the fact that women are by nature more delicate, and more easily affected and alarmed, than men, he has made no impression upon the women of Jerusalem, to whom he now foretells a terrible undeceiving of their carnal ease, whilst he holds out before them the ease secured by God, which can only be realized on the ruins of the former.

The first part of the address proclaims the annihilation of their false ease. "Ye contented women, rise up, hear my voice; ye confident daughters, hearken to my speech! Days to the year: then will ye tremble, confident ones! for it is all over with the vintage, the fruit harvest comes to nought. Tremble, contented ones! Quake, ye confident ones! Strip, make yourselves bare, and gird your loins with sackcloth! They smite upon their breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine. On the land of my people there come up weeds, briers; yea, upon all joyous houses of the rejoicing city. For the palace is made solitary; the crowd of the city is left desolate; the ofel and watch-tower serve as caves for ever, for the delight of wild asses, for the tending of flocks." The summons is the same as in Genesis 4:23 and Jeremiah 9:19 (comp. Isaiah 28:23); the attributes the same as in Amos 6:1 (cf., Isaiah 4:1, where Isaiah apostrophizes the women of Samaria). שׁאנן, lively, of good cheer; and בּטח, trusting, namely to nothing. They are to rise up (qōmnâh), because the word of God must be heard standing (Judges 3:20). The definition of the time "days for a year" (yâmı̄m ‛al-shânâh) appears to indicate the length of time that the desolation would last, as the word tirgaznâh is without any Vav apod. (cf., Isaiah 65:24; Job 1:16-18); but Isaiah 29:1 shows us differently, and the Vav is omitted, just as it is, for example, in Daniel 4:28. Shânâh is the current year. In an undefined number of days, at the most a year from the present time (which is sometimes the meaning of yâmı̄m), the trembling would begin, and there would be neither grapes nor fruit to gather. Hence the spring harvest of corn is supposed to be over when the devastation begins. ימים is an acc. temporis; it stands here (as in Isaiah 27:6, for example; vid., Ewald, 293, 1) to indicate the starting point, not the period of duration. The milel-forms פּשׁטה, ערה, חגרה ,ערה , are explained by Ewald, Drechsler, and Luzzatto, as plur. fem. imper. with the Nun of the termination nâh dropped - an elision that is certainly never heard of. Others regard it as inf. with He femin. (Credner, Joel, p. 151); but קטלה for the infinitive קטלה is unexampled; and equally unexampled would be the inf. with He indicating the summons, as suggested by Bttcher, "to the shaking!" "to the stripping!" They are sing. masc. imper., such as occur elsewhere apart from the pause, e.g., מלוכה (for which the keri has מלכה) in Judges 9:8; and the singular in the place of the plural is the strongest form of command. The masculine instead of the feminine appears already in הרדוּ, which is used in the place of חרדנה. The prophet then proceeds in the singular number, comprehending the women as a mass, and using the most massive expression. The He introduced into the summons required that the feminine forms, רגזי, etc., should be given up. ערה, from ערר, to be naked, to strip one's self. חגרה absolute, as in Joel 1:13 (cf., Isaiah 3:24), signifies to gird one's self with sackcloth (saq). We meet with the same remarkable enall. generis in Isaiah 32:12. Men have no breasts (shâdaim), and yet the masculine sōphedı̄m is employed, inasmuch as the prophet had the whole nation in his mind, throughout which there would be such a plangere ubera on account of the utter destruction of the hopeful harvest of corn and wine. Shâdaim (breasts) and שׂדי (construct to sâdōth) have the same common ring as ubera and ubertas frugum. In Isaiah 32:13 ta‛ăleh points back to qōts shâmı̄r, which is condensed into one neuter idea. The ki in Isaiah 32:13 has the sense of the Latin imo (Ewald, 330, b). The genitive connection of עלּיזה קריה with משׂושׂ בּתּי (joy-houses of the jubilant city) is the same as in Isaiah 28:1. The whole is grammatically strange, just as in the Psalms the language becomes all the more complicated, disjointed, and difficult, the greater the wrath and indignation of the poet. Hence the short shrill sentences in Isaiah 32:14 : palace given up (cf., Isaiah 13:22); city bustle forsaken (i.e., the city generally so full of bustle, Isaiah 22:2). The use of בּעד is the same as in Proverbs 6:26; Job 2:4. ‛Ofel, i.e., the south-eastern fortified slope of the temple mountain, and the bachan (i.e., the watch-tower, possibly the flock-tower which is mentioned in Micah 4:8 along with ‛ofel), would be pro speluncis, i.e., would be considered and serve as such. And in the very place where the women of Jerusalem had once led their life of gaiety, wild asses would now have their delight, and flocks their pasture (on the wild asses, perâ'ı̄m, that fine animal of the woodless steppe, see at Job 24:5; Job 39:5-8). Thus would Jerusalem, with its strongest, proudest places, be laid in ruins, and that in a single year, or ever less than a year.

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