Isaiah 48:8
Yes, you heard not; yes, you knew not; yes, from that time that your ear was not opened: for I knew that you would deal very treacherously, and were called a transgressor from the womb.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
48:1-8 The Jews valued themselves on descent from Jacob, and used the name of Jehovah as their God. They prided themselves respecting Jerusalem and the temple, yet there was no holiness in their lives. If we are not sincere in religion, we do but take the name of the Lord in vain. By prophecy they were shown how God would deal with them, long before it came to pass. God has said and done enough to prevent men's boasting of themselves, which makes the sin and ruin of the proud worse; sooner or later every mouth shall be stopped, and all become silent before Him. We are all born children of disobedience. Where original sin is, actual sin will follow. Does not the conscience of every man witness to the truth of Scripture? May the Lord prove us, and render us doers of the word.Yea, thou heardest not - This verse is designed to show not only that these events could not have been foreseen by them, but that when they were actually made known to them, they were stupid, dull, and incredulous. It is not only re-affirming what had been said in the previous verses, but is designed to show that they were characteristically and constantly a perverse, hardened, and insensible people. The phrase, 'thou heardest not,' therefore means that they did not attend to these things when they were uttered, and were prone to disregard God, and all his predictions and promises.

Yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened - The word 'that' which is here supplied by our translators, greatly obscures the sense. The meaning is, 'from the first, thine ear was not open to receive them' (Lowth); that is, they were stupid, insensible, and uniformly prone to disregard the messages of God. To open the ear, denotes a prompt and ready attention to what God says (see Isaiah 50:5), and to close the ear denotes an unwillingness to listen to what is spoken by him.

For I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously - I knew that, as a people, you are characteristically false and perfidious. This does not refer to their conduct toward other nations, but to their conduct toward God. They were false and unfaithful to him, and the sense is, that if God had not foretold the destruction of Babylon and their deliverance from it so clearly that there could have been no misunderstanding of it, and no perversion, they would have also perverted this, and ascribed it to something else than to him. Perhaps they might, as their forefathers did, when they came out of Egypt Exodus 32:4, have ascribed it to idols (compare Isaiah 48:5), and the result might have been a relapse into that very sin, to cure which was the design of removing them to Babylon.'

And wast called - This was thy appropriate appellation.

From the womb - From the very commencement of your national history; from the very time when the nation was first organized (see the notes at Isaiah 44:2).

8. heardest not—repeated, as also "knewest not," from Isa 48:7.

from that time—Omit "that." "Yea, from the first thine ear did not open itself," namely, to obey them [Rosenmuller]. "To open the ear" denotes obedient attention (Isa 50:5); or, "was not opened" to receive them; that is, they were not declared by Me to thee previously, since, if thou hadst been informed of them, such is thy perversity, thou couldst not have been kept in check [Maurer]. In the former view, the sense of the words following is, "For I knew that, if I had not foretold the destruction of Babylon so plainly that there could be no perverting of it, thou wouldst have perversely ascribed it to idols, or something else than to Me" (Isa 48:5). Thus they would have relapsed into idolatry, to cure them of which the Babylonian captivity was sent: so they had done (Ex 32:4). After the return, and ever since, they have utterly forsaken idols.

wast called—as thine appropriate appellation (Isa 9:6).

from the womb—from the beginning of Israel's national existence (Isa 44:2).

Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; the same thing is repeated again and again, because this was so illustrious a proof of the infinite power and providence of the God of Israel, and so clear and full a discovery of the vanity of idols.

Yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened; Heb. yea, from then (of which phrase see the foregoing verse) thine ear was not opened, i.e. thou didst not hear, to wit, from me; I did not reveal these things unto thee; for so this phrase of opening the ear is understood, 1 Samuel 9:15 2 Samuel 7:27.

I knew that thou wouldest deal treacherously; I knew all these cautions were necessary to cure thine infidelity and apostacy.

Wast called, to wit, justly and truly; or, thou wast indeed such a person; to be called put for to be, as we have oft noted. Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not yea, from that time that thine ear was not opened,.... This, as Kimchi rightly observes, is said by way of reproof; showing that they were so far from knowing these things before the prophecy of them was given out, that when it was, they did not hearken or listen to them; they did not understand them, nor receive and embrace them, but turned a deaf ear to them; their hearts being hardened, and they given up blindness of mind; which was the case of the Jews, even when the Messiah, the antitype of Cyrus, came, and there was a more clear revelation of Gospel truths, as was foretold, Isaiah 6:9. To this sense is the Targum,

"yea, thou has not heard the words of the prophets; yea, thou hast not received the doctrine of the law; yea, thou hast not inclined thine ear to the words of the blessings and curses of the covenant I made with thee at Horeb:''

for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously: with God, and with one another, as they did; and were, as Jeremiah calls them, an assembly of treacherous men; and especially so they were in Christ's time, and to him; one of his own disciples treacherously betrayed him into the hands of the Jews, and they delivered him into the hands of the Gentiles to be crucified and slain; all which he knew before hand, John 6:64. And so the Lord knows all the wickedness and unfaithfulness of men, and of his own people, who are by nature children of wrath, as, others; yet this hindered not the designs of his grace, and the discoveries of his love to them, after expressed:

and wast called a transgressor from the womb; from the time of their civil birth, as a people and state, God was their Father that settled and established them; in this sense they were his children, whom he begot, brought up, and nourished; though they rebelled against him, and as soon almost as born, soon after they came out of Egypt, which were the days of their youth, of their infancy as a church and people; witness their murmurings and unbelief, their idolatry in making a golden calf, and worshipping it: and this is applicable to every particular person, and his natural birth, even to everyone of God's elect; who are all conceived in sin, and shapen in iniquity; go astray from God from the womb; and the imagination of whose heart is evil from their youth, and are continually transgressing the righteous law of God, and therefore justly deserve this name.

Yea, thou heardest not; yea, thou knewest not; yea, from that time that thy ear was not opened: for I knew that thou wouldest deal very treacherously, and wast called a transgressor from the {i} womb.

(i) From the time that I brought you of Egypt: for that deliverance was as the birth of the Church.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Yea, thou heardest not &c.] Better: Thou hast neither heard nor known, nor was thine ear opened beforehand. The verbal form for “was opened” is properly transitive. It is used, however, in ch. Isaiah 60:11 of gates standing open, and in Song of Solomon 7:13 of the opening of a flower. The LXX. reads “I opened,” and this gives a better sense, the assertion being not that Israel’s ear refused to open, but that Jehovah had not opened it, i.e. had not given a revelation. A similar conception of revelation, though with a different verb, in ch. Isaiah 22:14; 1 Samuel 9:15; with the same verb, in ch. Isaiah 50:5.

that thou wouldest deal very treacherously] Rather: that thou art utterly treacherous. a transgressor] a rebel. Such has been the character of Israel as revealed in its past history; it would have abused the knowledge if the predictions had been made earlier.Verse 8. - Thou heardest not... thou knewest not. Again we seem to hear the voice of complaint, as in vers. 1, 2, 4. Israel had not "ears to hear" to any purpose such highly spiritual truths as those of the coming section. They had not profited by what was taught concerning Christ in the Law and the Psalms. From that time that thine ear was not opened; rather, from that time thine ear hath not been open. "From that time" means "from of old," or "from the beginning." This third portion of the trilogy (Isaiah 46:1-13, Isaiah 47:1-15, 48) stands in the same relation to Isaiah 47:1-15, as Isaiah 46:3. to Isaiah 46:1-2. The prophecy is addressed to the great body of the captives. "Hear ye this, O house of Jacob, who are called by the name of Israel, and have flowed out of the waters of Judah, who swear by the name of Jehovah, and extol the God of Israel, not in truth and not in righteousness! For they call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel, Jehovah of hosts His name." The summons to hear is based upon the Israelitish nationality of those who are summoned, to which they still cling, and upon the relation in which they place themselves to the God of Israel. This gives to Jehovah the right to turn to them, and imposes upon them the duty to hearken to Him. The blame, inserted by the way, points at the same time to the reason for the address which follows, and to the form which it necessarily assumes. "The house of Jacob" is not all Israel, as the following words clearly show, but, as in Isaiah 46:3, the house of Judah, which shared in the honourable name of Israel, but have flowed out of the waters, i.e., the source of Judah. The summons, therefore, is addressed to the Judaean exiles in Babylon, and that inasmuch as they swear by the name of Jehovah, and remember the God of Israel with praise (hizkı̄r b' as in Psalm 20:8), though not in truth and not in righteousness (1 Kings 3:6; Zechariah 8:8), i.e., without their state of mind (cf., Isaiah 38:3; Jeremiah 32:41) or mode of action corresponding to their confession, so as to prove that it was sincerely and seriously meant. The praise bestowed upon the persons summoned, which is somewhat spoiled by this, is explained in Isaiah 48:2; they call themselves after the holy city (this title is applied to Jerusalem both here and in Isaiah 52:1, as well as in the books of Daniel and Nehemiah). We may easily supply here, that the holiness of the city laid an obligation upon its citizens to be holy in their character and conduct. They also relied upon the God of Israel, whose name is Jehovah Zebaoth; and therefore He would require of them the fullest confidence and deepest reverence.
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