Isaiah 57:14
And shall say, Cast you up, cast you up, prepare the way, take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) And shall say . . .—Better, And one said. The prophet hears, as it were, a voice behind him, bringing an oracle from Heaven, which renews the cry of the herald in Isaiah 40:3. The verb, cast up, points to the construction of the “highway” of a spiritual return, from which all impediments are removed.

57:13-21 The idols and their worshippers shall come to nothing; but those who trust in God's grace, shall be brought to the joys of heaven. With the Lord there is neither beginning of days, nor end of life, nor change of time. His name is holy, and all must know him as a holy God. He will have tender regard to those who bring their mind to their condition, and dread his wrath. He will make his abode with those whose hearts he has thus humbled, in order to revive and comfort them. When troubles last long, even good men are tempted to entertain hard thoughts of God. Therefore He will not contend for ever, for he will not forsake the work of his own hands, nor defeat the purchase of his Son's blood. Covetousness is a sin that particularly lays men under the Divine displeasure. See the sinfulness of sin. See also that troubles cannot reform men unless God's grace work in them. Peace shall be published, perfect peace. It is the fruit of preaching lips, and praying lips. Christ came and preached peace to Gentiles, as well as to the Jews; to after-ages, who were afar off in time, as well as to those of that age. But the wicked would not be healed by God's grace, therefore would not be healed by his comforts. Their ungoverned lusts and passions made them like the troubled sea. Also the terrors of conscience disturbed their enjoyments. God hath said it, and all the world cannot unsay it, That there is no peace to those who allow themselves in any sin. If we are recovered from such an awful state, it is only by the grace of God. And the influences of the Holy Spirit, and that new heart, from whence comes grateful praise, the fruit of our lips, are his gift. Salvation, with all its fruits, hopes, and comforts, is his work, and to him belongs all the glory. There is no peace for the wicked man; but let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and let him return to the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him, and to our God, and he will abundantly pardon.And shall say - Lowth, 'Then will I say.' Noyes, 'Men will say.' The word אמר 'âmar seems to be used here impersonally, and to mean, 'One shall say;' that is it shall be said. The Septuagint and the Syriac render it, 'They shall say.' The idea is, that the obstacles would be removed from the path of those who put their trust in God. The language is derived from the return from the exile, as if persons should go before them and should cry, 'Cast ye up;' or as if the cry of the people all along their journey should be, 'Remove the obstacles to their return.'

Cast ye up, cast ye up - That is, remove the obstacles; level the hills; take up any obstruction out of the way (compare the notes at Isaiah 35:8; Isaiah 40:3-4). This cry is often heard before the coming of a distinguished prince or conqueror in the East. Joseph Wolff stated, in a lecture in Philadelphia (Sept. 18, 1837), that, on entering Jerusalem from the west, in the direction of Gaza, the road, for a considerable distance from Jerusalem, was so full of stones, that it was impracticable to ride, and those who were entering the city were obliged to dismount. When the Pasha (Ibrahim, son of Mehemet Ali) approached Jerusalem, it was customary for a considerable number of laborers to go before him, and remove the stones from the way. This was done amidst a constant cry, 'Cast up, cast up the way; remove the stones, remove the stones.' And on a placard, or standard, it was written, 'the Pasha is coming;' and everywhere the cry was heard, 'the Pasha is coming, the Pasha is coming; cast up the way, remove the stones.'

14. shall say—The nominative is, "He that trusteth in Me" (Isa 57:13). The believing remnant shall have every obstacle to their return cleared out of the way, at the coming restoration of Israel, the antitype to the return from Babylon (Isa 35:8; 40:3, 4; 62:10, 11).

Cast … up—a high road before the returning Jews.

stumbling-block—Jesus had been so to the Jews, but will not be so then any longer (1Co 1:23); their prejudices shall then be taken out of the way.

And shall say, Heb. And he shall say; or, And one shall say. God will raise up a man who shall say these words, and that with authority and efficacy, so as the thing shall be done.

Cast ye up; make causeways, where it is needful, for their safe and easy passage.

Take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people; remove all things which may hinder them in their return. And shall say, cast ye up, cast ye up,.... A causeway, a highway, for the people of the Jews to return to their own land: this is either said by the Lord, as some supply it; or by the prophet, as Jarchi; or by him that putteth his trust in the Lord, as Kimchi; or rather by one, that is, the first of the living creatures, a set of Gospel ministers, that shall give to the angels, the Protestant princes and potentates, the seven last vials to pour out on the antichristian states, both Papal and Mahometan, and shall stir them up to do it; or the voice out of the temple, that shall order them to do their work; by which means way will be made for the return of the said people, Revelation 15:7,

prepare the way; of the true doctrine and worship of God: the way of truth and holiness, of faith and practice:

take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people; the superstition, idolatry, and impiety of the church of Rome, are the great stumblingblock in the way of the conversion of the Jews, and the means of hardening that people in their disbelief of Christ and the Christian religion; wherefore the fall of antichrist, and a reformation everywhere from all corruption in doctrine and worship, in principle and practice, which also may be intended by these expressions, will prepare the way for their embracing the Christian religion, and so for their return to their own land. The Targum is,

"and he shall say, teach and admonish, prepare (or direct) the heart of the people to the right way, remove the stumblingblock of the wicked out of the way of my people.''

{r} And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.

(r) God will say to Darius and Cyrus.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. And shall say] or, And it shall be said (R.V. marg.). The speaker is Jehovah (“my people”), not one of the angelic beings of the Prologue. The expression means simply “the word shall go forth.”

The image of the highway of salvation is taken from ch. Isaiah 40:3 (see also Isaiah 62:10), but seems to be applied somewhat differently. There it meant an actual highway for the return of the exiles through the desert; here, as the context shews, it is only a figure for the removal of spiritual obstacles to the redemption of Israel (Isaiah 57:17). Such a modification of the conception, although of course no proof of post-exilic authorship, is certainly very intelligible on that hypothesis. After the return of the first band of exiles it became apparent that the inauguration of the Messianic age was not to take the form of a triumphal march of Jehovah and His people across the desert to Canaan. The prophet’s bold image of the miraculous highway necessarily lost its primary physical significance, and could be retained only as an emblem of the preparation for that larger deliverance to which the hopes of the post-exilic community were eagerly directed. It is applied, in short, in precisely the same way as at a later time to the preparatory mission of the Baptist (Mark 1:3; John 1:23).

14–21. In striking contrast to the menacing tone of Isaiah 57:3 ff. is the impressive and elevated language in which the prophet now sets forth the gracious thoughts of Jehovah towards His erring but repentant people.Verse 14. - And shall say; rather, and one said. The prophet hears a voice, saying, Cast ye up, cast ye up; i.e. make a highway to the holy mountain by heaping up material (Isaiah 62:10); and, having made it, remove every obstruction from the path of my (righteous) people. The voice is, probably, an angelic one. The prophet now proceeds with perfects, like שׁפכתּ and העלית (addressed to the national community generally, the congregation regarded as a woman). The description is mostly retrospective. "Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set up thy bed; thou also ascendedst thither to offer slain offerings. And behind the door and the post thou didst place thy reminder: for thou uncoveredst away from me, and ascendedst; thou madest thy bed broad, and didst stipulate for thyself what they had to do: thou lovedst their lying with thee; thou sawest their manhood." The lovers that she sought for herself are the gods of the heathen. Upon lofty mountains, where they are generally worshipped, did she set up her bed, and did all that was needed to win their favour. The zikkârōn, i.e., the declaration that Jehovah is the only God, which the Israelites were to write upon the posts of their houses, and upon the entrances (Deuteronomy 6:9; Deuteronomy 11:20), for a constant reminder, she had put behind the door and post, that she might not be reminded, to her shame, of her unfaithfulness. That this explanation, which most of the commentators adopt, is the true one, is proved by the expression מאתּי כּי which follows, and according to which זכרון is something inconvenient, which might and was intended to remind them of Jehovah. מאתּי, away, far from me, as in Jeremiah 3:1, and like מתּחתּי, which is still more frequently used. It is unnecessary to take gillı̄th with ערותך understood (Ezekiel 23:18) as equivalent to "thou makest thyself naked," or with reference to the clothes equals ἀνασύρεις. משׁכּב is the common object of all three verbs, even of ותּעלי (with double metheg), after Genesis 49:4. On ותּכרת for ותּכרתי (cf., Jeremiah 3:5), see Ewald, 191, b. The explanation "thou didst bind," or "thou didst choose (some) of them to thyself," is contrary to the general usage, according to which ל כּרת signifies spondere (2 Chronicles 7:18), and (עם כּרת pacisci (1 Samuel 22:8), in both cases with בּרית to be supplied, so that מן (בּרית) כּרת would mean stipulari ab aliquo, i.e., to obtain from a person a solemn promise, with all the force of a covenant. What she stipulated from them was, either the wages of adultery, or the satisfaction of her wanton lust. What follows agrees with this; for it is there distinctly stated, that the lovers to whom she offered herself gratified her lust abundantly: adamasti concutibum eorum (mishkâb, cubile, e.g., Proverbs 7:17, and concubitus, e.g., Ezra 23:17), manum conspexisit. The Targum and Jewish commentators adopt this explanation, loco quem delegisti, or (postquam) locum delegisti. This also is apparently the meaning of the accents, and most of the more modern commentators have adopted it, taking יד in the sense of place or side. But this yields only a very lame and unmeaning thought. Doederlein conjectured that יד was employed here in the sense of ἰθύφαλλος; and this is the explanation adopted by Hitzig, Ewald, and others. The Arabic furnishes several analogies to this obscene use of the word; and by the side of Ezekiel 16:26 and Ezekiel 23:20, where the same thing is affirmed in even plainer language, there is nothing to astonish in the passage before us. The meaning is, that after the church of Jehovah had turned away from its God to the world and its pleasures, it took more and more delight in the pleasures afforded it by idolatry, and indulged its tastes to the full.
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