Isaiah 65:2
I have spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, which walks in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(2) I have spread out my hands . . .—Here, of course, the words were meant for Israel, as St. Paul applies them. It may not be without interest to note the fact that the words stand over the portal of the Church of Santa Maria, which stands at the entrance of the Ghetto at Rome. Of how many churches at Rome and elsewhere might it not be said, “Thou art the man,” “The beam is in thine own eye”?

Isaiah 65:2. I have spread out my hands — This is applied to the Jews, Romans 10:21. I have stretched out my hands, I have used all means to reduce them; I have stretched out the hands of a passionate orator, to persuade them; of a liberal benefactor, to load them with my benefits: this I have done continually, in the whole course of my providence with them. To a rebellious people — Yet they are a rebellious people. St. Paul expounds it by λαον απειθουντα και αντιλεγοντα, A people not persuaded, not believing, or, not obeying; but gainsaying, or, contradicting the word and will of God. Which walketh in a way that is not good — Less is expressed than is intended: the meaning is, in a way that is very bad. After their own thoughts — Or, as it is elsewhere expressed, after the imaginations of their hearts; a usual phrase to describe sin, especially in the matter of God’s worship. The Prophet Jeremiah expresses sin in this manner many times.65:1-7 The Gentiles came to seek God, and find him, because they were first sought and found of him. Often he meets some thoughtless trifler or profligate opposer, and says to him, Behold me; and a speedy change takes place. All the gospel day, Christ waited to be gracious. The Jews were bidden, but would not come. It is not without cause they are rejected of God. They would do what most pleased them. They grieved, they vexed the Holy Spirit. They forsook God's temple, and sacrificed in groves. They cared not for the distinction between clean and unclean meats, before it was taken away by the gospel. Perhaps this is put for all forbidden pleasures, and all that is thought to be gotten by sin, that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Christ denounced many woes against the pride and hypocrisy of the Jews. The proof against them is plain. And let us watch against pride and self-preference, remembering that every sin, and the most secret thoughts of man's heart, are known and will be judged by God.I have spread out my hands - To spread out the hands is an action denoting invitation or entreaty Proverbs 1:24. The sense is, that God had invited the Jews constantly to partake of his favors, but they had been rebellious, and had rejected his offers.

All the day - I have not ceased to do it. The Chaldee renders this, 'I sent my prophets all the day to a rebellious people.'

Unto a rebellious people - (See the notes at Isaiah 1:2). Paul renders this, Πρὸς λαον ἀπειθοῦντα καὶ ἀντιλέγοντα Pros laon apeithounta kai antilegonta - 'Unto a disobedient and gainsaying people;' but the sense is substantially preserved.

Which walketh - In what way they did this, the prophet specifies in the following verse. This is the general reason why he had rejected them, and why he had resolved to make the offer of salvation to the Gentiles. This, at first, was a reason for the calamities which God had brought upon the nation in the suffering of the exile, but it also contains a general principle of which that was only one specimen. They had been rebellious, and God had brought this calamity upon them. It would be also true in future times, that he would reject them and offer salvation to the pagan world, and would be found by those who had never sought for him or called on his name.

2. spread out … hands—inviting them earnestly (Pr 1:24).

all … day—continually, late and early (Jer 7:13).

rebellious people—Israel, whose rebellion was the occasion of God's turning to the Gentiles (Ro 11:11, 12, 15).

way … not good—that is, the very reverse of good, very bad (Eze 36:31).

I have spread out my hands; applied to the Jews, Romans 10:21, I have stretched out my hands; that is, I have used all probable means to reduce them, I have stretched out the hands of a passionate orator to persuade them, of a tender mother to protect and defend them, of a liberal benefactor to lead them with my benefits; this I have done continually in the whole course of my providence with them, yet they are a rebellious people. Paul expounded it by, apeiyounta kai antigegonta, a people not persuaded, not believing, but contradicting the will of God.

Which walketh in a way that was not good; that term, is not good, often signifies what is very bad: see 1 Samuel 2:21 Proverbs 24:23 28:21 Psalm 36:4. Though all sins be not equal, yet what is not good is bad.

After their own thoughts: what is here called after their own thoughts, is elsewhere called a walking after the imaginations of their hearts; an ordinary phrase, by which sins (especially sins in the matter of the worship of God) are expressed. Eight times, in the prophet Jeremiah sinning is thus expressed, Jeremiah 3:17 7:24 9:14 11:8 13:10 16:12 18:12 23:17; so also Deu 29:19. Errors in matter of worship are ordinarily thus expressed, certainly to let us know that all worship must be according to God’s revealed will, and of such errors this text seemeth, by what followeth, to speak; though indeed the reason of all sin is men’s fondness of their own imaginations in opposition to God’s revealed will, whence it is that self-denial is made the law of a discipleship to Christ. I have spread out mine hands all the day unto a rebellious people,.... Meaning Israel, as the apostle explains it, Romans 10:21, whom he calls a "disobedient and gainsaying people"; who believed not in Christ, obeyed not his Gospel, but contradicted and blasphemed it; and were rebellious against him, would not have him to reign over them, nor submit to his ordinances; though he most affectionately invited them, earnestly pressed and urged them, and that daily and frequently, to attend his ministry; and used all human methods to gain audience of them, and acceptance with them, but all to no purpose; see Matthew 23:37, they remained obstinate and inflexible, and so they did under the ministry of his apostles; for, notwithstanding their ill usage of him, he ordered the Gospel to be first preached to them, as it was, till they treated it with such indignity and contempt, that the apostles turned away from them to the Gentiles, as they were bid; see Acts 13:46. The Targum is,

"I sent my prophets every day, &c.''

which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts; in their own way, of their own devising, choosing, and approving, and which was a wicked one; and after their own imaginations and inventions; after the traditions of the elders the doctrines and commandments of men; and after a righteousness of their own, which they sought by the works of the law, and so submitted not to, but rejected the righteousness of Christ.

I have {b} spread out my hands all the day to a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that is not good, after their own {c} thoughts;

(b) He shows the reason for the rejection of the Jews, because they would not obey him or any admonition of his prophets, by whom he called them continually and stretch out his hand to draw them.

(c) He shows that to delight in our own fantasies is the declining from God and the beginning of all superstitions and idolatry.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
2. spread out mine hands] The attitude of supplication; cf. Proverbs 1:24.

a rebellious (refractory, Hosea 4:16) people] LXX. has; λαὸν ἀπειθοῦντα καὶ ἀντιλέγοντα; and so the citation Romans 10:21.

a way that was not good] “A not-good way” (litotes). The same phrase in Psalm 36:4; Proverbs 16:29.

The people referred to here are necessarily the same as those described in the sequel. If these be the paganised Israelites of the North who had not shared the Captivity the two verses reveal an important fact not otherwise recorded. The prophetic representatives of Jehovah in the post-exilic community must, in that case, have sought to win over these outcasts to the pure worship of Jehovah, and the acceptance of the Law. This might appear to be inconsistent with what is told in Ezra 4:1-3, where the friendly advances of the Samaritans are met with a stern refusal on the part of the Jews. But the contradiction is perhaps only apparent. The Jewish leaders might very well have declined the co-operation of these people while they maintained their impure religion, and at the same time been eager to incorporate them in the Theocracy on the terms offered to foreigners in ch. Isaiah 56:6 f.

In Romans 10:20-21, St Paul quotes parts of these verses, applying Isaiah 65:1 to the conversion of the Gentiles and Isaiah 65:2 to the unbelief of Israel. Possibly this exegesis may have been traditional in the Apostle’s time (Delitzsch), although the primary sense of the passage is that the same persons are referred to throughout.Verse 2. - I have spread out my hands. Not exactly in prayer, but in expostulation (comp. Proverbs 1:24, "I have stretched out my hand," where the verb in the Hebrew is the same). All the day; or, all day long, as in Romans 10:21; i.e. continually, day after day, for years - nay, for centuries. A rebellions people (comp. Isaiah 30:1; and see also Isaiah 1:4, 23; Hosea 4:16; Jeremiah 5:23; Jeremiah 6:28). The "rebellions people" ('am sorer)is undoubtedly Israel. In a way that was not good; rather, in the way that is not good; i.e. the "way of sinners" (Psalm 1:1) - the "way that leadeth to destruction" (Matthew 7:13). (8-9)

This was the case when the measure of Israel's sins had become full. They were carried into exile, where they sank deeper and deeper. The great mass of the people proved themselves to be really massa perdita, and perished among the heathen. But there were some, though a vanishingly small number, who humbled themselves under the mighty hand of God, and, when redemption could not be far off, wrestled in such prayers as these, that the nation might share it in its entirety, and if possible not one be left behind. With ועתּה the existing state of sin and punishment is placed among the things of the past, and the petition presented that the present moment of prayer may have all the significance of a turning-point in their history. "And now, O Jehovah, Thou art our Father: we are the clay, and Thou our Maker; and we are all the work of Thy hand. Be not extremely angry, O Jehovah, and remember not the transgression for ever! Behold, consider, we beseech Thee, we are all Thy people." The state of things must change at last; for Israel is an image made by Jehovah; yea, more than this, Jehovah is the begetter of Israel, and loves Israel not merely as a sculptor, but as a father (compare Isaiah 45:9-10, and the unquestionable passage of Isaiah in Isaiah 29:16). Let Him then not be angry עד־מאד, "to the utmost measure" (cf., Psalm 119:8), or if we paraphrase it according to the radical meaning of מד, "till the weight becomes intolerable." Let Him not keep in mind the guilt for ever, to punish it; but, in consideration of the fact that Israel is the nation of His choice, let mercy take the place of justice. הן strengthens the petition in its own way (see Genesis 30:34), just as נא does; and הבּיט signifies here, as elsewhere, to fix the eye upon anything. The object, in this instance, is the existing fact expressed in "we are all Thy people." Hitzig is correct in regarding the repetition of "all of us" in this prayer as significant. The object throughout is to entreat that the whole nation may participate in the inheritance of the coming salvation, in order that the exodus from Babylonia may resemble the exodus from Egypt.

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