Isaiah 65:7
Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together, said the LORD, which have burned incense on the mountains, and blasphemed me on the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Which have burned incense upon the mountains . . .—The old inveterate sin of the worship of high places (comp. Isaiah 57:7; Hosea 4:13; Ezekiel 6:13; 2Kings 15:4; 2Kings 15:35). The worship paid there to other gods, or nominally to Jehovah in a way which He had forbidden, was practically a “blasphemy” or “reproach” against Him.

Their former work.—Better, I will measure their work first into their bosoms. That was, as it were, the primary duty of the Supreme Ruler.

Isaiah 65:7. Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together — Yea, and when I reckon with them, I will punish them, not only for their personal sins, but for the sins of their parents, which they have made their own, by imitation. Which have burned incense upon the mountains — There performing to idols that homage which I commanded them to pay unto me; or, if any of them pretend it was to me they performed that service, though before an image, yet it was in a way and place in which I expressly forbid them to worship me, having appointed the place where, and the manner how, I would be worshipped. And blasphemed me upon the hills — Dishonoured instead of glorifying me, by worshipping me in a way which I had not appointed, and which they learned only from idolaters. Therefore will I measure their former work, &c. — I will not only punish the late sins that they have committed, but the former sins of this kind, which those that went before did practise, and they have continued in.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.Your iniquities - Their idolatry and their forsaking God, and their arts of necromancy.

And the iniquities of your fathers together - The consequences of your own sins, and of the long defection of the nation from virtue and pure religion, shall come rushing upon you like accumulated floods. This is in accordance with the Scripture doctrine everywhere, that the consequences of the sins of ancestors pass over and visit their posterity (see Exodus 20:5; Exodus 34:7; Numbers 14:18; Job 21:19; Luke 11:50-51; the notes at Romans 5:19). The case here was, that the nation had been characteristically prone to wander from God, and to fall into idolatry. Crime had thus been accumulating, like pent-up waters, for ages, and now it swept away every barrier. So crime often accumulates in a nation. Age after age rolls on, and it is unpunished, until it breaks over every obstacle, and all that is valuable and happy is swept suddenly away.

Which have burnt incense upon the mountains - (See the notes at Isaiah 65:3).

And blasphemed me upon the hills - That is, they have dishonored me by worshipping idols, and by denying me in that public manner. Idols were usually worshipped on high places.

Will I measure their former work - I will recompense them; I will pour the reward of their work or of their doings into their bosom.

7. Their sin had been accumulating from age to age until God at last repaid it in full.

mountains—(Isa 57:7; Eze 18:6; 20:27, 28; Ho 4:13).

their—"Your" had preceded. From speaking to, He speaks of them; this implies growing alienation from them and greater distance.

work—the full recompense of their work (so Isa 49:4).

Yea, and when I reckon with them, I will punish them, not only for their personal sins, but for the sins of their parents, which they have testified their approbation of by continuing in them, and so made them their own, by an apish, sinful imitation.

Which have burnt incense upon the mountains: their fathers burnt incense upon the mountains, there performing to idols that homage which I obliged them to pay unto me; or if any of them pretend it was to me, though before an image, yet it was in a way which I directed them not, who had appointed them the place where I would be worshipped.

And blasphemed me upon the hills; so as that, instead of blessing, they indeed blasphemed me upon the hills; instead of speaking well, they spake ill of my name, worshipping me in a way which I had not appointed, and for which they only took their copy from idolaters.

Therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom; therefore I will punish them, and that justly, as he that rendereth another his due by

measure, giving measure for measure, and weight for weight; only they must expect that I should not only punish the late sins that have committed of this nature, but the former sins of this kind which those in this nation, that went before this present generation, did commit, and the present age hath continued in the guilt of. Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers together (saith the Lord),.... That is, the punishment both of the one and of the other; these being alike, and continued from father to son, and approved of, and committed by one generation after another, till the measure was filled up; and then the recompence of reward is given for all of them together at once: which have burnt incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills; where they offered incense and other sacrifices to idols, which was interpreted by the Lord as a blaspheming and reproaching of him; see Isaiah 57:7,

therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom; punish them for their former sins as well as their latter ones, and both together.

Your iniquities, and the iniquities of your fathers {l} together, saith the LORD, who have burned incense upon the mountains, and blasphemed me upon the hills: therefore will I measure their former work into their bosom.

(l) Will be both punished together: and this declares how the children are punished for their fathers faults, that is, when the same faults or like are found in them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. Your iniquities … your fathers] The change from 3rd to 2nd pers. is extremely awkward, unless the verse could be detached from the preceding and regarded (down to “hills”) as an exclamation. This is far from natural; the better construction is that of the E.V. which makes “iniquities” the obj. to “recompense.” It is probably necessary (with the LXX.) to read “their” in both cases. The iniquities of the fathers are indicated in the following words.

which have burnt incense (have sacrificed,—see on Isaiah 1:13) upon the mountains] The reference is obviously to the illegal worship of the “high places” or local sanctuaries, which is denounced in similar terms in Hosea 4:13; Ezekiel 6:13; cf. Ezekiel 18:6 (if the text be right,—see Davidson on the passage in Camb. Bible for Schools). That this form of idolatry was also practised by those here spoken of is in every way probable (see ch. Isaiah 57:7); on the other hand their ancestors, the pre-exilic Israelites, could not be charged with the more heinous offences described in Isaiah 65:3-5. These last, however, were the outcome of the same idolatrous tendency which formerly shewed itself in the worship at the high places, and the judgement now about to descend on the children is called forth both by their own guilt and by that of their fathers.

therefore will I measure their former work] Rather: and I will first measure their reward. The word for “former” (rí’shônâh) if an adj., ought to have the art., and moreover the thought expressed by this translation would be unsuitable, since it passes by in silence the recompense due to the sins of the children themselves. It must therefore be rendered as an adverb, as in Jeremiah 16:18 (“and first I will recompense their iniquity” &c.). So R.V.

into their bosom] as Isaiah 65:6.Verse 7. - Your iniquities. This is a new sentence, not a continuation of ver. 6, which should be closed by a full stop. It is an incomplete sentence, needing for its completion the repetition of the verb shillamti, "I will recompense." Which have burned incense upon the mountains (see 2 Kings 17:11; Hosea 4:13; Ezekiel 6:13; and comp. Isaiah 57:7). And blasphemed me; rather, reproached me (see Isaiah 37:4, 17, 23, 24). Therefore will I measure their former work; rather, therefore will r, first of all, measure their work into their bosom. The expression, "first of all," prepares the way for the encouraging promises of vers. 8-10. After the people have poured out their heart before Jehovah, He announces what they may expect from Him. But instead of commencing with a promise, as we might anticipate after the foregoing prayer, He begins with reproach and threatening; for although the penitential portion of the community had included the whole nation in their prayer, it was destruction, and not deliverance, which awaited one portion of the nation, and that portion was the greater one. The great mass were in that state of "sin unto death" which defies all intercession (1 John 5:16), because they had so scornfully and obstinately resisted the grace which had been so long and so incessantly offered to them. "I was discernible to those who did not inquire, discoverable by those who did not seek me. I said, 'Here am I, here am I,' to a nation where my name was not called. I spread out my hands all the day to a refractory people, who walked in the way that was not good, after their own thoughts." The lxx (A) render Isaiah 65:1, "I was found by those who did not seek me, I became manifest to those who did not ask for me" (B reverses the order); and in Romans 10:20-21, Paul refers Isaiah 65:1 to the Gentiles, and Isaiah 65:2 to Israel. The former, to whom He has hitherto been strange, enter into fellowship with Him; whilst the latter, to whom He has constantly offered Himself, thrust Him away, and lose His fellowship. Luther accordingly adopts this rendering: "I shall be sought by those who did not ask for me, I shall be found by those who did not seek me. And to the heathen who did not call upon my name, I say, Here am I, here am I." Zwingli, again, observes on Isaiah 65:1, "This is an irresistible testimony to the adoption of the Gentiles." Calvin also follows the apostle's exposition, and observes, that "Paul argues boldly for the calling of the Gentiles on the ground of this passage, and says that Isaiah dared to proclaim and assert that the Gentiles had been called by God, because he announced a greater thing, and announced it more clearly than the reason of those times would bear." Of all the Jewish expositors, where is only one, viz., Gecatilia, who refers v. 1 to the Gentiles; and of all the Christina expositors of modern times, there is only one, viz., Hendewerk, who interprets it in this way, without having been influenced by the quotation made by Paul. Hofman, however, and Stier, feel obliged to follow the apostle's exposition, and endeavour to vindicate it. But we have no sympathy with any such untenable efforts to save the apostle's honour. In Romans 9:25-26, he also quotes Hosea 2:23 and Hosea 2:1 in support of the calling of the Gentiles; whereas he could not have failed to know, that it is the restoration of Israel to favour which is alluded to there. He merely appeals to Hosea 2 in support of the New Testament fact of the calling of the Gentiles, so far as it is in these words of the Old Testament prophet that the fact is most adequately expressed. And according to 1 Peter 2:10, Peter received the same impression from Hosea's words.

But with the passage before us it is very different. The apostle shows, by the way in which he applies the Scripture, how he depended in this instance upon the Septuagint translation, which was in his own hands and those of his readers also, and by which the allusion to the Gentiles is naturally suggested, even if not actually demanded. And we may also assume that the apostle himself understood the Hebrew text, with which he, the pupil of Rabban Gamaliel, was of course well acquainted, in the same sense, viz., as relating to the calling of the Gentiles, without being therefore legally bound to adopt the same interpretation. The interchange of גּוי (cf., Isaiah 55:5) and עם; the attribute בשׁים קרא לא, which applies to heathen, and heathen only; the possibility of interpreting Isaiah 65:1-2, in harmony with the context both before and after, if Isaiah 65:1 be taken as referring to the Gentiles, on the supposition that Jehovah is here contrasting His success with the Gentiles and His failure with Israel: all these certainly throw weight into the scale. Nevertheless they are not decisive, if we look at the Hebrew alone, apart altogether from the lxx. For nidrashtı̄ does not mean "I have become manifest;" but, regarded as the so-called niphal tolerativum (according to Ezekiel 14:3; Ezekiel 20:3, Ezekiel 20:31; Ezekiel 36:37), "I permitted myself to be explored or found out;" and consequently נמצאתי, according to Isaiah 55:6, "I let myself be found." And so explained, Isaiah 65:1 stands in a parallel relation to Isaiah 55:6 : Jehovah was searchable, was discoverable (cf., Zephaniah 1:6) to those who asked no questions, and did not seek Him (ללוא equals לא לאשׁר, Ges. 123, 3), i.e., He displayed to Israel the fulness of His nature and the possibility of His fellowship, although they did not bestir themselves or trouble themselves in the least about Him - a view which is confirmed by the fact that Isaiah 65:1 merely refers to offers made to them, and not to results of any kind. Israel, however, is called בשׁמי אל־קרא גוי, not as a nation that was not called by Jehovah's name (which would be expressed by נקרא, Isaiah 43:7; cf., מקראי, κλητός μου, Isaiah 48:12), but as a nation where (supply 'ăsher) Jehovah's name was not invoked (lxx "who called not upon my name"), and therefore as a thoroughly heathenish nation; for which reason we have gōi (lxx ἔθνος) here, and not ‛am (lxx λαός). Israel was estranged from Him, just like the heathen; but He still turned towards them with infinite patience, and (as is added in Isaiah 65:2) with ever open arms of love. He spread out His hands (as a man does to draw another towards him to embrace him) all the day (i.e., continually, cf., Isaiah 28:24) towards an obstinate people, who walked in the way that was not good (cf., Psalm 36:5; Proverbs 16:29; here with the article, which could not be repeated with the adjective, because of the לא), behind their own thoughts. That which led them, and which they followed, was not the will of God, but selfish views and purposes, according to their won hearts' lusts; and yet Jehovah did not let them alone, but they were the constant thought and object of His love, which was ever seeking, alluring, and longing for their salvation.

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