|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
1:1-9 Isaiah signifies, The salvation of the Lord; a very suitable name for this prophet, who prophesies so much of Jesus the Saviour, and his salvation. God's professing people did not know or consider that they owed their lives and comforts to God's fatherly care and kindness. How many are very careless in the affairs of their souls! Not considering what we do know in religion, does us as much harm, as ignorance of what we should know. The wickedness was universal. Here is a comparison taken from a sick and diseased body. The distemper threatens to be mortal. From the sole of the foot even to the head; from the meanest peasant to the greatest peer, there is no soundness, no good principle, no religion, for that is the health of the soul. Nothing but guilt and corruption; the sad effects of Adam's fall. This passage declares the total depravity of human nature. While sin remains unrepented, nothing is done toward healing these wounds, and preventing fatal effects. Jerusalem was exposed and unprotected, like the huts or sheds built up to guard ripening fruits. These are still to be seen in the East, where fruits form a large part of the summer food of the people. But the Lord had a small remnant of pious servants at Jerusalem. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed. The evil nature is in every one of us; only Jesus and his sanctifying Spirit can restore us to spiritual health.
Verse 3. - The ox... the ass. The ox and the ass are probably selected as the least intelligent of domesticated animals (so Jerome, Rosenmüller, and Gesenius). Yet even they recognize their owner or master. Jeremiah contrasts the brutish stupidity of Israel with the wise instinct of animals that have not been domesticated, as the stork, the turtle-dove, the crane, and the swallow (Jeremiah 8:7). Israel doth not know; i.e. does not acknowledge its Master and Owner, pays him no respect, does not recognize him as either Owner or Master. My people. Compare the formula, so frequent in Exodus, "Let my people go" (Exodus 7:16; 8:1, 20; 9:1, etc.). Israel was God's people by election (Genesis 15:13), by covenant (Exodus 19:5-8; Exodus 24:3-8), by pardoning grace (Exodus 33:12-17). Despite all their backslidings, he had not yet cast them off. They are still "his people" in Isaiah from first to last, standing in contrast with "the nations, "or "the Gentiles, "among whom they are to be "set as a sign" (Isaiah 66:19). Doth net consider. Gesenius translates, "doth not consider thereof;" Cheyne, "is without understanding." Bishop Lowth retains the words of the Authorized Version. The meaning would seem to be, "My people doth not consider me, cloth not reflect on my relation to them as Lord and Master."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The ox knoweth his owner,.... Knows his voice, when he calls him, and follows him where he leads him, whether to plough in the field, or feed in the meadows;
and the ass his masters crib, or "manger"; where he is fed, and to which he goes when he wants food, and at the usual times. Gussetius (w) interprets the words; the ass knows the floor where he treads out the corn, and willingly goes to it, though it is to labour, as well as to eat; and so puts Israel to shame, who were weary of the worship of God in the temple, where spiritual food was provided for them, but chose not to go for it, because of labour there.
But Israel doth not know; his Maker and Owner, his King, Lord, and Master, his Father, Saviour, and Redeemer; he does not own and acknowledge him, but rejects him; see John 1:10.
My people doth not consider; the Jews, who were the people of God by profession, did not stir themselves up to consider, nor make use of means of knowing and understanding, divine and spiritual things, as the word used (x) signifies; they would not attend to the word and ordinances, which answer to the crib or manger; they would not hear nor regard the ministry of the word by Christ and his apostles, nor suffer others, but hindered them as much as in them lay; see Matthew 23:13. The Targum is,
"Israel does not learn to know my fear, my people do not understand to turn to my law.''
In like manner the more than brutal stupidity of this people is exposed in Jeremiah 8:7.
(w) Comment. Ling. Ebr. p. 13, 14. (x) a "intellexit". So Gussetius says it signifies a spontaneous application, by which you stir up yourself to understand; which is an action leading to wisdom, and without which no man can be wise, Comment. Ling. Ebr. p. 121.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. (Jer 8:7).
crib—the stall where it is fed (Pr 14:4). Spiritually the word and ordinances.
Israel—The whole nation, Judah as well as Israel, in the restricted sense. God regards His covenant-people in their designed unity.
not know—namely, his Owner, as the parallelism requires; that is, not recognize Him as such (Ex 19:5, equivalent to "my people," Joh 1:10, 11).
consider—attend to his Master (Isa 41:8), notwithstanding the spiritual food which He provides (answering to "crib" in the parallel clause).
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