|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
29:9-16 The security of sinners in sinful ways, is cause for lamentation and wonder. The learned men, through prejudice, said that the Divine prophecies were obscure; and the poor urged their want of learning. The Bible is a sealed book to every man, learned or unlearned, till he begins to study it with a simple heart and a teachable spirit, that he may thence learn the truth and the will of God. To worship God, is to approach him. And if the heart be full of his love and fear, out of the abundance of it the mouth will speak; but there are many whose religion is lip-labour only. When they pretend to be speaking to God, they are thinking of a thousand foolish things. They worship the God of Israel according to their own devices. Numbers are only formal in worship. And their religion is only to comply with custom, and to serve their own interest. But the wanderings of mind, and defects in devotion, which are the believer's burden, are very different from the withdrawing of the heart from God, so severely blamed. And those who make religion no more than a pretence, to serve a turn, deceive themselves. And as those that quarrel with God, so those that think to conceal themselves from him, in effect charge him with folly. But all their perverse conduct shall be entirely done away.
Verse 10. - The Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep. "Sleep," in Scripture, is sometimes "rest," "repose from trouble" ("So he giveth his beloved sleep," Psalm 128:2). But here it is "spiritual deadness and impassiveness" - an inability to appreciate, or even to understand, spiritual warnings. The Jews of Isaiah's time were sunk in a spiritual lethargy, from which he vainly endeavored to arouse them. This spiritual lethargy is here said to have been "poured out upon them by Jehovah;" but we are not to suppose that there was anything exceptional in their treatment - "because they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind" (Romans 1:28), as he does men generally. Hath closed your eyes (comp. Isaiah 6:10; and see also Matthew 12:13; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; John 12:40; John 11:8, etc.). The prophets. As the text stands, the proper translation would be, "For the Lord hath poured out upon you the spirit of deep sleep, and hath closed your eyes (the prophets), and your heads (the seers) hath he covered." But it is reasonably conjectured that the expressions, "the prophets," "the seers," are glosses, which have crept from the margin into the text (Eichhorn, Koppe, Cheyne). If so, they are probably mistaken glosses, the allusion being, not to particular classes, but to the actual "heads" and "eyes" of individual Hebrews, which were "closed" and "covered" by the judicial action of the Almighty. In the East a covering is often drawn over the head during sleep.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the Lord hath poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep,.... Gave them up to a stupid frame of spirit; to a reprobate mind, a mind void of judgment and sense; to judicial blindness and hardness of heart: this was remarkably fulfilled in the Jews, in the times of Christ and his apostles, who choosing darkness rather than the light of the Gospel, which shone around them, were righteously given up to such a temper of mind; and to nothing else can be imputed their obstinate rejection of the Messiah, against the most glaring light and evidence. The Apostle Paul produces this passage, in proof of that blindness that had happened unto them in his time, Romans 11:7,
and hath closed your eyes; that is, the eyes of their understandings, so that they could not see the characters of the Messiah, and the fulfilment of prophecies in Jesus of Nazareth; nor the danger they were in, nor the ruin that was coming upon their nation, nor even when it was come, still flattering themselves with safety and deliverance:
the prophets and your rulers, the seers hath he covered; the eyes of them, as before; not only the common people were blinded, but even the Scribes and Pharisees, the elders of the people, their ecclesiastical rulers, who pretended to be seers, and to know more than others; even "for judgment", for the judicial blindness and hardness of these Christ "came, that they which see might be made blind", John 9:39. The words may be rendered, "your heads, the seers, hath he covered" (t); and there may be an allusion to the covering of the head with a veil, an emblem of that veil of ignorance and infidelity which still remains upon the Jews. The Targum renders it,
"the prophets, and the Scribes, and the teachers that teach the law.''
(t) "et capita vestra, videntes, operuit", Montanus. So Cocceius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. Jehovah gives them up judicially to their own hardness of heart (compare Zec 14:13). Quoted by Paul, with variations from the Septuagint, Ro 11:8. See Isa 6:10; Ps 69:23.
eyes; the prophets, &c.—rather, "hath closed your eyes, the prophets; and your heads (Margin; see also Isa 3:2), the seers, He hath covered." The Orientals cover the head to sleep; thus "covered" is parallel to "closed your eyes" (Jud 4:19). Covering the face was also preparatory to execution (Es 7:8). This cannot apply to the time when Isaiah himself prophesied, but to subsequent times.
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