|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
43:22-28 Those who neglect to call upon God, are weary of him. The Master tired not the servants with his commands, but they tired him with disobedience. What were the riches of God's mercy toward them? I, even I, am he who yet blotteth out thy transgressions. This encourages us to repent, because there is forgiveness with God, and shows the freeness of Divine mercy. When God forgives, he forgets. It is not for any thing in us, but for his mercies' sake, his promise' sake; especially for his Son's sake. He is pleased to reckon it his honour. Would man justify himself before God? The attempt is desperate: our first father broke the covenant, and we all have copied his example. We have no reason to expect pardon, except we seek it by faith in Christ; and that is always attended by true repentance, and followed by newness of life, by hatred of sin, and love to God. Let us then put him in remembrance of the promises he has made to the penitent, and the satisfaction his Son has made for them. Plead these with him in wrestling for pardon; and declare these things, that thou mayest be justified freely by his grace. This is the only way, and it is a sure way to peace.
Verse 23. - Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings. If this reproach is regarded as addressed to captive Israel, who could not offer sacrifices, we must explain it by the analogy of the expression, "the calves of your lips" (Hosea 14:2). All prayer may be regarded as a sort of offering, and withholding it as withholding sacrifice. But it is possible that the prophet is not addressing captive Israel only, but carrying his thoughts back to the period preceding the Captivity, when there was a general neglect of God's service, and for a time the temple was given up to idol-worship (2 Kings 21:3-7; 2 Kings 23:4-14). The glance back at earlier times is apparent in vers. 27, 28. I have not caused thee to serve with an offering, etc.; rather, I put no heavy service on thee in respect of meat offering, neither made I thee to toil in respect of incense; i.e. "my positive requirements have been light - surely thou shouldst have complied with them." Meat offerings were to accompany every sacrifice, but were a small burthen. Incense was not required from any private person.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou hast not brought me the small cattle of thy burnt offerings,.... The kids and the lambs, which, according to the law, should have been brought for burnt offerings daily, morning and evening; and much less did they bring the larger cattle of burnt offerings, as oxen and bullocks. The Targum and Vulgate Latin render it, "the rams of thy burnt offerings"; the Septuagint version, "the sheep"; and the Syriac and Arabic versions, "the lambs"; and these were not brought to him, but to their idols; or, however, were not brought in a right way and manner, and from right principles, and with right views. Kimchi thinks this refers to the times of Ahaz, when the service of God ceased in the temple, and idolatry was practised at Jerusalem but it seems to respect later times, nearer the times of Christ; see Malachi 1:13,
neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices; what sacrifices they did offer were not offered to God, but to their idols; or they were such as were not according to the law of God; or they were not offered up in the faith of the Messiah, nor with a true spirit of devotion, and with a sincere view to the glory of God, and in the exercise of repentance for sins; but rather as an atonement for them, and that they might go on in them with ease of mind; see Isaiah 1:11,
I have not caused thee to serve with an offering; the "minchah", a meat offering or bread offering, which was a freewill offering, and they were not obliged to it; it was at their own option whether they would bring it or not, and which was not very chargeable to them:
nor wearied thee with incense; or frankincense, which was put upon the meat or bread offering; see Leviticus 2:1. Some understand this of all offerings in general, that they were not so many that were commanded them, as to be a burden to them; nor so expensive but that they were able to bear the charge of them, considering the fruitfulness of the land of Canaan, and especially the numerous and costly sacrifices of Heathen idolaters: and others think it has reference to the time of Israel's coming out of Egypt, and the covenant of God with them, when no mention was made of sacrifices, nor were they enjoined them, Jeremiah 7:21.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
23. small cattle—rather, the "lamb" or "kid," required by the law to be daily offered to God (Ex 29:38; Nu 28:3).
sacrifices—offered any way; whereas the Hebrew for "holocaust," or "burnt offering," denotes that which ascends as an offering consumed by fire.
I have not caused thee to serve—that is, to render the the service of a slave (Mt 11:30; Ro 8:15; 1Jo 4:18; 5:3).
offering—bloodless (Le 2:1, 2).
wearied—antithetical to Isa 43:22, "Thou hast been weary of Me." Though God in the law required such offerings, yet not so as to "weary" the worshipper, or to exact them in cases where, as in the Babylonish captivity, they were physically unable to render them; God did not require them, save in subordination to the higher moral duties (Ps 50:8-14; 51:16, 17; Mic 6:3, 6-8).
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