|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
58:3-12 A fast is a day to afflict the soul; if it does not express true sorrow for sin, and does not promote the putting away of sin, it is not a fast. These professors had shown sorrow on stated or occasioned fasts. But they indulged pride, covetousness, and malignant passions. To be liberal and merciful is more acceptable to God than mere fasting, which, without them, is vain and hypocritical. Many who seem humble in God's house, are hard at home, and harass their families. But no man's faith justifies, which does not work by love. Yet persons, families, neighbourhoods, churches, or nations, show repentance and sorrow for sin, by keeping a fast sincerely, and, from right motives, repenting, and doing good works. The heavy yoke of sin and oppression must be removed. As sin and sorrow dry the bones and weaken the strongest human constitution; so the duties of kindness and charity strengthen and refresh both body and mind. Those who do justly and love mercy, shall have the comfort, even in this world. Good works will bring the blessing of God, provided they are done from love to God and man, and wrought in the soul by the Holy Spirit.
Verse 12. - They that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places. Thy descendants shall restore all that has fallen into decay in Israel, whether it be cities or customs. They shall restore "breaches" of every kind, and bring back the old paths for thee to walk in. The restoration of the ruined cities of Judah may be glanced at, but is far from exhausting the writer's meaning (comp. Isaiah 61:4).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And they that shall be of thee shall build the old waste places,.... As the cities in Israel and Judea, which had been long laid waste by the Assyrians and Chaldeans, were rebuilt by those of the Jewish nation, who returned from the captivity of Babylon, to which there is at least an allusion; and as the church of God, the tabernacle of David, which was fallen down, and had lain long in ruins, through corruptions in doctrine and worship, to the times of Christ, when the apostles, who were of the Jews, those wise masterbuilders, were instruments of raising it up again, and repairing its ruins: so, in the latter day, "the waste places of the world" (n), as the words may be rendered, shall be built by a set of men, that shall be of the church of God, who shall be instruments in his hand of converting many souls, and so of peopling it with Christians; such places as before were desolate, where before there was no preaching of the word, no administration of ordinances, nor any Gospel churches:
thou shalt raise up the foundations of many generations; either such foundations as have been razed up, and lay so for ages past; or raise up such as shall continue for generations to come. It may allude to the raising the foundations of the city and temple of Jerusalem; but rather refers to the founding of churches in Gospel times, which, as it was done in the first times of it by the apostles in the Gentile world, so shall be again in the latter day, which will continue for many ages:
and thou shalt be called the repairer of the breach, and the restorer of paths to dwell in; that is, the church and her builders, that shall be of her, shall be so called; the Jews and Gentiles will be converted in great numbers, and coalesce in the same Gospel church state, and so the breach between them will be repaired. Christians of various denominations, who now break off and separate one from another, will be of the same sentiment and judgment in doctrine and discipline; they shall see eye to eye, and cement together, and all breaches will be made up, and there will be no schism in the body; and they shall dwell together in unity, and walk in the same paths of faith and duty, of truth and holiness; and such who will be the happy instruments of all this will have much honour, and be called by these names.
The Targum is,
"they shall call thee one that confirms the right way, and converts, the ungodly to the law.''
(n) "desolata seculi", Munster, Vatablus, Vitringa; "deserta seculi", Pagninus, Montanus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. they … of thee—thy people, the Israelites.
old waste places—the old ruins of Jerusalem (Isa 61:4; Eze 36:33-36).
foundations of many generations—that is, the buildings which had lain in ruins, even to their foundations, for many ages; called in the parallel passage (Isa 61:4), "the former desolations"; and in the preceding clause here, "the old waste places." The literal and spiritual restoration of Israel is meant, which shall produce like blessed results on the Gentile world (Am 9:11, 12; Ac 15:16, 17).
be called—appropriately: the name truly designating what thou shalt do.
breach—the calamity wherewith God visited Israel for their sin (Isa 30:26; 1Ch 15:13).
paths to dwell in—not that the paths were to be dwelt in, but the paths leading to their dwellings were to be restored; "paths, so as to dwell in the land" [Maurer].
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