|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
59:1-8 If our prayers are not answered, and the salvation we wait for is not wrought for us, it is not because God is weary of hearing prayer, but because we are weary of praying. See here sin in true colours, exceedingly sinful; and see sin in its consequences, exceedingly hurtful, separating from God, and so separating us, not only from all good, but to all evil. Yet numbers feed, to their own destruction, on infidel and wicked systems. Nor can their skill or craft, in devising schemes, as the spider weaves its web, deliver or save them. No schemes of self-wrought salvation shall avail those who despise the Redeemer's robe of righteousness. Every man who is destitute of the Spirit of Christ, runs swiftly to evil of some sort; but those regardless of Divine truth and justice, are strangers to peace.
Verse 3. - Your hands are defiled with blood (comp. Isaiah 1:15, 21). (On the "innocent blood" shed by the Jews of the later Judaean kingdom, see 2 Kings 21:6, 16; 2 Kings 24:4; 2 Kings 25:25; 2 Chronicles 24:21; 2 Chronicles 28:3; 2 Chronicles 33:6; 2 Chronicles 36:16, etc.) It consisted in
(1) sacrifices of children to Moloch;
(2) persecution of prophets; and
(3) judicial murders, either actual (like that of Naboth, in Israel) or virtual, i.e. such perversion of justice as produced general poverty and misery, and tended to shorten men's lives (see the comment on Isaiah 1:15). Your lips have spoken lies (comp. Isaiah 32:7). The wicked oppressors "devised wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words."
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity,.... From a general charge, the prophet proceeds to a particular enumeration of sins they were guilty of; and idolatry not being mentioned, as Jerom observes, shows that the prophecy belongs to other times than Isaiah's, when that sin greatly prevailed. He begins the account with the sin of shedding blood; the blood of innocents, as the Targum; designing either the sin of murder, now frequently committed in Christian nations; or wars between Christian princes, by means of which much blood is shed; or persecutions of Christian brethren, by casting them into prisons, which have issued in their death; and at least want of brotherly love, or, the hatred of brethren, which is called murder, 1 John 3:15 a prevailing sin in the present Sardian state; and which will not be removed till the spiritual reign or Philadelphian state takes place: and this sin is of a defiling nature; it "defiles" the "hands" or actions; and without love all works signify nothing, 1 Corinthians 13:1, yea, even their "fingers" are said to be defiled "with iniquity"; meaning either their lesser actions; or rather those more curiously and nicely performed, and seemingly more agreeable to the divine will; and yet defiled with some sin or other, as hypocrisy, vain glory, or the like: or it may be this may design the same as putting forth the fingers, and smiting with the fist, Isaiah 58:4, as Kimchi and Ben Melech observe; and so may have respect to some sort of persecution of their brethren for conscience sake, as there.
Your lips have spoken lies: or "falsehood" (q); that is, false doctrines, so called because contrary to the word of truth, and which deceive men:
your tongue hath muttered perverseness: that which is a perversion of the Gospel of Christ, and of the souls of men; what is contrary to the sacred Scriptures, the standard of faith and practice, and that premeditated, as the word (r) signifies; done with design, and on purpose: the abounding of errors and heresies in the present day, openly taught and divulged, to the ruin of souls, seems here to be pointed at. In the Talmud (s) these are explained of the several sorts of men in a court of judicature; the "hands" of the judges; the "fingers" of, the Scribes; the "lips" of advocates and solicitors; and the "tongue" of adversaries, or the contending parties.
(q) "falsitatem", Montanus, Cocceius; "falsum", Junius & Tremeliius, Piscator. (r) Sept.; "meditabitur", Montanus; "meditatur", Piscator; "meditatam effert", Junius & Tremellius. (s) T. Bab. Sabbat. fol. 139. 1.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. (Isa 1:15; Ro 3:13-15).
hands … fingers—Not merely the "hands" perpetrate deeds of grosser enormity ("blood"), but the "fingers" commit more minute acts of "iniquity."
lips … tongue—The lips "speak" openly "lies," the tongue "mutters" malicious insinuations ("perverseness"; perverse misrepresentations of others) (Jer 6:28; 9:4).
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