|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
64:6-12 The people of God, in affliction, confess and bewail their sins, owning themselves unworthy of his mercy. Sin is that abominable thing which the Lord hates. Our deeds, whatever they may seem to be, if we think to merit by them at God's hand, are as rags, and will not cover us; filthy rags, and will but defile us. Even our few good works in which there is real excellence, as fruits of the Spirit, are so defective and defiled as done by us, that they need to be washed in the fountain open for sin and uncleanness. It bodes ill when prayer is kept back. To pray, is by faith to take hold of the promises the Lord has made of his good-will to us, and to plead them; to take hold of him, earnestly begging him not to leave us; or soliciting his return. They brought their troubles upon themselves by their own folly. Sinners are blasted, and then carried away, by the wind of their own iniquity; it withers and then ruins them. When they made themselves as an unclean thing, no wonder that God loathed them. Foolish and careless as we are, poor and despised, yet still Thou art our Father. It is the wrath of a Father we are under, who will be reconciled; and the relief our case requires is expected only from him. They refer themselves to God. They do not say, Lord, rebuke us not, for that may be necessary; but, Not in thy displeasure. They state their lamentable condition. See what ruin sin brings upon a people; and an outward profession of holiness will be no defence against it. God's people presume not to tell him what he shall say, but their prayer is, Speak for the comfort and relief of thy people. How few call upon the Lord with their whole hearts, or stir themselves to lay hold upon him! God may delay for a time to answer our prayers, but he will, in the end, answer those who call on his name and hope in his mercy.
Verse 10. - Thy holy cities are a wilderness. Commonly Jerusalem stands alone as "the holy city" (Isaiah 48:2; Isaiah 56:1; Daniel 9:24; Nehemiah 11:1, 18); but here the epithet is applied to the cities of Judah generally. They were all in a certain sense "holy," as being comprised within the limits of "the holy land" (Zechariah 2:12) and "the holy border" (Psalm 78:54). Zion... Jerusalem (see the comment on Isaiah 62:1).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thy holy cities are a wilderness,.... Meaning either Zion, the city of David, and Jerusalem; the one called the upper, the other the lower city; now uninhabited, and a mere wilderness: or else the other cities of Judea, in which were formerly synagogues for religious service, and in which dwelt many godly families where the worship of God was kept up; but now a desert, at least quite devoid of true religion and godliness.
Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation; which are either explanative of the holy cities in the preceding clauses, or are mentioned as distinct from them; the account proceeding from the lesser to the metropolitan cities, which fared no better than they did, but equally lay desolate; and which fulfilled the prophecy in Micah 3:12 and was the case of those cities, at the destruction of them by Titus; and to this day are in a ruinous condition in the hands of the Turks.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
10. holy cities—No city but Jerusalem is called "the holy city" (Isa 48:2; 52:1); the plural, therefore, refers to the upper and the lower parts of the same city Jerusalem [Vitringa]; or all Judea was holy to God, so its cities were deemed "holy" [Maurer]. But the parallelism favors Vitringa. Zion and Jerusalem (the one city) answering to "holy cities."
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