Isaiah 8:20
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Consult God's instruction and the testimony of warning. If anyone does not speak according to this word, they have no light of dawn.

New Living Translation
Look to God's instructions and teachings! People who contradict his word are completely in the dark.

English Standard Version
To the teaching and to the testimony! If they will not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

New American Standard Bible
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn.

King James Bible
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them.

International Standard Version
for instruction and for testimony? Surely they are speaking like this because the truth hasn't dawned on them.

NET Bible
Then you must recall the LORD's instructions and the prophetic testimony of what would happen. Certainly they say such things because their minds are spiritually darkened.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
They should go to the teachings and to the written instructions. If people don't speak these words, it is because it doesn't dawn on them.

Jubilee Bible 2000
To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

King James 2000 Bible
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

American King James Version
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

American Standard Version
To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.

Douay-Rheims Bible
To the law rather, and to the testimony. And if they speak not according to this word, they shall not have the morning light.

Darby Bible Translation
To the law and the testimony! If they speak not according to this word, for them there is no daybreak.

English Revised Version
To the law and to the testimony! if they speak not according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.

Webster's Bible Translation
To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

World English Bible
Turn to the law and to the testimony! If they don't speak according to this word, surely there is no morning for them.

Young's Literal Translation
To the law and to the testimony! If not, let them say after this manner, 'That there is no dawn to it.'
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

8:17-22 The prophet foresaw that the Lord would hide his face; but he would look for his return in favour to them again. Though not miraculous signs, the children's names were memorials from God, suited to excite attention. The unbelieving Jews were prone to seek counsel in difficulties, from diviners of different descriptions, whose foolish and sinful ceremonies are alluded to. Would we know how we may seek to our God, and come to the knowledge of his mind? To the law and to the testimony; for there you will see what is good, and what the Lord requires. We must speak of the things of God in the words which the Holy Ghost teaches, and be ruled by them. To those that seek to familiar spirits, and regard not God's law and testimony, there shall be horror and misery. Those that go away from God, go out of the way of all good; for fretfulness is a sin that is its own punishment. They shall despair, and see no way of relief, when they curse God. And their fears will represent every thing as frightful. Those that shut their eyes against the light of God's word, will justly be left to darkness. All the miseries that ever were felt or witnessed on earth, are as nothing, compared with what will overwhelm those who leave the words of Christ, to follow delusions.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 20. - To the Law and to the testimony. A sort of watchword or battle-cry, to be used by the faithful when God's enemies assailed them. Compare Gideon's cry (Judges 7:18), "For the Lord and for Gideon." If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them; rather, Surely they will speak according to this word, when there is no dawn for them; i.e. when they are plunged in darkness (ver. 22) and distress, and see no prospect of better days, surely they - the people generally - will rally to this cry, and repeat it, "For the Law and for the testimony." They will not always trust in necromancy.

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

To the law, and to the testimony,.... Kimchi takes this to be an oath, "by the law, and by the testimony", it is so and so; but Aben Ezra observes there is no instance of this kind in Scripture; it is a direction of Christ's to his disciples, to attend to the writings of Moses and the prophets, to search the Scriptures, as in John 5:39 and particularly what is before said in this prophecy concerning himself, the same is meant as on Isaiah 8:16.

if they speak not according to this word; this sure word of prophecy, to which men do well to take heed, as to a light shining in a dark place, it being the rule of faith and practice, a lamp to the feet, and a light to the path:

it is because there is no light in them; that is, in them that speak not according to it, meaning the Scribes and Pharisees; who, rejecting the written word, set up the traditions of the elders above it, and taught the people to walk according to them; and so were, as our Lord says, "blind leaders of the blind", Matthew 15:14 or the words may be read, "if not"; if they will not regard the Scriptures, and the evangelical doctrine in them, and the testimony they give concerning Christ; "let them speak according to this word"; or instruction, and counsel, they have from the Scribes and Pharisees: "in which there is no light" (b); but the darkness of ignorance, infidelity, superstition, and will worship; or "no morning"; but a night of Jewish darkness, even though the sun of righteousness was risen, and the dayspring from on high had visited the earth; yet they had received no light and knowledge from him, which was their condemnation, John 1:4, John 3:19 or thus, "to the law, and to the testimony, though they may say after this manner, there is no light in it" (c); in the law and testimony, preferring the traditions, decisions, and determinations of their doctors above it. Noldhius (d) renders the words thus, "seeing they speak not according to this word, certainly they shall have no morning"; that is, seeing the seducers and false teachers, in the preceding verse Isaiah 8:19, speak not according to the word of God, and testimony of Jesus, they shall have no morning of light and joy, of grace and comfort, or any spiritual felicity; Christ will be no morning to them, but they will continue in their dark, benighted, and miserable condition, described in the following verse.

(b) "sin minus, dicant secundum verbum istud, cui mon est aurora", Piscator. So Sanctius. (c) "Licet ipsi dicent, in verbis legis, nihil lucis esse", Oleaster in Bootius. (d) Ebr. Part. Concord. p. 374. No. 1302.

Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary

20. To the law, &c.—the revelation of God by His prophet (Isa 8:16), to which he directs them to refer those who would advise necromancy.

if they speak not … it is because—English Version understands "they" as the necromancers. But the Hebrew rendered "because" is not this but "who"; and "if not," ought rather to be "shall they not"; or, truly they shall speak according to this word, who have no morning light (so the Hebrew, that is, prosperity after the night of sorrows) dawning on them [Maurer and G. V. Smith]. They who are in the dark night of trial, without a dawn of hope, shall surely say so, Do not seek, as we did, to necromancy, but to the law," &c. The law perhaps includes here the law of Moses, which was the "Magna Charta" on which prophetism commented [Kitto].

Isaiah 8:20 Additional Commentaries
Context
Afflictions to Idolaters
19When they say to you, "Consult the mediums and the spiritists who whisper and mutter," should not a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because they have no dawn. 21They will pass through the land hard-pressed and famished, and it will turn out that when they are hungry, they will be enraged and curse their king and their God as they face upward.…
Cross References
Luke 16:29
"Abraham replied, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them listen to them.'

Psalm 78:5
He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our ancestors to teach their children,

Isaiah 1:10
Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah!

Isaiah 8:16
Bind up this testimony of warning and seal up God's instruction among my disciples.

Isaiah 8:22
Then they will look toward the earth and see only distress and darkness and fearful gloom, and they will be thrust into utter darkness.

Jeremiah 6:16
This is what the LORD says: "Stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls. But you said, 'We will not walk in it.'

Micah 3:6
Therefore night will come over you, without visions, and darkness, without divination. The sun will set for the prophets, and the day will go dark for them.
Treasury of Scripture

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

the law

Isaiah 8:16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

Luke 10:26 He said to him, What is written in the law? how read you?

Luke 16:29-31 Abraham said to him, They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them…

John 5:39,46,47 Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: …

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received …

Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen …

Galatians 4:21,22 Tell me, you that desire to be under the law, do you not hear the law…

2 Timothy 3:15-17 And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures…

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well …

it is

Isaiah 30:8-11 Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that …

Psalm 19:7,8 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony …

Psalm 119:130 The entrance of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple.

Jeremiah 8:9 The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: see, they …

Micah 3:6 Therefore night shall be to you, that you shall not have a vision; …

Matthew 6:23 But if your eye be evil, your whole body shall be full of darkness. …

Matthew 22:29 Jesus answered and said to them, You do err, not knowing the scriptures, …

Mark 7:7-9 However, in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments …

Romans 1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

2 Peter 1:9 But he that lacks these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, …

light. Heb. morning

Proverbs 4:18 But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shines more …

Hosea 6:3 Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the LORD: his going forth …

Malachi 4:2 But to you that fear my name shall the Sun of righteousness arise …

2 Peter 1:19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto you do well …

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