Isaiah 1:19
If you be willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land:
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(19) If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.—The promise of temporal blessings as the reward of a true repentance, instead of the spiritual peace and joy of Psalm 51:8-12, fills us at first with a sense of disappointment. It has to be remembered, however, that the prophet spoke to those who were unjust and selfish, and who were as yet far from the broken and contrite heart of the true penitent. He was content to wake up in them the dormant sense of righteousness, and to lead them to recognise the moral government of God. In the long run they would not be losers by a change of conduct. The choice of eating or “being eaten” (the “devoured” of Isaiah 1:20), enjoying a blameless prosperity, or falling by the sword, was placed before those to whom the higher aspirations of the soul were little known. Such is, at all times, one at least of the methods of God’s education of mankind.

1:16-20 Not only feel sorrow for the sin committed, but break off the practice. We must be doing, not stand idle. We must be doing the good the Lord our God requires. It is plain that the sacrifices of the law could not atone, even for outward national crimes. But, blessed be God, there is a Fountain opened, in which sinners of every age and rank may be cleansed. Though our sins have been as scarlet and crimson, a deep dye, a double dye, first in the wool of original corruption, and afterwards in the many threads of actual transgression; though we have often dipped into sin, by many backslidings; yet pardoning mercy will take out the stain, Ps 51:7. They should have all the happiness and comfort they could desire. Life and death, good and evil, are set before us. O Lord, incline all of us to live to thy glory.If ye be willing - If you submit your wills, and become voluntary in your obedience to my law.

And obedient - Hebrew If you will hear; that is, my commands.

Ye shall eat ... - That is, the land shall yield its increase; and you shall be saved from pestilence, war, famine, etc. The productions of the soil shall no more be devoured by strangers, Isaiah 1:7; compare the notes at Isaiah 65:21-23. This was in accordance with the promises which God made to their fathers, and the motives to obedience placed before them, which were drawn from the fact, that they should possess a land of distinguished fertility, and that obedience should be attended with eminent national prosperity. Such an appeal was adapted to the infancy of society, and to the circumstances of the people. It should be added, however, that with this they connected the idea, that God would be their God and Protector; and, of course, the idea that all the blessings resulting from that fact would be theirs; Exodus 3:8 : 'And I am come down to deliver them out of the band of the Egyptians, and to bring them up out of that land unto a good land and a large, unto a land flowing with milk and honey;' compare Exodus 3:17; Exodus 13:5; Deuteronomy 28:1-9. In accordance with this, the language of promise in the New Testament is, that of inheriting the earth, that is, the land, Note, Matthew 5:5. The expression here means, that if they obeyed God they should be under his patronage, and be prospered. It refers, also, to Isaiah 1:7, where it is said, that strangers devoured the land. The promise here is, that if they were obedient, this calamity should be removed.

19, 20. Temporal blessings in "the land of their possession" were prominent in the Old Testament promises, as suited to the childhood of the Church (Ex 3:17). New Testament spiritual promises derive their imagery from the former (Mt 5:5). If ye be willing and obedient; if you are heartily willing and fully resolved to obey all my commands.

Ye shall eat the good of the land; together with the pardon of your sins, you shall receive many temporal and worldly blessings. If ye be willing and obedient,.... The Targum adds, "to my Word": the Word made flesh, and dwelling among them; who would have gathered the inhabitants of Jerusalem to his ministry, to attend his word and ordinances, but their rulers would not:

ye shall eat the good of the land; the land of Canaan; as the Jews held the possession of that land, before the times of Christ, by their obedience to the laws of God, which were given them as a body politic, and which, so long as they observed, they were continued in the quiet and full enjoyment of all the blessings of it; so, when Christ came, had they received, embraced, and acknowledged him as the Messiah, and been obedient to his will, though only externally, they would have remained in their own land, and enjoyed all the good things in it undisturbed by enemies.

If ye {c} are willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:

(c) He shows that whatever adversity man endures, it ought to be attributed to his own incredulity and disobedience.

Verse 19. - If ye be willing and obedient. Rosenmüller explains this as equivalent to "if ye be willing to obey" (cf. Ezekiel 3:7); but perhaps it is better to give each verb its separate force: "If you consent in your wills, and are also obedient in your actions" (so Kay). Ye shall eat the good of the land; i.e. there shall be no invasion; strangers shall not devour your crops (see ver. 7); you shall consume them yourselves. "The good of the land" is a common expression for its produce (Genesis 45:18, 20; Ezra 9:12; Nehemiah 9:36; Jeremiah 2:7). Because they had not performed what Jehovah commanded as He commanded it, He expressly forbids them to continue it. "Continue not to bring lying meat-offering; abomination incense is it to me." Minchah (the meat-offering) was the vegetable offering, as distinguished from zebach, the animal sacrifice. It is called a "lying meat-offering," as being a hypocritical dead work, behind which there was none of the feeling which it appeared to express. In the second clause the Sept., Vulg., Gesenius, and others adopt the rendering "incense - an abomination is it to me," ketoreth being taken as the name of the daily burning of incense upon the golden altar in the holy place (Exodus 30:8). But neither in Psalm 141:2, where prayer is offered by one who is not a priest, nor in the passage before us, where the reference is not to the priesthood, but to the people and to their deeds, is this continual incense to be thought of. Moreover, it is much more natural to regard the word ketoreth not as a bold absolute case, but, according to the conjunctive darga with which it is marked, as constructive rather; and this is perfectly allowable. The meat-offering is called "incense" (ketoreth) with reference to the so-called azcarah, i.e., that portion which the priest burned upon the altar, to bring the grateful offerer into remembrance before God (called "burning the memorial," hiktir azcârâh, in Leviticus 2:2). As a general rule, this was accompanied with incense (Isaiah 66:3), the whole of which was placed upon the altar, and not merely a small portion of it. The meat-offering, with its sweet-smelling savour, was merely the form, which served as an outward expression of the thanksgiving for God's blessing, or the longing for His blessing, which really ascended in prayer. But in their case the form had no such meaning. It was nothing but the form, with which they thought they had satisfied God; and therefore it was an abomination to Him. Isaiah 1:13. God was just as little pleased with their punctilious observance of the feasts: "New-moon and Sabbath, calling of festal meetings ... I cannot bear ungodliness and a festal crowd." The first objective notions, which are logically governed by "I cannot bear" (לא־אוּכל: literally, a future hophal - I am unable, incapable, viz., to bear, which may be supplied, according to Psalm 101:5; Jeremiah 44:22; Proverbs 30:21), become absolute cases here, on account of another grammatical object presenting itself in the last two nouns: "ungodliness and a festal crowd." As for new-moon and Sabbath (the latter always signifies the weekly Sabbath when construed with Chodesh) - and, in fact, the calling of meetings of the whole congregation on the weekly Sabbath and high festivals, which was a simple duty according to Leviticus 23 - Jehovah could not endure festivals associated with wickedness. עצרה (from עצר, to press, or crowd thickly together) is synonymous with מקרא), so far as its immediate signification is concerned, as Jeremiah 9:1 clearly shows, just as πανήγυρις is synonymous with εκκλησία . און (from אוּן, to breathe) is moral worthlessness, regarded as an utter absence of all that has true essence and worth in the sight of God. The prophet intentionally joins these two nouns together. A densely crowded festal meeting, combined with inward emptiness and barrenness on the part of those who were assembled together, was a contradiction which God could not endure.
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