Isaiah 26:10
Let favor be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.
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(10) Let favour be shewed to the wicked . . .—The thought of Isaiah 26:9 is presented under another aspect. The judgments of God manifested against evil are the only discipline by which the doers of evil can be taught; without the, under a system of mere tolerance and favour, they remain as they are. In the very “land of uprightness” (Psalm 143:10) they will still work unrighteousness. “The mind is its own place,” and can make a hell of heaven itself. The eyes that see “the majesty of the Lord” are those of the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8).

Isaiah 26:10-11. Let favour be showed to the wicked — If thou dost spare them, when thou chastisest thy own people, and grantest them health, prosperity, and other blessings; yet will they not learn righteousness — They will not be led to repentance by thy goodness; and therefore it is requisite thou shouldest send thy judgments into the earth, to reckon with men for abused mercies. In the land of uprightness — Even in thy church, and among thy people, where righteousness is taught, professed, and, among many, practised; and where unrighteousness is discountenanced and punished; will he — The wicked man, deal unjustly — Hebrew, יעול, will act perfidiously, perversely, or injuriously; and will not behold the majesty of the Lord — Although God gives such plain and clear discoveries of his majesty and glory, not only in his words, but also in his works, and in all the dispensations of his providence, whether those of justice, or those of grace; and especially in his glorious patience and mercy toward wicked men; yet they wilfully shut their eyes against these discoveries, and will not believe, or will not consider, and lay to heart, what a God of terrible and glorious majesty he is. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up — To smite and chastise them, in order that by repentance, faith, and prayer, they may make their peace with thee; they will not see — They will not take notice of it; are not aware that thou art angry with them, and about to execute thy judgments upon them. Nay, even when thou dost actually smite and punish them, they are guilty of the same obstinate blindness as when thou dost only threaten them, shutting their eyes against the clearest convictions of guilt and wrath, and ascribing to chance, common fate, or second causes, what is manifestly a divine correction and rebuke. They regard not the symptoms of their own ruin, but cry, “Peace, peace,” when thou, the holy and righteous God, art waging war against them. But they shall see — Whether they will or not. They shall know and feel, and that by sad experience, what they would not learn by other and easier ways. Atheists, scorners, and the carnally secure shall shortly feel what now they will not believe, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. They will not see the evil of sin, and particularly the sin of hating and persecuting the people of God; but they shall, at length, be convinced to their sorrow, by the tokens of God’s displeasure against them for it, that what is done against his people, God takes as done against himself. And be ashamed for their envy at the people — They shall see that they have done God’s people a great deal of wrong, and therefore shall be ashamed of it, and of the enmity and envy which produced it. Yea, the fire of thine enemies, &c. — Such fire or wrath as thou usest to pour forth upon thy implacable enemies. 26:5-11 The way of the just is evenness, a steady course of obedience and holy conversation. And it is their happiness that God makes their way plain and easy. It is our duty, and will be our comfort, to wait for God, to keep up holy desires toward him in the darkest and most discouraging times. Our troubles must never turn us from God; and in the darkest, longest night of affliction, with our souls must we desire him; and this we must wait and pray to him for. We make nothing of our religion, whatever our profession may be, if we do not make heart-work of it. Though we come ever so early, we shall find God ready to receive us. The intention of afflictions is to teach righteousness: blessed is the man whom the Lord thus teaches. But sinners walk contrary to him. They will go on in their evil ways, because they will not consider what a God he is whose laws they persist in despising. Scorners and the secure will shortly feel, what now they will not believe, that it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. They will not see the evil of sin; but they shall see. Oh that they would abandon their sins, and turn to the Lord, that he may have mercy upon them.Let favor be showed to the wicked - This is designed as an illustration of the sentiment in the previous verse - that judgments were needful in order that wicked people might be brought to the ways of righteousness. The truth is general, that though wicked people are favored with success in their enterprises, yet the effect will not be to lead them to the ways of virtue and religion. How often is this illustrated in the conduct of wicked people! How often do they show, when rolling in wealth, or when surrounded with the comforts of the domestic circle, that they feel no need of the friendship of God, and that their heart has no response of gratitude to make for all his mercies! Hence, the necessity, according to the language of the song before us, that God should take away their property, remove their friends, or destroy their health, in order that they may be brought to honor him. To do this, is benevolence in God, for whatever is needful to bring the sinner to the love of God and to the ways of virtue, is kindness to his soul.

In the land of uprightness - Even when others are just and pious around him; when this is so much the general characteristic that it may be called 'the land of integrity,' yet he will pursue his way of iniquity, though in it he may be solitary. Such is his love of sin, that neither the favor of God nor the general piety around him - neither the mercy of his Maker nor the influence of holy examples, will lead him in the way of piety and truth.

Will not behold the majesty of the Lord - Will not see that which makes the Lord glorious in his dealings with people, so as to love and adore him. He is blind, and sees no evidence of loveliness in the character of God.

10. uprightness—rather, as in Isa 26:7, "prosperity," answering to "favor" in the parallelism, and in antithesis to "judgments in the earth" (Isa 26:9); where prosperity attends the wicked as well as the just, "he will not learn righteousness," therefore judgments must be sent that he may "learn" it [Maurer]. Let favour be showed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness, this is the carriage of thy people; but the course of wicked men is directly contrary in all conditions; for if thou dost spare them, when thou punishest thine own people, they will not accept of that gracious invitation to repentance, nor walk worthy of so great a mercy.

In the land of uprightness; even in God’s church, and among his people, where righteousness is professed and taught, and by many practised; and where unrighteousness is discountenanced and punished; all which things are aggravations of his sin.

Will not behold the majesty of the Lord; although God gives such plain and clear discoveries of his majesty and glory, not only in his word, but also in his works, and especially in this glorious work of his patience and mercy to wicked men, yet they wilfully shut their eyes at it, and will not acknowledge it. Let favour be showed to the wicked,.... As it often is in a providential way; they have the good things of this life, and sometimes more than heart could wish for; nor are they in trouble as other men; they have many mercies, and many deliverances; they have their portion here, and are filled with hidden treasure, and are spared when others are cut off; and, besides sparing mercy and providential goodness, sometimes enjoy the means of grace, have the word and ordinances:

yet will ye not learn righteousness; neither repent of sin, nor reform from it; though "the goodness of God" should, yet it does not, "lead" him "to repentance"; he neither learns the righteousness of God, nor of Christ, nor the insufficiency of his own righteousness, nor to live a truly righteous and godly life; all means and mercies will not do, without the efficacious grace of God:

in the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly; in the land of Judea, where were the laws and statutes of God, which were just and equitable, the word and worship of God, and many good men, who lived uprightly, and set good examples; and yet wicked men went on in their sinful courses. Jarchi interprets it of Jerusalem, and the temple, and of men's spoiling, plundering, and destroying there; and the Talmud (x) of wicked Esau, by whom the Romans are meant, that should destroy Jerusalem, and the land of Israel. It seems best to understand it of any land or country in later times, or present ones, where there is a good polity, good and wholesome laws are enacted, vice is corrected and punished, and virtue encouraged, and where also the Gospel is preached, and the ordinances of it administered; and yet, notwithstanding all laws, instructions, precepts, and precedents, such men will go on to live unrighteous and ungodly lives and conversations:

and will not behold the majesty of the Lord; visible in the government of the world; in the dispensations of his providence, in protecting and defending his own people, and in punishing of the wicked; in the Gospel, and in the success of it: in the effusion of the Spirit; and in the setting up of the kingdom of Christ in greater glory in the latter day.

(x) T. Bab. Megilla, fol. 6. 1. & Gloss. in ib.

Let favour {i} be shown to the wicked, yet he will not learn righteousness: in the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, and will not behold the majesty of the LORD.

(i) The wicked though God show them evident signs of his grace, will not be any better off.

10. the wicked probably includes both the heathen and the apostate Israelite.

the land of uprightness is the Holy Land; even there, surrounded by the institutions of a pure religion, the wicked outrages the dictates of morality, having no eyes for the majesty of Jehovah.Verse 10. - Let favor be showed to the wicked. This is a further explanation of the reason why the righteous had so earnestly desired the coming of God's judgments upon the earth. They had felt that further mercy and long-suffering wine thrown away upon the wicked, and "only did them harm" (Kay). When "favor was showed them," they did but persist in unrighteousness. In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly. Even good example does not convert the wicked man. Though he live in a "land of righteousness," where God and his Law are acknowledged, where true religion is professed, where the gospel is preached, he will continue wicked, he will "deal unjustly;" he will not behold - or, consider - the majesty of the Lord. A cry goes forth again, as if from heaven, exhorting Israel to continue in this mind. "Hang confidently on Jehovah for ever: for in Jah, Jehovah, is an everlasting rock." The combination Jah Jehovah is only met with here and in Isaiah 12:2. It is the proper name of God the Redeemer in the most emphatic form. The Beth essentiae frequently stands before the predicate (Ges. 151, 3); here, however, it stands before the subject, as in Psalm 78:5; Psalm 55:19. In Jah Jehovah (munach, tzakeph) there is an everlasting rock, i.e., He is essentially such a rock (compare Deuteronomy 32:4, like Exodus 15:2 for Isaiah 12:2).
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