Isaiah 28:12
To whom he said, This is the rest with which you may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
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(12) To whom he said, This is the rest . . .—The prophet vindicates himself against the charge of being a repeater of wearisome messages of rebuke. Rather had he pointed the way to a time of repentance, and therefore of rest and refreshment. But to this also they closed their ears. They had but one formula of derision, whatever might be the subject of the prophet’s teaching; and the prophet, with all the scorn of irony, repeats that formula in the words that follow.

28:5-15 The prophet next turns to Judah, whom he calls the residue of his people. Happy are those alone, who glory in the Lord of hosts himself. Hence his people get wisdom and strength for every service and every conflict. But it is only in Christ Jesus that the holy God communicates with sinful man. And whether those that teach are drunk with wine, or intoxicated with false doctrines and notions concerning the kingdom and salvation of the Messiah, they not only err themselves, but lead multitudes astray. All places where such persons have taught are filled with errors. For our instruction in the things of God, it is needful that the same precept and the same line should be often repeated to us, that we may the better understand them. God, by his word, calls us to what is really for our advantage; the service of God is the only true rest for those weary of the service of sin, and there is no refreshment but under the easy yoke of the Lord Jesus. All this had little effect upon the people. Those who will not understand what is plain, but scorn and despise it as mean and trifling, are justly punished. If we are at peace with God, we have, in effect, made a covenant with death; whenever it comes, it cannot do us any real damage, if we are Christ's. But to think of making death our friend, while by sin we are making God our enemy, is absurd. And do not they make lies their refuge who trust in their own righteousness, or to a death-bed repentance? which is a resolution to sin no more, when it is no longer in their power to do so.To whom he said - To whom God had said; that is, to the Jews. He had taught them the way of rest through the prophets, but they had refused to learn.

This is the rest - That is, this is the true way of happiness, to wit, by keeping the commands of God which had been so often repeated as to become to them objects of satiety and disgust.

This is the refreshing - This is the way in which the mind may be comforted.

12. Rather, "He (Jehovah) who hath said to them."

this … the rest—Reference may be primarily to "rest" from national warlike preparations, the Jews being at the time "weary" through various preceding calamities, as the Syro-Israelite invasion (Isa 7:8; compare Isa 30:15; 22:8; 39:2; 36:1; 2Ki 18:8). But spiritually, the "rest" meant is that to be found in obeying those very "precepts" of God (Isa 28:10) which they jeered at (compare Jer 6:16; Mt 11:29).

To whom he said, to which people the Lord, by his minister, said,

This, this doctrine or precept, as it is expressed, Isaiah 28:9,10, or the word of the Lord, as it follows, Isaiah 28:13, is the rest; the only way, in the observation of which you will find rest and satisfaction.

Cause the weary to rest, Heb. cause the weary (understand either soul or country) rest. As rest is offered to you by the prophets in God’s name, do you embrace it; which is to be done by hearkening to God’s word, as appears by the following clauses. So shall this people, which hath been so oft and so long wearied and harassed by great and manifold calamities, find rest and peace.

Yet they would not hear; they are wilfully ignorant, and obstinately refused the very means of instruction. To whom he said,.... Either the Lord himself, or the prophet Isaiah; or rather the Lord by him, and other prophets; so the Targum,

"to whom the prophets said;''

that is, the true prophets of the Lord said to the people, or to the priests and other prophets; or Christ and his apostles, as follows:

This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest: and this is the refreshing: that is, by teaching the word of God, the true knowledge of him, and the sound doctrines of the Gospel, and the duties of religion; this would be the best way of casing and refreshing the minds and consciences of the people, burdened with a sense of sin, or distressed and disconsolate through afflictions and calamities upon them, and be the most effectual method of continuing them in ease and peace in their own land, and of preserving them from captivity, and other judgments threatened with; see Matthew 11:28,

yet they would not hear; having no regard to the Lord and his prophets; nor any compassion to their countrymen, afflicted and distressed in mind or body; nor to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles.

To whom {l} he said, {m} This is the rest with which ye may {n} cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

(l) That is, the prophet, whom God would send.

(m) This is the doctrine on which you ought to stay and rest.

(n) Show to them that are weary and have need of rest, what the true rest is.

12. To whom he said] Rather: He who said to them. The verse reproduces the tenor and aim of all Isaiah’s teaching (cf. Isaiah 28:16; ch. Isaiah 30:15). He had sought to point out the true way of rest for the exhausted nation by abstinence from the spirited foreign policy advocated by the anti-Assyrian faction. Two translations, however, are possible. Either: “This (Jerusalem) is the resting-place; give rest to the weary; and this is the place of refreshment”; or: This (line of action) is the (true) rest … and this is the (true) refreshment. The latter seems preferable. The word for “rest” (usually “resting-place”) is used in the same sense as here in 2 Samuel 14:17. “The weary” is the ordinary plebeian, who had everything to lose and nothing to gain, by the chances of war.Verse 12. - To whom he said; rather, because he said to them. God had from remote times offered to his people "rest" and "refreshing" - or a life of ease and peace in Palestine - but on condition of their serving him faithfully and observing his Laws (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). But they had re-jeered this "rest," since they had refused to observe the condition on which it was pro-raised. Because they had thus acted, God now brought upon them war and a conqueror. The threat is now followed by a promise. This is essentially the same in character as Isaiah 4:2-6. The place of the false glory thus overthrown is now filled by a glory that is divine and true. "In that day will Jehovah of hosts be the adorning crown and the splendid diadem to the remnant of His people; and the spirit of justice to them that sit on the judgment-seat, and heroic strength to them that drive back war at the gate." "The remnant of His people" (שׁאר with a fixed kametz, as in Isaiah 21:17) is not Judah, as distinguished from Ephraim that had utterly perished; but Judah and the remaining portion of Ephraim, as distinguished from the portion which had perished. After the perishable thin in which they gloried had been swept away, the eternal person of Jehovah Himself would be the ornament and pride of His people. He, the Lord of the seven spirits (Isaiah 11:1), would be to this remnant of His people the spirit of right and heroic strength. There would be an end to unjust judging and powerless submission. The judges are called "those who sit ‛al-hammishpât" in the sense of "on the seat of judgment" (Psalm 9:5; Psalm 122:5); the warriors are called "those who press back milchâmâh shâ‛râh" (war at the gate), i.e., either war that has reached their own gate (Isaiah 22:7), or war which they drive back as far as the gate of the enemy (2 Samuel 11:23; 1 Macc. 5:22). The promise in this last passage corresponds to Micah 5:4-5. The athnach in Isaiah 28:6 ought to stand at hammishpât; the second clause of the v. may be completed from the first, ולגבוּרה being equivalent to גבורה ולרוח, and משיבי to למישבי. We might regard 2 Chronicles 30 as a fulfilment of what is predicted in Isaiah 28:6, if the feast of passover there described really fell in the age succeeding the fall of Samaria; for this feast of passover did furnish a representation and awaken a consciousness of that national unity which had been interrupted from the time of Rehoboam. But if we read the account in the Chronicles with unprejudiced minds, it is impossible to shut our eyes to the fact that this feast of passover took place in the second month of the first year of Hezekiah's reign, and therefore not after the depopulation of the northern kingdom by Shalmanassar, but after the previous and partial depopulation by Tiglath-pileser. In fact, the fulfilment cannot be looked for at all in the space between the sixth and fourteenth years of Hezekiah, since the condition of Judah during that time does not answer at all to the promises given above. The prophet here foretells what might be hoped for, when Asshur had not only humbled Ephraim, but Judah also. The address consists of two connected halves, the promising beginnings of which point to one and the same future, and lay hold of one another.
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