Isaiah 32:17
And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
32:9-20 When there was so much provocation given to the holy God, bad times might be expected. Alas! how many careless ones there are, who support self-indulgence by shameful stubbornness! We deserve to be deprived of the supports of life, when we make them the food of lusts. Let such tremble and be troubled. Blessed times shall be brought in by the pouring out of the Spirit from on high; then, and not till then, there will be good times. The present state of the Jews shall continue until a more abundant pouring out of the Spirit from on high. Peace and quietness shall be found in the way and work of righteousness. True satisfaction is to be had only in true religion. And real holiness is real happiness now, and shall be perfect happiness, that is, perfect holiness for ever. The good seed of the word shall be sown in all places, and be watered by Divine grace; and laborious, patient labourers shall be sent forth into God's husbandry.And the work of righteousness - That which righteousness produces; or the effect of the prevalence of righteousness on the nation.

Shall be peace - There shall be no internal agitation, and no conflicts with foreign nations.

Quietness and assurance - This is a beautiful description of the happy effect of the prevalence of piety; and it is as true now as it was in the time of Isaiah. True religion would put an end to strifes and litigations; to riots and mobs; to oppressions and tumults; to alarms and robbery; to battle, and murder, and conflict.

17. work—the effect (Pr 14:34; Jas 3:18).

peace—internal and external.

The work of righteousness shall be peace; the effect of this prevailing practice of righteousness shall be prosperity and outward felicity.

Quietness; tranquillity, both of mind and outward estate.

Assurance; or, confidence. The observation of God’s precepts will beget in them a confidence and assurance of God’s mercy, and the fulfilling of his promises.

And the work of righteousness shall be peace,.... Not works of righteousness done by men, no, not by the best of men; for though peace may be had and enjoyed in doing them, yet it does not arise and flow from thence, because there is no justification by them, and salvation through them, without which there can be no true solid peace; nor the work of righteousness in men, which is their sanctification, and is indeed the work of God, and follows upon the pouring forth of his Spirit, and therefore bids fairer to be the sense than the former; yet peace is one part and branch of the work itself; see Romans 14:17 but the work of righteousness wrought out for man is rather meant, even the righteousness of Christ, a work proposed unto him, which he undertook, and has wrought out, and which was a work, and lay in working, and was a very toilsome and laborious one; the consequence of which is "peace", inward peace of soul now, and eternal peace hereafter; the righteousness of Christ applied removes the guilt of sin from the conscience, it being perfect justifies from all things, and yields a tranquillity and serenity of mind, which is had in a way of believing, in this righteousness now, and it will issue in everlasting peace and rest in the world to come; the end of the perfect and upright man, who is perfectly justified by Christ's righteousness, is peace, Psalm 37:37,

and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever; or, (q) "the service of righteousness"; the same as before, with the "work of righteousness": a service which Christ performed, as a servant, in obedience to the law, in the room and stead of his people; a service perfectly and completely done, and what is well pleasing unto God; and which, when a sensible sinner sees its interest in, produces "quietness" of soul, under the mighty hand of God, amidst all the calamities in the world, and judgments upon men, under the load of calumny and reproach cast upon him, and notwithstanding all the charges and accusations of Satan: moreover, this also gives "assurance for ever", of interest in divine things, in the love of God, and relation to him as a Father, in Christ as a Saviour and Redeemer, and in the glorious inheritance which this gives a title to; or a holy confidence and boldness at the throne of grace now, having this righteousness to make mention of as a justifying one, and also hereafter, before the throne of judgment, this being what will answer for him in a time to come.

(q) "et cultus justitiae", V. L. Montanus; "labor, seu operatio", Piscator, Cocceius.

And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. work and effect are synonyms; both mean literally “work,” and both have the sense of “effect” (the latter only here used in this sense).

quietness and assurance] (R.V. confidence) cf. ch. Isaiah 30:15.

17, 18. The consequence of this supremacy of righteousness is universal tranquillity and security,—a contrast to the false carnal security denounced in Isaiah 32:9; Isaiah 32:11.

Verse 17. - The work of righteousness shall be peace. Peace - a true peace, not a false one (Jeremiah 6:14) - shall be the result of the reign of righteousness. War, quarrels, enmity, hostile feelings, are all of them the fruit of unrighteousness. In the kingdom of the Messiah, just so far forth as it is thoroughly established, "the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace of them that make peace" (James 3:18). The effect of righteousness; literally, the service of righteousness, which perhaps means here "the wages of righteousness." Quietness and assurance; or, quietness and confidence (comp. Isaiah 30:15). The final happiness of the blessed in Christ's kingdom is always spoken of as a state of "rest and quietness" (see Psalm 95:11; Job 3:17; Jeremiah 6:16; Matthew 11:28; Hebrews 4:9-11, etc.). The "confidence" felt would be an assured confidence, not a rash and foolish one, like that of the women of vers. 10, 11. Isaiah 32:17The state would then continue long, very long, until at last the destruction of the false rest would be followed by the realization of the true. "Until the Spirit is poured out over us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as the forest. And justice makes its abode in the desert, and righteousness settles down upon the fruit-field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the reward of righteousness rest and security for ever. And my people dwells in a place of peace, and in trustworthy, safe dwellings, and in cheerful resting-places. And it hails with the overthrow of the forest, and into lowliness must the city be brought low." There is a limit, therefore, to the "for ever" of Isaiah 32:14. The punishment would last till the Spirit, which Israel had not then dwelling in the midst of it (see Haggai 2:5), and whose fulness was like a closed vessel to Israel, should be emptied out over Israel from the height of heaven (compare the piel ערה, Genesis 24:20), i.e., should be poured out in all its fulness. When that was done, a great change would take place, the spiritual nature of which is figuratively represented in the same proverbial manner as in Isaiah 29:17. At the same time, a different turn is given to the second half in the passage before us. The meaning is, not that what was now valued as a fruit-bearing garden would be brought down from its false eminence, and be only regarded as forest; but that the whole would be so glorious, that what was now valued as a fruit-garden, would be thrown into the shade by something far more glorious still, in comparison with which it would have the appearance of a forest, in which everything grew wild. The whole land, the uncultivated pasture-land as well as the planted fruitful fields of corn and fruit, would then become the tent and seat of justice and righteousness. "Justice and righteousness' (mishpât and tsedâqâh) are throughout Isaiah the stamp of the last and perfect time. As these advance towards self-completion, the produce and result of these will be peace (ma‛ăseh and abhōdâh are used to denote the fruit or self-reward of work and painstaking toil; compare פּעלּה). But two things must take place before this calm, trustworthy, happy peace, of which the existing carnal security is only a caricature, can possibly be realized. In the first place, it must hail, and the wood must fall, being beaten down with hail. We already know, from Isaiah 10:34, that "the wood" was an emblem of Assyria; and in Isaiah 30:30-31, we find "the hail" mentioned as one of the forces of nature that would prove destructive to Assyria. And secondly, "the city" (העיר, a play upon the word, and a counterpart to היּער) must first of all be brought low into lowliness (i.e., be deeply humiliated). Rosenmller and others suppose the imperial city to be intended, according to parallels taken from chapters 24-27; but in this cycle of prophecies, in which the imperial city is never mentioned at all, "the city" must be Jerusalem, whose course from the false peace to the true lay through a humiliating punishment (Isaiah 29:2-4; Isaiah 30:19., Isaiah 31:4.).
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