Isaiah 33:15
He that walks righteously, and speaks uprightly; he that despises the gain of oppressions, that shakes his hands from holding of bribes, that stops his ears from hearing of blood, and shuts his eyes from seeing evil;
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(15, 16) He that walketh righteously . . .—The answer to the question shows that the words point not to endless punishments, but to the infinite holiness of God. The man who is true and just in all his dealings can dwell in closest fellowship with that holiness which is to others as a consuming fire. To him it is a protection and defence, a “rock fortress,” in which he can dwell securely, where he will find all that he needs for the sustenance of soul and body, the bread and the water of life. The picture of the righteous man is in part an echo, probably a conscious echo, of Psalms 15, 24

Isaiah 33:15-16. He that walketh righteously — He who, being first made righteous by the justification of his person, and the renovation of his nature, (see on Genesis 15:6, and Psalm 32:1-2,) afterward practises righteousness in all its branches: (1 John 3:7-8,) and particularly in all his dealings with men, of which the following clauses explain it; and speaketh uprightly — Hebrew, מישׁרים, uprightnesses, who speaks what is true and right, and with an holiest intention. Who does not think one thing and speak another, but whose word is to him as sacred as his oath; that despiseth the gain of oppressions — Who is so far from coveting gain unjustly gotten, that he despises it; thinks it a mean and sordid, as well as a wicked thing, to enrich himself by any injustice done to, or hardship put upon, his neighbour; that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes — Or, from taking, or receiving them, as תמךְis often rendered; who will not receive, much less will retain bribes; that stoppeth his ears, &c. — Who will not assent, or even hearken, to any counsels or practices tending to shed innocent blood; or to any kind of cruelty toward any one; or to any suggestions inciting him to revenge; and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil — That abhors the very sight of sin committed by others, and who himself watches against the occasions of it. Those that would preserve the purity of their souls, must keep a strict guard on the senses of their bodies; stop their ears to temptations, and turn away their eyes from beholding vanity. He shall dwell on high — Out of the reach of danger; his place of defence — the munitions of rocks — The divine power will keep him safe, as though he were in a tower, strong and impregnable, fortified by nature as well as art. God, the Rock of ages, will be his place of defence. Bread shall be given him, &c. — God will furnish him with all things needful. They that fear the Lord shall not want any thing that is good for them.33:15-24 The true believer watches against all occasions of sin. The Divine power will keep him safe, and his faith in that power will keep him easy. He shall want nothing needful for him. Every blessing of salvation is freely bestowed on all that ask with humble, believing prayer; and the believer is safe in time and for ever. Those that walk uprightly shall not only have bread given, and their water sure, but they shall, by faith, see the King of kings in his beauty, the beauty of holiness. The remembrance of the terror they were in, shall add to the pleasure of their deliverance. It is desirable to be quiet in our own houses, but much more so to be quiet in God's house; and in every age Christ will have a seed to serve him. Jerusalem had no large river running by it, but the presence and power of God make up all wants. We have all in God, all we need, or can desire. By faith we take Christ for our Prince and Saviour; he reigns over his redeemed people. All that refuse to have Him to reign over them, make shipwreck of their souls. Sickness is taken away in mercy, when the fruit of it is the taking away of sin. If iniquity be taken away, we have little reason to complain of outward affliction. This last verse leads our thoughts, not only to the most glorious state of the gospel church on earth, but to heaven, where no sickness or trouble can enter. He that blotteth out our transgressions, will heal our souls.He that walketh righteously - In this and the following verses the prophet presents, in contrast, the confidence and the security of the righteous. He first, in this verse, describes the characteristics of the righteous, and in the following verses their confidence in God, and their security and safety. The first characteristic of the righteous man is that he walks righteously; that is, he lives righteously; he does right.

And speaketh uprightly - The second characteristic - his words are well-ordered. lie is not false, perfidious, slanderous, or obscene in his words. If a private individual, his words are simple, honest, and true; if a magistrate, his decisions are according to justice.

He that despiseth the gain of oppressions - Margin, 'Deceits'. The third characteristic - he abhors the gain that is the result of imposition, false dealing, and false weights. Or if it mean oppressions, as the word usually does, then the sense is, that he does not oppress the poor, or take advantage of their needy condition, or affix exorbitant prices, or extort payment in a manner that is harsh and cruel.

That shaketh his hands from holding of bribes - The fourth characteristic - this relates particularly to magistrates. They adjudge causes according to justice, and do not allow their judgment to be swayed by the prospect of reward.

That stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood - This is the fifth characteristic. It means, evidently, he who does not listen to a proposal to shed blood, or to any scheme of violence, and robbery, and murder (see the note at Isaiah 1:15).

And shutteth his eyes from seeing evil - He does not desire to see it; he is not found in the places where it is committed. A righteous man should not only have no part in evil, but he will keep himself if possible from being a witness of it. A man who sees all the evil that is going forward; that is present in every brawl and contention, is usually a man who has a fondness for such scenes, and who may be expected to take part in them. It is a remarkable fact that very few of the Society of Friends are ever seen in courts of justice as witnesses. The reason is, that they have no fondness for seeing the strifes and contentions of people, and are not found in those places where evil is usually committed. This is the sixth characteristic of the righteous man; and the sum of the whole is, that he keeps himself from all forms of iniquity.

15. In contrast to the trembling "sinners in Zion" (Isa 33:14), the righteous shall be secure amid all judgments; they are described according to the Old Testament standpoint of righteousness (Ps 15:2; 24:4).

stoppeth … ears … eyes—"Rejoiceth not in iniquity" (1Co 13:6; contrast Isa 29:20; Ps 10:3; Ro 1:32). The senses are avenues for the entrance of sin (Ps 119:37).

He that walketh righteously; who is just in all his dealings with men, of which the following clauses explain it: which is not spoken exclusively, as if piety towards God were not as necessary as righteousness towards men; but comprehensively, this being one evidence and a constant companion of piety.

Speaketh uprightly; who speaks truly and sincerely, what he really intends.

That despiseth; that refuseth it, not for politic reasons, as men sometimes may do, but from a contempt and abhorrency of injustice.

From holding; or, from taking or receiving; as this verb signifies, Proverbs 4:4 5:5 28:17. That will not receive, much less retain, bribes.

That stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood; who will not hearken or assent to any counsels or courses tending to shed innocent blood.

And shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; that abhorreth the very sight of sill committed by others, and guardeth his eyes from beholding occasions of sin; of which see on Job 31:1. He that walketh righteously,.... These are the words of the prophet, in answer to those of the hypocrites. So the Targum,

"the prophet said, the righteous shall dwell in it;''

not in the devouring fire and everlasting burnings, but in Zion, in Jerusalem, on high, in the munition of rocks, safe from those burnings; for these words are to be connected not with the preceding, but with the following verse Isaiah 33:16, "thus, he that walketh righteously", &c. "he shall dwell on high", &c.; and such an one is he that walks by faith on Christ as his righteousness; that walks after the Spirit, and not after the flesh; that walks uprightly, according to the rule of the Gospel, and as becomes it; that walks in the ways of judgment and righteousness, in which Christ leads his people, and lives soberly, righteously, and godly:

and speaketh uprightly; or "uprightnesses" (b); upright things, what is in his heart, what is agreeable to the word of God, the standard of truth; who makes mention continually of the righteousness of Christ, and that only as his justifying one: and whose tongue talks of judgment, just and righteous things, and not what is corrupt, profane, impure, and impious:

he that despiseth the gain of oppressions; that which is got by oppression and rapine; the mammon of iniquity, as the Targum calls it; but reckons the gain of wisdom, and of godliness, exceeding preferable to it:

that shaketh his hand from holding of bribes; that will not receive any, but when they are put into his hands shakes them out, and will not retain them; expressing his abhorrence of such practices, and declaring that he is not to be influenced by such methods from speaking truth, and doing justice:

that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood; or "bloods" (c); from hearing those that shed innocent blood, as the Targum; who will not hearken to any solicitations to shed blood; will not converse with men about it, or enter into schemes in order to it, much less join them in shedding it:

and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; done by others; he abhors it in himself, and dislikes it in others; turns his eyes from beholding it, so far from taking pleasure in it, and in those that do it: all this is opposed to the hypocrisy, impiety, profaneness, rapine, bribery, murders, and wickedness of the church of Rome; see Revelation 9:21.

(b) "qui loquitur recta", Piscator; "loquens recta", Cocceius; "loquens aequitates", Montanus. (c) "ab audiendo sanquines", Montanus; "ne audiat sanquines", Cocceius.

He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil;
15, 16. A triumphant answer to the fearful self-questionings of the ungodly. The passage closely resembles Psalm 15:2 ff; Psalm 24:4 f. First the character of the true citizen of God’s Kingdom is expressed in general terms, and then the details are given in which the character is revealed.

that shaketh his hands] The metaphor is a very suggestive one, the verb being the same as that used in Isaiah 33:9 of the trees shaking off their leaves. All these phrases, indeed, denote the keenest abhorrence of evil.Verse 15. - He that walketh righteously, etc. The prophet answers the question which he has supposed to be asked. None can endure the revelation of the presence of God but the holy and the upright - "he that hath clean hands, and a pure heart; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully" (Psalm 24:4; comp. 15:2-5). Uprightness is then explained as consisting in six things mainly -

(1) Just conduct;

(2) righteous speech;

(3) hatred of oppression;

(4) rejection of bribes;

(5) closing the ear against murderous suggestions;

(6) closing the eye against sinful sights.

We may compare with this summa, y those of the Psalms above quoted. No enumeration is complete, or intended to be complete. Isaiah's has special reference to the favorite sins of the time - injustice (Isaiah 3:15; Isaiah 5:23), oppression (Isaiah 1:17, 23; Isaiah 3:12, 14; Isaiah 5:7; etc.), the receiving of bribes (Isaiah 1:23; Hosea 4:18; Micah 3:11), and bloodshed (Isaiah 1:15, 21; Isaiah 59:3). The prophet has thus run through the whole train of thought with a few rapid strides, in accordance with the custom which we have already frequently noticed; and now he commences afresh, mourning over the present miserable condition of things, in psalm-like elegiac tones, and weeping with his weeping people. "Behold, their heroes weep without; the messengers of peace weep bitterly. Desolate are roads, disappeared are travellers; he has broken covenant, insulted cities, despised men. The land mourns, languishes; Lebanon stands ashamed, parched; the meadow of Sharon has become like a steppe, and Bashan and Carmel shake their leaves." אראלּם is probably chosen with some allusion to 'Ariel, the name of Jerusalem in chapter 29; but it has a totally different meaning. We have rendered it "heroes," because אראל is here synonymous with אראל in the Nibelung-like piece contained in 2 Samuel 23:20 and 1 Chronicles 11:22. This 'ărı̄'ēl, which is here contracted into 'er'el (compare the biblical name 'Ar'ēlı̄ and the post-biblical name of the angels, 'Er'ellı̄m), is compounded of 'arı̄ (a lion) and ‛El (God), and therefore signifies "the lion of God," but in this sense, that El (God) gives to the idea of leonine courage merely the additional force of extraordinary or wonderful; and as a composite word, it contents itself with a singular, with a collective sense according to circumstances, without forming any plural at all. The dagesh is to be explained from the fact that the word (which tradition has erroneously regarded as a compound of להם אראה) is pointed in accordance with the form כּרמל (כרמלּו). The heroes intended by the prophet were the messengers sent to Sennacherib to treat with him for peace. They carried to him the amount of silver and gold which he had demanded as the condition of peace (2 Kings 18:14). But Sennacherib broke the treaty, by demanding nothing less than the surrender of Jerusalem itself. Then the heroes of Jerusalem cried aloud, when they arrived at Jerusalem, and had to convey this message of disgrace and alarm to the king and nation; and bitterly weeping over such a breach of faith, such deception and disgrace, the embassy, which had been sent off, to the deep self-humiliation of Judah and themselves, returned to Jerusalem. Moreover, Sennacherib continued to storm the fortified places, in violation of his agreement (on mâ'as ‛arı̄m, see 2 Kings 18:13). The land was more and more laid waste, the fields were trodden down; and the autumnal aspect of Lebanon, with its faded foliage, and of Bashan and Carmel, with their falling leaves, looked like shame and grief at the calamities of the land. It was in the autumn, therefore, that the prophet uttered these complaints; and the definition of the time given in his prophecy (Isaiah 32:10) coincides with this. קמל is the pausal form for קמל, just as in other places an ē with the tone, which has sprung from i, easily passes into a in pause; the sharpening of the syllable being preferred to the lengthening of it, not only when the syllable which precedes the tone syllable is an open one, but sometimes even when it is closed (e.g., Judges 6:19, ויּגּשׁ). Instead of כּערבה we should read כּערבה (without the article), as certain codd. and early editions do.

(Note: We find the same in Zechariah 14:10, and כּערבים in Isaiah 44:4, whereas we invariably have בּערבה (see Michlol, 45b), just as we always find בּאבנים, and on the other hand כּבנים.)

Isaiah having mourned in the tone of the Psalms, now comforts himself with the words of a psalm. Like David in Psalm 12:6, he hears Jehovah speak. The measure of Asshur's iniquity is full; the hour of Judah's redemption is come; Jehovah has looked on long enough, as though sitting still (Isaiah 18:4). Isaiah 33:10 "Now will I arise, saith Jehovah, now exalt myself, now lift up myself." Three times does the prophet repeat the word ‛attâh (now), which is so significant a word with all the prophets, but more especially with Hosea and Isaiah, and which always fixes the boundary-line and turning-point between love and wrath, wrath and love. ארומם (in half pause for ארוממא is contracted from עתרומם (Ges. 54, 2, b). Jehovah would rise up from His throne, and show Himself in all His greatness to the enemies of Israel.

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