Isaiah 48:22
There is no peace, said the LORD, to the wicked.
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(22) There is no peace.—The warning was needed even for the liberated exiles. There was an implied condition as to all God’s gifts. Even the highest blessings, freedom and home, were no real blessings to those who were unworthy of them.

Isaiah 48:22. There is no peace unto the wicked — God having, in the foregoing verses, foretold that blessed deliverance which he would give to his servant Jacob, (Isaiah 48:20,) here adds an explication and limitation of the blessing, and declares that wicked men should not enjoy the benefit of this mercy. And by the wicked, he means the unbelieving and ungodly Jews; of whom these very words are used again, (Isaiah 57:21,) and for whom such a denunciation was very proper and necessary, because they were exceeding prone to cry, Peace, Peace, to themselves, when there was no solid ground of peace. This, therefore, was a very seasonable caution to the Jews in Babylon, to take heed to themselves, and prepare for this mercy. For those of them who should either wickedly tarry in Babylon, when God invited and required them to go out of it, and return to their own land; or who should continue in wickedness when they had returned, should not enjoy the tranquillity and comfort which they promised themselves. “There is no peace,” says Vitringa, “no serenity of mind and conscience; more desirable than all blessings, superior to all conception; there is no durable prosperity on earth, no eternal salvation or hope of salvation to hypocrites, unbelievers, and profane persons; to despisers of God and his prophetic word; to those who honour him with their lips, but in mind and affection are alienated and removed to a great distance from him, remaining in a state of impenitence. But why? Because they have no part in the righteousness and favour of God, which is not obtained without faith, reverence for the divine word, and an humble obedience to the divine commands.” 48:16-22 The Holy Spirit qualifies for service; and those may speak boldly, whom God and his Spirit send. This is to be applied to Christ. He was sent, and he had the Spirit without measure. Whom God redeems, he teaches; he teaches to profit by affliction, and then makes them partakers of his holiness. Also, by his grace he leads them in the way of duty; and by his providence he leads in the way of deliverance. God did not afflict them willingly. If their sins had not turned them away, their peace should have been always flowing and abundant. Spiritual enjoyments are ever joined with holiness of life and regard to God's will. It will make the misery of the disobedient the more painful, to think how happy they might have been. And here is assurance given of salvation out of captivity. Those whom God designs to bring home to himself, he will take care of, that they want not for their journey. This is applicable to the grace laid up for us in Jesus Christ, from whom all good flows to us, as the water to Israel out of the rock, for that Rock was Christ. The spiritual blessings of redemption, and the rescue of the church from antichristian tyranny, are here pointed to. But whatever changes take place, the Lord warned impenitent sinners that no good would come to them; that inward anguish and outward trouble, which spring from guilt and from the Divine wrath, must be their portion for ever.There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked - This verse contains a sentiment whose truth no one can doubt. To the transgressor of the laws of God there can be no permanent peace, enjoyment, or prosperity. The word peace is used in the Scriptures in all these senses (see the note at Isaiah 48:18). There may be the appearance of joy, and there may be temporary prosperity. But there is no abiding, substantial, permanent happiness, such as is enjoyed by those who fear and love God. This sentiment occurs not unfrequently in Isaiah. It is repeated in Isaiah 57:21; and in Isaiah 57:20, he says that 'the wicked are like the troubled sea when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.' Of the truth of the declaration here there can be no doubt; but it is not perfectly apparent why it is introduced here. It is probably a part of the song with which they would celebrate their return; and it may have been used for one of the following reasons:

1. As a general maxim, expressed in view of the joy which they had in their return to their own land. They had elevated peace and triumph and joy. This was produced by the fact that they had evidence that they were the objects of the divine favor and protection. How natural was it in view of these blessings to say, that the wicked had no such comfort, and in general, that there was no peace to them of any kind, or from any quarter. Or,

2. It may have been uttered in view of the fact that many of their countrymen may have chosen to remain in Babylon when they returned to their own land. They probably formed connections there, amassed wealth, and refused to attend those who returned to Judea to rebuild the temple. And the meaning may be, that they, amidst all the wealth which they might have gained, and amidst the idolatries which prevailed in Babylon, could never enjoy the peace which they now had in their return to the land of their fathers.

Whatever was the reason why it was used here, it contains a most important truth which demands the attention of all people. The wicked, as a matter of sober truth and verity, have no permanent and substantial peace and joy. They have none:

1. In the act of wickedness. Sin may be attended with the gratifications of bad passions, but in the act of sinning, as such, there can be no substantial happiness.

2. They have no solid, substantial, elevated peace in the business or the pleasures of life. This world can furnish no such joys as are derived from the hope of a life to come. Pleasures 'pall upon the sense,' riches take wings; disappointment comes; and the highest earthly and sensual pleasure leaves a sad sense of want - a feeling that there is something in the capacities and needs of the undying mind which has not been filled.

3. They have no peace of conscience; no deep and abiding conviction that they are right. They are often troubled; and there is nothing which this world can furnish which will give peace to a bosom that is agitated with a sense of the guilt of sin.

4. They have no peace on a deathbed. There may be stupidity, callousness, insensibility, freedom from much pain or alarm. But that is not peace, anymore than sterility is fruitfulness; or than death is life; or than the frost of winter is the verdure of spring; or than a desert is a fruitful field.

5. There is often in these circumstances the reverse of peace. There is not only no positive peace, but there is the opposite. There is often disappointment, care, anxiety, distress, deep alarm, and the awful apprehension of eternal wrath. There is no situation in life or death, where the sinner can certainly calculate on peace, or where he will be sure to find it. There is every probability that his mind will be often filled with alarm, and that his deathbed will be one of despair.

6. There is no peace to the wicked beyond the grave. "A sinner can have no peace at the judgment bar of God; he can have no peace in hell." In all the future world there is no place where he can find repose; and whatever this life may be, even if it be a life of prosperity and external comfort, yet to him there will be no prosperity in the future world, and no external or internal peace there.

22. Repeated (Isa 57:21). All the blessings just mentioned (Isa 48:21) belong only to the godly, not to the wicked. Israel shall first cast away its wicked unbelief before it shall inherit national prosperity (Zec 12:10-14; 13:1, 9; 14:3, 14, 20, 21). The sentiment holds good also as to all wicked men (Job 15:20-25, 31-34). God having in the next foregoing verses foretold, that peace and blessed deliverance which he would certainly give to his servant Jacob, Isaiah 48:20, he here adds an explication and limitation of this mercy, and declareth that wicked men should not enjoy the benefit of this mercy; where, by the wicked, he means either,

1. The Babylonians, who well deserved that title; who shall be destroyed, when God’s Israel shall be delivered: or rather,

2. The unbelieving and ungodly Jews, of whom these very words are used again, Isaiah 57:21, and to whom such a denunciation as this was far more proper and necessary, at least in this place, than to the Babylonians; for he had already said far more and worse things than this concerning them, having again and again declared that Babylon should be destroyed, in order to this deliverance of God’s people out of it. But there was great need why he should say this to the ungodly Jews, because they were exceeding prone to cry, Peace, peace to themselves, when there was no solid ground of peace; and they confidently expected a share in this great deliverance. This therefore was a very seasonable caution to the Jews in Babylon to take heed to themselves, and to prepare for this mercy, and to purify themselves from ali wickedness; because those of them who should either wickedly tarry in Babylon, when God invited and required them to go out of it, and when their godly brethren returned to their own land, and to the place of God’s worship; or continue in wickedness, when they were restored to their own country; should not enjoy that tranquillity and comfort which they promised to themselves. And the necessity of this commination appears from the event; for the Jews that returned to Canaan did, for the most part, relapse to many of their former sins, and therefore fell short of that peace and prosperity which otherwise they might have enjoyed. There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked,.... To Nebuchadnezzar and his seed, says Jarchi; to the Babylonians, say Aben Ezra and Kimchi; who enjoyed no more peace and prosperity, being conquered by Cyrus, and their monarchy dissolved, and put an end to: but rather this is to be understood of the wicked among the Jews; which sense Aben Ezra mentions, though he prefers the former; and either those are meant, who refused to go out of Babylon, and the land of Chaldea, when they might, but continued among an idolatrous people, and therefore are threatened with want of peace and prosperity; or rather the Jews in the times of Christ and his apostles, who disbelieved the Messiah, despised his Gospel, and rejected his ordinances; the consequence of which was, they had no peace, no outward prosperity, but all the reverse; their nation, city, and temple, were destroyed, and they carried captive, and scattered up and down in the world; nor any inward spiritual peace, nor eternal happiness; for blaspheming and contradicting the word of the Gospel, and putting it away from them, they judged themselves unworthy of everlasting life; and the apostles were bid to turn from them to the Gentiles, and preach the Gospel to them; hence the next chapter begins,

listen, O isles, unto me, &c.; see Luke 19:4.

There is no {a} peace, saith the LORD, to the wicked.

(a) Thus he speaks that the wicked hypocrites should not abuse God's promise, in whom was neither faith nor repentance, as in Isa 57:21

22. The words are taken from ch. Isaiah 57:21, where, however, they stand in their proper connexion. Here they are either a gloss or an editorial insertion intended to mark the close of a division of the prophecy. see the Introduction, p. x.Verse 22. - There is no peace, etc. This warning phrase occurs again, "in the manner of a refrain" (Cheyne), at the close of what most commentators regard as the second section of this portion of Isaiah's work (Isaiah 57:21). The third section closes with a still more solemn warning (Isaiah 66:24).

The prophecy opened with "Hear ye;" and now the second half commences with "Hear." Three times is the appeal made to Israel: Hear ye; Jehovah alone is God, Creator, shaper of history, God of prophecy and of fulfilment. "Hearken to me, O Jacob, and Israel my called! I am it, I first, also I last. My hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: I call to them, and they stand there together. All ye, assemble yourselves, and hear: Who among them hath proclaimed this? He whom Jehovah loveth will accomplish his will upon Babel, and his arm upon the Chaldeans. I, I have spoken, have also called him, have brought him here, and his way prospers. Come ye near to me! Hear ye this! I have not spoken in secret, from the beginning: from the time that it takes place, there am I: and now the Lord Jehovah hath sent me and His Spirit." Israel is to hearken to the call of Jehovah. The obligation to this exists, on the one hand, in the fact that it is the nation called to be the servant of Jehovah (Isaiah 41:9), the people of sacred history; and on the other hand, in the fact that Jehovah is הוּא (ever since Deuteronomy 32:39, the fundamental clause of the Old Testament credo), i.e., the absolute and eternally unchangeable One, the Alpha and Omega of all history, more especially of that of Israel, the Creator of the earth and heavens (tippach, like nâtâh elsewhere, equivalent to the Syriac tephach, to spread out), at whose almighty call they stand ready to obey, with all the beings they contain. אני קרא is virtually a conditional sentence (Ewald, 357, b). So far everything has explained the reason for the exhortation to listen to Jehovah. A further reason is now given, by His summoning the members of His nation to assemble together, to hear His own self-attestation, and to confirm it: Who among them (the gods of the heathen) has proclaimed this, or anything of the kind? That which no one but Jehovah has ever predicted follows immediately, in the form of an independent sentence, the subject of which is אהבו יהוה (cf., Isaiah 41:24): He whom Jehovah loveth will accomplish his will upon Babylon, and his arm (accomplish it) upon the Chaldeans. וּזרעו is not an accusative (as Hitzig, Ewald, Stier, and others maintain); for the expression "accomplish his arm" (? Jehovah's or his own) is a phrase that is quite unintelligible, even if taken as zeugmatic; it is rather the nominative of the subject, whilst כּשׂדּים equals בּכּשׂדּים, like תהלתי equals תהלתי למען in Isaiah 48:9. Jehovah, He alone, is He who has proclaimed such things; He also has raised up in Cyrus the predicted conqueror of Babylon. The prosperity of his career is Jehovah's work.

As certainly now as הקּבצוּ in Isaiah 48:14 is the word of Jehovah, so certain is it that אלי קרבוּ is the same. He summons to Himself the members of His nation, that they may hear still further His own testimony concerning Himself. From the beginning He has not spoken in secret (see Isaiah 45:19); but from the time that all which now lies before their eyes - namely, the victorious career of Cyrus - has unfolded itself, He has been there, or has been by (shâm, there, as in Proverbs 8:27), to regulate what was coming to pass, and to cause it to result in the redemption of Israel. Hofmann gives a different explanation, viz.: "I have not spoken in secret from the beginning; not from the time when it came to pass (not then for the first time, but long before); I was then (when it occurred)." But the arrangement of the words is opposed to this continued force of the לא, and the accents are opposed to this breaking off of the אני שׁם, which affirms that, at the time when the revolution caused by Cyrus was preparing in the distance, He caused it to be publicly foretold, and thereby proclaimed Himself the present Author and Lord of what was then occurring. Up to this point Jehovah is speaking; but who is it that now proceeds to say, "And now - namely, now that the redemption of Israel is about to appear (ועתּה being here, as in many other instances, e.g., Isaiah 33:10, the turning-point of salvation) - now hath the Lord Jehovah sent me and His Spirit?" The majority of the commentators assume that the prophet comes forward here in his own person, behind Him whom he has introduced, and interrupts Him. But although it is perfectly true, that in all prophecy, from Deuteronomy onwards, words of Jehovah through the prophet and words of the prophet of Jehovah alternate in constant, and often harsh transitions, and that our prophet has this mark of divine inspiration in common with all the other prophets (cf., Isaiah 62:5-6), it must also be borne in mind, that hitherto he has not spoken once objectively of himself, except quite indirectly (vid., Isaiah 40:6; Isaiah 44:26), to say nothing of actually coming forward in his own person. Whether this takes place further on, more especially in Isaiah 61:1-11, we will leave for the present; but here, since the prophet has not spoken in his own person before, whereas, on the other hand, these words are followed in Isaiah 49:1. by an address concerning himself from that servant of Jehovah who announces himself as the restorer of Israel and light of the Gentiles, and who cannot therefore be ether Israel as a nation or the author of these prophecies, nothing is more natural than to suppose that the words, "And now hath the Lord," etc., form a prelude to the words of the One unequalled servant of Jehovah concerning Himself which occur in chapter 49. The surprisingly mysterious way in which the words of Jehovah suddenly pass into those of His messenger, which is only comparable to Zechariah 2:12., Zechariah 4:9 (where the speaker is also not the prophet, but a divine messenger exalted above him), can only be explained in this manner. And in no other way can we explain the ועתּה, which means that, after Jehovah has prepared the way for the redemption of Israel by the raising up of Cyrus, in accordance with prophecy, and by his success in arms, He has sent him, the speaker in this case, to carry out, in a mediatorial capacity, the redemption thus prepared, and that not by force of arms, but in the power of the Spirit of God (Isaiah 42:1; cf., Zechariah 4:6). Consequently the Spirit is not spoken of here as joining in the sending (as Umbreit and Stier suppose, after Jerome and the Targum: the Septuagint is indefinite, καὶ τὸ πνεῦμα αὐτοῦ); nor do we ever find the Spirit mentioned in such co-ordination as this (see, on the other hand, Zechariah 7:12, per spiritum suum). The meaning is, that it is also sent, i.e., sent in and with the servant of Jehovah, who is peaking here. To convey this meaning, there was no necessity to write either ורוּחו אתי שׁלח or ואת־רוחו שׁלחוי, since the expression is just the same as that in Isaiah 29:7, וּמצדתהּ צביה; and the Vav may be regarded as the Vav of companionship (Mitschaft, lit., with-ship, as the Arabs call it; see at Isaiah 42:5).

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