Isaiah 5:19
That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it!
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(19) That say, Let him make speed.—We have here, as in Isaiah 28:10, and Jeremiah 17:15, the very words of the wealthy scoffers of Judah. Such taunts are not peculiar to any age or country. We find them in the speech of Zedekiah (1Kings 22:24), in that of the mockers of 2Peter 3:4. In the name of Isaiah’s second son (Isaiah 8:3) we may probably find an answer to the taunt. The words “the counsel of the Holy One of Israel” were obviously emphasised with a sneer at the name on which Isaiah dwelt so constantly. (Comp. Isaiah 30:11.)

5:8-23 Here is a woe to those who set their hearts on the wealth of the world. Not that it is sinful for those who have a house and a field to purchase another; but the fault is, that they never know when they have enough. Covetousness is idolatry; and while many envy the prosperous, wretched man, the Lord denounces awful woes upon him. How applicable to many among us! God has many ways to empty the most populous cities. Those who set their hearts upon the world, will justly be disappointed. Here is woe to those who dote upon the pleasures and the delights of sense. The use of music is lawful; but when it draws away the heart from God, then it becomes a sin to us. God's judgments have seized them, but they will not disturb themselves in their pleasures. The judgments are declared. Let a man be ever so high, death will bring him low; ever so mean, death will bring him lower. The fruit of these judgments shall be, that God will be glorified as a God of power. Also, as a God that is holy; he shall be owned and declared to be so, in the righteous punishment of proud men. Those are in a woful condition who set up sin, and who exert themselves to gratify their base lusts. They are daring in sin, and walk after their own lusts; it is in scorn that they call God the Holy One of Israel. They confound and overthrow distinctions between good and evil. They prefer their own reasonings to Divine revelations; their own devices to the counsels and commands of God. They deem it prudent and politic to continue profitable sins, and to neglect self-denying duties. Also, how light soever men make of drunkenness, it is a sin which lays open to the wrath and curse of God. Their judges perverted justice. Every sin needs some other to conceal it.That say ... - They add one sin to another for "the purpose of defying" God, and provoking him to anger. They pretend that he will not punish sin; and hence, they plunge deeply into it, and defy him to punish them.

Let him make speed - Let him come quick to punish.

And hasten his work - His punishment.

That we may see it - An expression of defiance. We would like to see him undertake it.

The counsel of the Holy One ... - His threatened purpose to punish. This is the language of all sinners. They plunge deep into sin; they mock at the threatenings of God; they defy him to do his utmost; they do not believe his declarations. It is difficult to conceive more dreadful and high-handed iniquity than this.

19. work—vengeance (Isa 5:12). Language of defiance to God. So Lamech's boast of impunity (Ge 4:23, 24; compare Jer 17:15; 2Pe 3:3, 4).

counsel—God's threatened purpose to punish.

Let him, to wit, God, in whose name thou and other prophets are always reproving and threatening us.

Hasten his work, that we may see it; he only thinks to affright us with bugbears; but he either cannot or will not do us any harm: we do not fear him, let him do his worst; let him begin as soon as he pleaseth. Not that any of the Israelites were so impudent as to use these expressions; but this was the plain language of their actions; they lived as if they were of this opinion; their presumption and security showed their desperate contempt of God, and of all his judgments.

The Holy One of Israel; who by his holiness is engaged to punish us. They scornfully repeated the title usually given by the prophets unto God.

That say, let him make speed, and hasten his work,.... Either the punishment of their sins, threatened by the prophets; which, because not speedily and immediately executed, therefore they did not believe it ever would; and in a daring and insolent manner call upon God to inflict it:

that we may see it, or feel it; for, as for words or threatenings, they regarded them not; thus deriding God and his judgments, and disbelieving both, like the mockers in the last days, described in 2 Peter 3:3 and, in contempt of him, do not so much as mention his name; though the Syriac version expresses the word "Lord", and the Arabic version "God": or rather the great work of redemption and salvation by the Messiah; for, as they did not believe Jesus to be the Messiah, so they ridiculed and despised salvation by him, mocking him as a Saviour, and calling upon him, in a sarcastic way, to hasten and do his work he pretended to come about; see Matthew 27:42 for to the Jews in Christ's time this prophecy belongs. The Targum interprets it, "his miracle"; the Jews were always for signs and miracles; they sought them of Jesus of Nazareth; they urged the doing of them; they were very solicitous and importunate, and in haste to have them done, that they might see and believe, as they pretended; and expressed themselves in almost the same words as here; "what sign shewest thou then, that we may see and believe thee? what dost thou work?" John 6:30 this is an instance of their drawing iniquity and sin in the manner before complained of:

and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, that we may know it! not that they believed him to be the Holy One of Israel, but because the prophet had made mention of this title, Isaiah 1:4 as he often does in this prophecy afterwards, and applies it to the Redeemer; therefore they use it: so the Jews put an "if" upon Christ being the King of Israel, Matthew 27:42 wherefore, in a daring, jeering, and ironic manner, urge that what is said to be in the purposes and decrees of God, or what was agreed upon between him and the Messiah, who said he was the son of God, in the council and covenant of grace and peace, as pretended, might speedily come to pass; all which expresses their blasphemy, impiety, and unbelief; and shows that they did not believe, but derided any counsel or decree of God, respecting spiritual and eternal salvation by the Messiah, especially by Jesus of Nazareth: or the conversion of the Gentiles, or the spread of the Gospel, and the enlargement of the kingdom and interest of Christ in the world, are meant, Kimchi, on the text, owns that these words belong to the Jews in the present day, and makes this confession,

"it appears that our prophets said the truth for now we believe not.''

That say, {z} Let him make speed, and hasten his work, that we may see it: and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may know it!

(z) He shows what are the words of the wicked, when they are menaced by God's judgments, 2Pe 3:4.

19. An impious challenge to Jehovah to make good His words spoken through the prophet. This defiant unbelief seems to have been the reigning spirit in the political circles of Isaiah’s time; Isaiah 28:14 f., 22; cf. Jeremiah 5:12; Jeremiah 17:15.

Verse 19. - That say, Let him make speed, etc. Instead of trembling at the coming judgment of God, which Isaiah has announced, they pretend to desire its immediate arrival; they want to "see it." They walk, not by faith, but by sight. At the bottom of this pretended desire there lies a complete incredulity. The counsel; or, purpose, as in Isaiah 14:26. Of the Holy One of Israel. They use one of Isaiah's favorite titles of God (see note on Isaiah L 4), not from any belief in him, but rather in a mocking spirit. Isaiah 5:19Isaiah 5:19 shows very clearly that the prophet referred to the free-thinkers of his time, the persons who are called fools (nabal) and scorners (lētz) in the Psalms and Proverbs. "Who say, Let Him hasten, accelerate His work, that we may see; and let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come, that we may experience it." They doubted whether the day of Jehovah would ever come (Ezekiel 12:22; Jeremiah 5:12-13), and went so far in their unbelief as to call out for what they could not and would not believe, and desired it to come that they might see it with their own eyes and experience it for themselves (Jeremiah 17:15; it is different in Amos 5:18 and Malachi 2:17-3:1, where this desire does not arise from scorn and defiance, but from impatience and weakness of faith). As the two verbs denoting haste are used both transitively and intransitively (vid., Judges 20:37, to hasten or make haste), we might render the passage "let His work make haste," as Hitzig, Ewald, Umbreit, and Drechsler do; but we prefer the rendering adopted by Gesenius, Caspari, and Knobel, on the basis of Isaiah 60:22, and take the verb as transitive, and Jehovah as the subject. The forms yâchishâh and taboâh are, with Psalm 20:4 and Job 11:17, probably the only examples of the expression of a wish in the third person, strengthened by the âh, which indicates a summons or appeal; for Ezekiel 23:20, which Gesenius cites (48, 3), and Job 22:21, to which Knobel refers, have no connection with this, as in both passages the âh is the feminine termination, and not hortative (vid., Comm. on Job, at Job 11:17, note, and at Job 22:21). The fact that the free-thinkers called God "the Holy One of Israel," whereas they scoffed at His intended final and practical attestation of Himself as the Holy One, may be explained from Isaiah 30:11 : they took this name of God from the lips of the prophet himself, so that their scorn affected both God and His prophet at the same time.
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