Listen to me, you that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear you not the reproach of men, neither be you afraid of their revilings.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Ye that know righteousness.—Jehovah, through His Servant, speaks to the Israel within Israel, the Church within the Church. They need support against the scorn and reproach of men, and are to find it in the thought that the revilers perish and that Jehovah is eternal.Isaiah 51:7-8. Hearken, ye that know righteousness — Who not only understand, but love and practise it; whose persons are justified, whose nature is renewed, and whose lives are subject to my laws. These seem to be distinguished from those who are spoken of (Isaiah 51:1) as following after righteousness. These had attained what the others were only in pursuit of. The people in whose heart is my law — Who are here opposed to the carnal Jews, that had the law written only on tables of stone. Compare 2 Corinthians 3:3; Hebrews 8:10. Fear ye not the reproach of men — The censures of your carnal countrymen, who load their believing and godly brethren with a world of reproaches; but let not these things discourage you: for the moth shall eat them up, &c. — Those that reproach you shall be easily and soon destroyed, and so God will avenge your cause upon them, and deliver you from their injurious treatment; and the worm shall eat them like wool — Like a woollen garment, which is sooner corrupted by moths, or such creatures, than linen.
Fear ye not the reproach of men - If we have the promise of God, and the assurance of his favor, we shall have no occasion to dread the reproaches and the scoffs of people (compare Matthew 10:28).That know righteousness; that love and practise it, as knowing is commonly used.
In whose heart is my law; who are tacitly opposed to the carnal Jews that had the law written only in tables. Compare 2 Corinthians 3:3 Hebrews 8:10.
The reproach of men; the censures of the carnal Jews. who will lead their believing and godly brethren with a world of reproaches: but let not these things discourage you.
the people in whose heart is my law; not in their heads only, but in their hearts; having an understanding of it, an affection for it, and the bias of their minds toward it; being written there by the finger of the divine Spirit, according to the covenant of grace, Jeremiah 31:33, and not in tables of stone, as the law of Moses, and of which this is not to be understood; but of the law or doctrine of Christ, even the everlasting Gospel; which coming with power, and the Holy Ghost, into the hearts of the Lord's people, is received by them with great approbation and affection, in faith and love; they obey it from their hearts, and are cast into the mould of it:
fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings; either of the Jews, the Scribes and Pharisees, for renouncing a pharisaical righteousness, and embracing the righteousness of Christ; for rejecting the traditions of the elders, the rituals of the ceremonial law, and the doctrine of justification by the works of the moral law; and for cordially receiving the pure Gospel of Christ: or of idolatrous Heathens, from whom they were called, and that for leaving the religion of their country, and the gods of their fathers, and professing the one only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom he has sent: or of the antichristian worshippers, and of the man of sin at the head of them, who belches out his blasphemies against God and Christ, his tabernacle and saints; but neither their shocking blasphemies, nor spiteful taunts and jeers, nor menacing words, nor even cruel persecutions, should deter the saints from the profession of Christ and his Gospel.Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness, the people in whose heart is my law; fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. To know righteousness does not differ in meaning from “follow after righteousness” in Isaiah 51:1. Both expressions refer to righteousness in the ethical sense; there it is represented as an ideal steadily pursued, here as a rule of life apprehended by the heart and conscience. This inward possession of righteousness is the earnest of the external righteousness, the vindication of right, spoken of in Isaiah 51:6; Isaiah 51:8.
the people in whose heart is my instruction] Cf. Jeremiah 31:33.
7, 8. In the hope of this everlasting salvation the true Israelites may well endure for a season the reproach of men.Verse 7. - Hearken unto me, ye that know righteousness. The highest grade of faithfulness is here addressed - not those who "seek" (ver. 1), but those who have found - who "know righteousness," and have the "law" of God in their "hearts." Such persons may still be liable to one weakness - they may "fear the reproach of men." The prophet exhorts them to put aside this fear, remembering
(1) the nothingness of humanity, and
(2) the eternity and imperishableness of God's judgments. Isaiah 51:2 informs them who the rock and the hollow of the pit are, viz., Abraham your forefather, and Sarah techōlelkhem, who bare you with all the pains of childbirth: "you," for the birth of Isaac, the son of promise, was the birth of the nation. The point to be specially looked at in relation to Abraham (in comparison with whom Sarah falls into the background) is given in the words quod unum vocavi eum (that he was one when I called him). The perfect קראתיו relates the single call of divine grace, which removed Abraham from the midst of idolaters into the fellowship of Jehovah. The futures that follow (with Vav cop.) point out the blessing and multiplication that were connected with it (Genesis 12:1-2). He is called one ('echâd as in Ezekiel 33:24; Malachi 2:15), because he was one at the time of his call, and yet through the might of the divine blessing became the root of the whole genealogical tree of Israel, and of a great multitude of people that branched off from it. This is what those who are now longing for salvation are to remember, strengthening themselves by means of the olden time in their faith in the future which so greatly resembles it. The corresponding blessing is expressed in preterites (nicham, vayyâsem), inasmuch as to the eye of faith and in prophetic vision the future has the reality of a present and the certainty of a completed fact. Zion, the mother of Israel (Isaiah 50:1), the counterpart of Sarah, the ancestress of the nation-Zion, which is now mourning so bitterly, because she is lying waste and in ruins - is comforted by Jehovah. The comforting word of promise (Isaiah 40:1) becomes, in her case, the comforting fact of fulfilment (Isaiah 49:13). Jehovah makes her waste like Eden (lxx ὡς παράδεισον), like a garden, as glorious as if it had been directly planted by Himself (Genesis 13:10; Numbers 24:6). And this paradise is not without human occupants; but when you enter it you find joy and gladness therein, and hear thanksgiving at the wondrous change that has taken place, as well as the voice of melody (zimrâh as in Amos 5:23). The pleasant land is therefore full of men in the midst of festal enjoyment and activity. As Sarah gave birth to Isaac after a long period of barrenness, so Zion, a second Sarah, will be surrounded by a joyous multitude of children after a long period of desolation.
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