Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keeps the sabbath from polluting it, and takes hold of my covenant;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Also the sons of the stranger . . .—Proselytes also were to share in the blessings of the wider covenant. The words “to serve him” have been referred to some menial offices like that of the Nethinim, “hewers of wood and drawers of water” (Joshua 9:27; Ezra 8:20). The usage of the word, however, limits it to honourable functions. The germ of Isaiah’s thought appears in Solomon’s dedication prayer (1Kings 8:41-43). It receives its highest development (in its entire separation from the building with which there and here it is associated), in John 4:23. Comp. a further emancipation from the bondage of the law in Isaiah 66:21.Isaiah 56:6-7. The sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord — That with purpose of heart cleave unto him, as is said Acts 11:23. To love the Lord, to be his servants — To serve him out of love to him and to his worship. Them will I bring to my holy mountain — To my house which stood upon mount Zion, including mount Moriah; and make them joyful — By accepting their services, and comforting their hearts with the sense of my love; in my house of prayer — In my temple, in and toward which prayers are daily made unto me. Their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar — They shall have as free access to my house and altar as the Jews themselves, and their services shall be as acceptable to me. Evangelical worship is here described under such expressions as agreed to the worship of God which was then in use. My house shall be called a house of prayer for all people — Jews and Gentiles shall have equal freedom to my house, and shall there call upon my name. “The temple was originally designed for strangers as well as Jews, as a place to offer up their prayers to the Divine Majesty; which is sufficiently plain from the prayer of Solomon, at the dedication of it, though the number of proselytes was small till the time of the second temple. But there can be no doubt that this verse alludes particularly to the conversion of the Gentiles. This truth could not be told the Jewish people otherwise than by using terms taken from rites familiar to them, unless the nature of the Christian dispensation had been previously explained; a matter evidently unfit for their information, when they were yet to live so long under the Jewish law. For though the prophets speak of the little value of their regard to the ceremonial law, they easily make themselves understood, that they mean, when it was observed without the moral law; which they describe in the purity and perfection of the gospel. So admirable was this conduct, that while it hid the future dispensation it prepared men for it.” — Bishop Warburton’s Div. Leg. Upon the whole, the reader may observe, “that the principal scope of this paragraph is to teach that all the privileges of the covenant of grace should be common to all, without distinction of nation, state, or condition; that God would distribute to all believers, according to the measure of their grace, equal gifts, as our Lord hath taught in the parable of the labourers in the vineyard, Matthew 20.”Isaiah 56:3). The conditions on which they should be admitted to the same privileges are specified, and are the following:
1. They were to 'join themselves to the Lord' (see the note at Isaiah 56:3).
2. This should be with a purpose to 'serve him.' Their aim and design should be to keep his commandments and to do his will.
3. They were to 'love the name of the Lord;' that is, to love Yahweh himself, for the 'name' of the Lord is often used as denoting the Lord himself.
4. They were to keep his sabbaths (see the notes at Isaiah 56:4).
5. They were to take hold of his covenant (see the notes at Isaiah 56:4).That join themselves to the Lord; that with purpose of heart cleave unto him, as is said, Acts 11:23.
To serve him, and to love the name of the Lord; to serve him out of love to him, and to his worship. Isaiah 56:4 and who do this,
to serve him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be his servants; who give up themselves to him, not only to be saved by him, but to serve him in righteousness and holiness, with reverence and godly fear, and from a principle of love to him; being heartily desirous, and accounting it an honour, to be his servants:
everyone that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant; See Gill on Isaiah 56:4.Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6, 7. The answer to the misgivings of proselytes (Isaiah 56:3).
to serve him] Better as R.V. to minister unto him. The verb is used of honourable personal service (Genesis 39:4; Genesis 40:4), and especially of the priestly service of God at the sanctuary. It is found again in ch. Isaiah 60:7; Isaiah 60:10, Isaiah 61:6.
to love the name of the Lord] Cf. Deuteronomy 6:5; Deuteronomy 11:1, &c.
to be his servants] i.e. worshippers (a different word from that used above).Verse 6. - Also the sons of the stranger (comp. ver. 3). The proselytes shall not be treated as they fear. On the contrary, God will treat them in exactly the same way as his original people - will conduct them to Palestine, settle them in his "holy mountain," admit them to the temple services, accept their burnt offerings and their sacrifices. All this will be a foretaste of their position in the Christian Church, where there will be neither Jew nor Gentile, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision, but a community where all are brethren and all have equal privileges. Isaiah 52:12); "in peace," i.e., without having to fight their way through or flee. The idea of the sufferer falls back in הוּבל behind that of a festal procession (Psalm 45:15-16). In applying the term kaph (hand) to the trees, the prophet had in his mind their kippōth, or branches. The psalmist in Psalm 98:8 transfers the figure created by our prophet to the waves of the streams. Na‛ătsūts (from nâ‛ats, to sting) is probably no particular kind of thorn, such, for example, as the fuller's thistle, but, as in Isaiah 7:19, briers and thorns generally. On sirpad, see Ges. Thes.; we have followed the rendering, κόυζα, of the lxx. That this transformation of the vegetation of the desert is not to be taken literally, any more than in Isaiah 41:17-20, is evident from the shouting of the mountains, and the clapping of hands on the part of the trees. On the other hand, however, the prophet says something more than that Israel will return home with such feelings of joy as will cause everything to appear transformed. Such promises as those which we find here and in Isaiah 41:19 and Isaiah 35:1-2, and such exhortations as those which we find in Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:13, and Isaiah 52:9, arise from the consciousness, which was common to both prophets and apostles, that the whole creation will one day share in the liberty and glory of the children of God (Romans 8:21). This thought is dressed up sometimes in one for, and sometimes in another. The psalmists after the captivity borrowed the colours in which they painted it from our prophet (see at Psalm 96:1-13 and Psalm 98:1-9). והיה is construed as a neuter (cf., בּראתיו, Isaiah 45:8), referring to this festal transformation of the outer world on the festive return of the redeemed. אות is treated in the attributive clause as a masculine, as if it came from אוּת, to make an incision, to crimp, as we have already indicated; but the Arabic âyat, shows that it comes from אוה, to point out, and is contracted from ăwăyat, and therefore was originally a feminine.
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