The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whoever goes therein shall not know peace.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Isaiah 57:20-21).
And there is no judgment in their goings - Margin, 'Right.' The sense is, that there was no justice in their dealings. there was no disposition to do right. They were full of selfishness, falsehood, oppression, and cruelty.
They have made them crooked paths - A crooked path is an emblem of dishonesty, fraud, deceit. A straight path is an emblem of sincerity, truth, honesty, and uprightness (see Psalm 125:5; Proverbs 2:15; and the notes at Isaiah 40:4). The idea is, that their counsels and plans were perverse and evil. We have a similar expression now when we say of a man that he is 'straightforward,' meaning that he is an honest man.
crooked—the opposite of "straightforward" (Pr 2:15; 28:18).The way of peace they know not; they are of such turbulent spirits, living in such continual contentions and discords, that, breaking in pieces the very bonds of society, they neither know,
1. How to make and keep peace; neither,
2. Do they feel or enjoy the sweet fruits of it; and therefore by consequence,
3. They take not the course that leads to prosperity and happiness. They are not friends to peace.
There is no judgment, i.e. no justice, equity, faith, or integrity, which are the foundation of judgment,
in their goings; as paths did note their habitual way or manner of living, so goings do signify their actual progress in that way, or their works; thus Job 14:16.
They have made them crooked paths; they walk by no rule, which should discover the crooked from the straight; they are full of unevennesses and uncertainties, contrary to what David speaks, Psalm 26:12. The LXX. render it perverse. Moses joins them both together, Deu 32:5; and so doth Solomon, speaking what wisdom shall deliver from, Proverbs 2:15; and it stands in opposition to them that walk uprightly, Proverbs 28:18. It may note,
1. Their hypocrisy, that pretend one thing and do another, that oppress under a pretence of justice. Or,
2. Their professed and owned irregularities and deviations from the rule of justice. Shall not know peace, i.e. shall not experience it; whosoever do as they do will be turbulent and perverse, as they are, and have as little peace within, or happiness without, as they have, Isaiah 57:21. They shall be poisoned by having converse with them, as in Isaiah 59:5, which the next words do intimate.
and there is no judgment in their goings; no justice in their actions, in their dealings with men; no judgment in their religious duties, which are done without any regard to the divine rule, or without being able to give a reason for them; they have no judgment in matters of doctrine or worship; they have no discerning of true and false doctrines, and between that which is spiritual and superstitious in worship; they have no knowledge of the word of God, which should be their guide both in faith and practice; but this they do not attend unto:
they have made them crooked paths: they have devised paths and modes of worship of their own, in which they walk, and which they observe, that are not according to the rule of the word; but deviate from it; and so may be said to be crooked, as not agreeable to that:
whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace; the way of peace with God, as before; or he shall not have any experience of true, solid, and substantial peace in his own conscience now, and shall not attain to eternal peace hereafter.The way of peace they know not; and there is no judgment in their goings: they have made them crooked paths: whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)8. judgment here means right (R.V. marg.).
goings] tracks, a common word in the Book of Proverbs.
they have made them &c.] they have made their paths crooked. Cf. Proverbs 2:15; Proverbs 10:9; Proverbs 28:18.
whosoever goeth therein] i.e. makes common cause with them.Verse 8. - The way of peace they know not. They have no desire for "peace," and neither "seek" it nor "ensue" it (1 Peter 3:11). Peace can only be obtained through righteousness (Isaiah 32:17). There is no judgment in their goings; rather, no justice - no recognition of other men's rights, no endeavour to observe right in their own acts and proceedings (comp. ver. 4; and see also Isaiah 1:17, 21, 23; Isaiah 3:14, 15, etc.). They have made them crooked paths (comp. Proverbs 2:15; Proverbs 10:9; Proverbs 28:6). The way that leadeth to life is straight. They have wandered from it, and made for themselves "crooked" paths, which can only lead to destruction. In such paths there neither is nor can be "peace." Isaiah 50:2), or that He has not been aware of their desire for it, but that their iniquities (עונתיכם with the second syllable defective) have become dividers (מבדּלים, defective), have grown into a party-wall between them and their God, and their sins (cf., Jeremiah 5:25) have hidden pânı̄m from them. As the "hand" (yâd) in Isaiah 28:2 is the absolute hand; so here the "face" pânı̄m) is that face which sees everything, which is everywhere present, whether uncovered or concealed; which diffuses light when it unveils itself, and leaves darkness when it is veiled; the sight of which is blessedness, and not to see which is damnation. This absolute countenance is never to be seen in this life without a veil; but the rejection and abuse of grace make this veil a perfectly impenetrable covering. And Israel had forfeited in this way the light and sight of this countenance of God, and had raised a party-wall between itself and Him, and that משּׁמוע, so that He did not hear, i.e., so that their prayer did not reach Him (Lamentations 3:44) or bring down an answer from Him.
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