Isaiah 59:8 Commentaries: They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace.
Isaiah 59:8
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)
59:1-8 If our prayers are not answered, and the salvation we wait for is not wrought for us, it is not because God is weary of hearing prayer, but because we are weary of praying. See here sin in true colours, exceedingly sinful; and see sin in its consequences, exceedingly hurtful, separating from God, and so separating us, not only from all good, but to all evil. Yet numbers feed, to their own destruction, on infidel and wicked systems. Nor can their skill or craft, in devising schemes, as the spider weaves its web, deliver or save them. No schemes of self-wrought salvation shall avail those who despise the Redeemer's robe of righteousness. Every man who is destitute of the Spirit of Christ, runs swiftly to evil of some sort; but those regardless of Divine truth and justice, are strangers to peace.The way of peace they know not - The phrase 'way of peace' may denote either peace of conscience, peace with God, peace among themselves, or peace with their fellow-men. Possibly it may refer to all these; and the sense will be, that in their whole lives they were strangers to true contentment and happiness. From no quarter had they peace, but whether in relation to God, to their own consciences, to each other, or to their fellow-men, they were involved in continual strife and agitation (see the notes at 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.

8. peace—whether in relation to God, to their own conscience, or to their fellow men (Isa 57:20, 21).

judgment—justice.

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. The way of peace they know not,.... Neither the way of peace with God, supposing it is to be made by man, and not by Christ; and are ignorant of the steps and methods taken to procure it; nor do they know the way of peace of conscience, or how to attain to that which is true and solid; nor the way to eternal peace and happiness, which is alone by Christ, and the Gospel of peace reveals, to which they are strangers; nor the way of peace among men, which they are unconcerned about, and do not seek after, make use of no methods to promote, secure, and establish it; but all the reverse:

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." This second prophetic address continues the reproachful theme of the first. In the previous prophecy we found the virtues which are well-pleasing to God, and to which He promises redemption as a reward of grace, set in contrast with those false means, upon which the people rested their claim to redemption. In the prophecy before us the sins which retard redemption are still more directly exposed. "Behold, Jehovah's hand is not too short to help, nor His ear too heavy to hear; but your iniquities have become a party-wall between you and your God, and your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He does not hear." The reason why redemption is delayed, is not that the power of Jehovah has not been sufficient for it (cf., 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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