Isaiah 6:12 Commentaries: "The LORD has removed men far away, And the forsaken places are many in the midst of the land.
Isaiah 6:12
And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the middle of the land.
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(12) And the Lord have removed men far away.—The words point to the policy of deportation adopted by the Assyrian kings. From the first hour of Isaiah’s call the thought of an exile and a return from exile was the key-note of his teaching, and of that thought thus given in germ, his whole after-work was but a development, the horizon of his vision expanding and taking in the form of another empire than the Assyrian as the instrument of punishment.

And there be a great forsaking.—Better, great shall be the deserted space. (Comp. Isaiah 5:9; Isaiah 7:22-23.) The words may have connected themselves in Isaiah’s thoughts with what he had heard before from the lips of Micah (Jeremiah 26:18; Micah 3:12).

6:9-13 God sends Isaiah to foretell the ruin of his people. Many hear the sound of God's word, but do not feel the power of it. God sometimes, in righteous judgment, gives men up to blindness of mind, because they will not receive the truth in the love of it. But no humble inquirer after Christ, need to fear this awful doom, which is a spiritual judgment on those who will still hold fast their sins. Let every one pray for the enlightening of the Holy Spirit, that he may perceive how precious are the Divine mercies, by which alone we are secured against this dreadful danger. Yet the Lord would preserve a remnant, like the tenth, holy to him. And blessed be God, he still preserves his church; however professors or visible churches may be lopped off as unfruitful, the holy seed will shoot forth, from whom all the numerous branches of righteousness shall arise.And the Lord have removed ... - The land shall be given up to desolation. The men - the strength of the nation - shall be taken to a distant land.

And there be a great forsaking - A great desolation; the cities and dwellings shall be abandoned by the inhabitants; compare Isaiah 17:2; Jeremiah 4:29; Zephaniah 2:4.

12. (2Ki 25:21).

forsaking—abandonment of dwellings by their inhabitants (Jer 4:29).

Have removed men far away; have caused this people to be carried away captive into far countries.

And there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land; till houses and lands be generally forsaken of their owners, either because fled away from the sword into strange lands, or because they went into captivity. And the Lord have removed men far away,.... Not to Babylon, but to the ends of the earth, into the most distant countries, by means of the Romans; for they were but instruments of carrying the Jews captive out of their own land, and dispersing them among the several nations of the world; it was the Lord's doing, and a judgment which he inflicted upon them for their sins:

and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land; not that there should be many left in the land, and multiply and increase in it; which is the sense of the Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, and Arabic versions; but that the land should be greatly forsaken of men; there should be many places in the midst of the land destitute of them; and this should continue a long time, as Kimchi observes, which therefore cannot be understood of the Babylonish captivity, but of their present one.

And the LORD have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst of the land.
12. and there be a great forsaking … land] Better, and great be the vacancy in the midst of the land. The word “vacancy” (deserted place) is used in Isaiah 17:9 : for the thought cf. ch. Isaiah 5:9, Isaiah 7:16 ff.Verse 12. - And the Lord have removed men far away. The Assyrian and Babylonian policy of deportation is pointed at. Pul had attacked the kingdom of Israel ten or twelve years before Uzziah's death, and had perhaps made the Assyrian policy known, though he had allowed himself to be bought off (2 Kings 15:19, 20). And there be a great forsaking; rather, and the desolation be great; i.e. till a great portion of Judah be depopulated. This confession was followed by the forgiveness of his sins, of which he received an attestation through a heavenly sacrament, and which was conveyed to him through the medium of a seraphic absolution. "And one of the seraphim flew to me with a red-hot coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth with it, and said, Behold, this hath touched thy lips, and thine iniquity is taken away; and so thy sin is expiated." One of the beings hovering round the Lord (there were, therefore, a large and indefinite number) flew to the altar of incense - the heavenly original of the altar of incense in the earthly temple, which was reckoned as belonging to the Most Holy Place - and took from this altar a ritzpâh, i.e., either a red-hot stone (Vulg. Calculum, Ar. radfe or radafe), or, according to the prevailing tradition, a red-hot coal (vid., râtzēph -râshaph, to scatter sparks, sparkle, or glow: syn. gacheleth), and that with a pair of tongs, because even a seraph's hand cannot touch the vessels consecrated to God, or the sacrifices that belong to Him. With this red-hot coal he flew to Isaiah, and having touched his mouth with it, i.e., that member of his body of whose uncleanness he had more especially complained (cf., Jeremiah 1:9, where the prophet's mouth is touched by Jehovah's hand, and made eloquent in consequence), he assured him of the forgiveness of his sins, which coincided with the application of this sacramental sign. The Vav connects together what is affirmed by nâga‛ (hath touched) and sâr (a taker away) as being simultaneous; the zeh (this) points as a neuter to the red-hot coal. The future tecuppâr is a future consec., separated by Vav conversive for the purpose of bringing the subject into greater prominence; as it is practically impossible that the removal of guilt should be thought of as immediate and momentary, and the expiation as occurring gradually. The fact that the guilt was taken away was the very proof that the expiation was complete. Cipper, with the "sin" in the accusative, or governed by על, signifies to cover it up, extinguish, or destroy it (for the primary meaning, vid., Isaiah 28:18), so that it has no existence in relation to the penal justice of God. All sinful uncleanness was burned away from the prophet's mouth. The seraph, therefore, did here what his name denotes: he burned up or burned away (Comburit). He did this, however, not by virtue of his own fiery nature, but by means of the divine fire which he had taken from the heavenly altar. As the smoke which filled the house came from the altar, and arose in consequence of the adoration offered to the Lord by the seraphim, not only must the incense-offering upon the altar and this adoration be closely connected; but the fire, which revealed itself in the smoke and consumed the incense-offering, and which must necessarily have been divine because of its expiatory power, was an effect of the love of God with which He reciprocated the offerings of the seraphim. A fiery look from God, and that a fiery look of pure love as the seraphim were sinless, had kindled the sacrifice. Now, if the fact that a seraph absolved the seer by means of this fire of love is to be taken as an illustrative example of the historical calling of the seraphim, they were the vehicles and media of the fire of divine love, just as the cherubim in Ezekiel are vehicles and media of the fire of divine wrath. For just as, in the case before us, a seraph takes the fire of love from the altar; so there, in Ezekiel 10:6-7, a cherub takes the fire of wrath from the throne-chariot. Consequently the cherubim appear as the vehicles and media of the wrath which destroys sinners, or rather of the divine doxa, with its fiery side turned towards the world; and the seraphim as the vehicles and media of the love which destroys sin, or of the same divine doxa with its light side towards the world.

(Note: Seraphic love is the expression used in the language of the church to denote the ne plus ultra of holy love in the creature. The Syriac fathers regarded the burning coal as the symbol of the incarnate Son of God, who is often designated in poetry as the "live or burning coal" (Kemurto denuro): DMZ. 1860, pp. 679, 681.)

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