Wesley's Notes on the Bible
The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart: and merciful men are taken away, none considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
57:1 The righteous - Just and holy men. No man - Few or none. Layeth it to heart - Is duly affected with this sad sign of God's displeasure.
He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.
57:2 He - This just and merciful man shall enter into a state of rest, where he shall be out of the reach of the approaching miseries. They - just men. Here is a sudden change of the number, which is very frequent in the prophets. Beds - In their graves, which are not unfitly called their beds, as their death is commonly called sleep in scripture.
But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.
57:3 Hither - To God's tribunal, to receive your sentence. Sons - Not by propagation, but by imitation. And the whore - Not the genuine children of Abraham, their dispositions were far more suitable to a bastardly brood, than to Abraham's seed.
Against whom do ye sport yourselves? against whom make ye a wide mouth, and draw out the tongue? are ye not children of transgression, a seed of falsehood,
57:4 Against whom - Consider whom it is that you mock and scoff, when you deride God's prophets. A seed - A generation of liars, whose practices contradict your professions, who deal deceitfully both with God and men.
Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?
57:5 Enflaming - Lusting after them, and mad upon them. Slaying - In way of sacrifice to their idols. Valleys - He seems to allude to the valley of Hinnom in which these cruelties were practised. Clifts - Which they chuse either for shade, or for those dark vaults, in rocks, which were convenient for idolatrous uses.
Among the smooth stones of the stream is thy portion; they, they are thy lot: even to them hast thou poured a drink offering, thou hast offered a meat offering. Should I receive comfort in these?
57:6 Portion - Thou hast chosen for thy portion those idols, which were worshipped by the sides of brooks or rivers where such smooth stones commonly lie. They - Thou hast forsaken me and chosen idols. Offered - For the devil is God's ape, and idolaters used the same rites and offerings in the worship of idols which God had prescribed in his own. Comfort - Should I be pleased with such a people and such actions?
Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.
57:7 Mountain - In high places, which were much used for religious worship, both by Israelites and by Heathens. Thy bed - Thine altar, in which thou didst commit spiritual whoredom with idols.
Behind the doors also and the posts hast thou set up thy remembrance: for thou hast discovered thyself to another than me, and art gone up; thou hast enlarged thy bed, and made thee a covenant with them; thou lovedst their bed where thou sawest it.
57:8 The posts - Behind the posts of the doors of thine house: where the Heathens placed their tutelar gods to whose protection they committed their houses, that so they might have their eyes and minds upon them, whensoever they went out or came in. Set up - Those monuments which thou didst set up there as remembrances of those idol - gods whom they represented. Discovered - Thou hast uncovered thy nakedness; to others beside me thine husband. Gone up - Into the adulterous bed. Enlarged - That it might receive many adulterers together. Thou hast multiplied thine idols and altars. A covenant - Thou hast covenanted to serve them.
And thou wentest to the king with ointment, and didst increase thy perfumes, and didst send thy messengers far off, and didst debase thyself even unto hell.
57:9 The King - The king of Assyria, called the king by way of eminency, to whom the Israelites in the days of Isaiah were very prone to trust, and send presents. And so the prophet passes from their idolatry to another sin, even their confidence in Heathen princes. Increase - Didst send great quantities. Far off - Into Assyria, which was far from Judea. Debase - Thou wast willing to submit to the basest terms to procure their aid.
Thou art wearied in the greatness of thy way; yet saidst thou not, There is no hope: thou hast found the life of thine hand; therefore thou wast not grieved.
57:10 Wearied - Thou hast not eased, but tired thyself with thy tedious journey. Yet - And yet thou didst not perceive that thy labour was lost. Hast found - Thou hast sometimes found success in these ways. Not grieved - Therefore thou didst not repent of thy sin herein.
And of whom hast thou been afraid or feared, that thou hast lied, and hast not remembered me, nor laid it to thy heart? have not I held my peace even of old, and thou fearest me not?
57:11 Feared - And who are they, the fear of whom drives thee to these wicked courses? Lied - That thou hast dealt thus perfidiously with me. Not remembered - Hast thou forgotten all those great things which I have done for thee. Held my peace - Have not I forbore to punish thee from time to time, that by this goodness I might oblige thee to love me. And thou - Or, therefore thou dost not fear or regard me. Thou abusest my long - suffering.
I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.
When thou criest, let thy companies deliver thee; but the wind shall carry them all away; vanity shall take them: but he that putteth his trust in me shall possess the land, and shall inherit my holy mountain;
57:13 But - But they shall be carried away suddenly and violently by the blast of mine anger. Vanity - A vapour which quickly vanishes away. Inherit - Shall enjoy my favour and presence in my temple.
And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.
57:14 And he - God will raise up a man who shall say with authority and efficacy. Cast up - Make causeways, where it is needful, for their safe and easy passage, and remove all things which may hinder them in their return.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made.
57:16 For - I will not proceed to the utmost severity with sinful men.
For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart.
57:17 Covetousness - Of which sin the Jews were eminently guilty. But this comprehends all those sins for which God contended with them. He went - Yet he was not reformed, but trespassed more and more.
I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.
57:18 Mourners - To those who are humbled under God's hand, that mourn in Zion for their own and others sins.
I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith the LORD; and I will heal him.
57:19 I create - I will by my almighty power produce. Peace - That peace which is not wrought by mens hands, but only by God's lips or word. The doubling of the word signifies the certainty and abundance this peace. Far off - To the Gentiles who are far from God, as well as to the Jews, who are called a people near unto God, Psal 148:14.
But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.
57:20 Cast up - Their minds are restless, being perpetually hurried with their own lusts and passions, and with guilt, and the dread of the divine vengeance.
There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.
57:21 No peace - Though they may have a great share of prosperity, yet they have no share in this inward, and spiritual, and everlasting peace.