Isaiah 29:21
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
Who cause a person to be indicted by a word, And ensnare him who adjudicates at the gate, And defraud the one in the right with meaningless arguments.

King James Bible
That make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought.

Darby Bible Translation
that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and pervert the judgment of the righteous by futility.

World English Bible
who cause a person to be indicted by a word, and lay a snare for the arbiter in the gate, and who deprive the innocent of justice with false testimony.

Young's Literal Translation
Causing men to sin in word, And for a reprover in the gate lay a snare, And turn aside into emptiness the righteous.

Isaiah 29:21 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

That make a man an offender - literally, 'who cause a man to sin' (מחטיאי machăṭı̂y'ēy); that is, who hold a man to be guilty, or a criminal. Lowth renders this singularly enough:

'Who bewildered the poor man in speaking.'

Grotius supposes it means, 'Who on account of the word of God, that is, the true prophecy, treat men as guilty of crime.' Calvin supposes it means, 'Who bear with impatience the reproofs and denunciation of the prophets, and who endeavor to pervert and distort their meaning.' Hence, he supposes, they proposed artful and captious questions by which they might ensnare them. Others suppose that it refers to the fact that they led people into sin by their new doctrines and false views. The connection, however, seems to require that it should be understood of judicial proceedings, and the sense is probably correctly expressed by Noyes:

'Who condemned the poor man in his cause.'

This interpretation is also that which is proposed by Rosenmuller and Gesenius. According to the interpretation above suggested, the word rendered 'who make an offender,' means the same as who holds one guilty, that is, condemns.

A man - (אדם 'âdâm). It is well known that this word stands in contradistinction to אישׁ 'ı̂ysh, and denotes usually a poor man, a man in humble life, in opposition to one who is rich or of more elevated rank. This is probably the sense here, and the meaning is, that they condemned the poor man; that is, that they were partial in their judgments.

For a word - (בדבר bedâbâr). "In" a word; denoting the same as "a cause" that is tried before a court of justice. So Exodus 18:16 : 'When they have "a matter" (דבר dâbâr "a word"), they come unto me.' So Exodus 18:22 : 'And it shoji be that every great "matter" (Hebrew every great "word") that they shall bring unto me.' So Exodus 22:8 (in the English version 9): 'For all manner of trespass,' Hebrew for every word of trespass; that is, for every suit concerning a breach of trust. So also Exodus 24:14 : 'If any man have "any matters" to do,' (Hebrew, 'any "words, '") that is, if anyone has a law suit.

And lay a snare - To lay a snare is to devise a plan to deceive, or get into their possession; as birds are caught in snares that are concealed from their view.

That reproveth - Or rather, that "contended" or "pleaded;" that is, that had a cause. The word יכח yâkach means often to contend with any one; to strive; to seek to confute; to attempt to defend or justify, as in a court of law Job 13:15; Job 19:5; Job 16:21; Job 22:4. It is also applied to deciding a case in law, or pronouncing a decision Isaiah 11:3-4; Genesis 31:37; Job 9:33. Here it means one who has brought a suit, or who is engaged in a legal cause.

In the gate - Gates of cities being places of concourse, were usually resorted to for transacting business, and courts were usually held in them Genesis 23:10, Genesis 23:18; Deuteronomy 17:5, Deuteronomy 17:8; Deuteronomy 21:19; Deuteronomy 22:15; Deuteronomy 25:6-7; Ruth 4:1. The sense is, they endeavored to pervert justice, and to bring the man who had a cause before them, completely within their power, so that they might use him for their own purposes, at the same time that they seemed to be deciding the cause justly.

And turn aside the just - The man who has a just or righteous cause.

For a thing of nought - Or a decision which is empty, vain (בתהו batôhû), and which should be regarded as null and void,

Isaiah 29:21 Parallel Commentaries

Library
If it is Objected, that the Necessity which Urges us to Pray is not Always...
If it is objected, that the necessity which urges us to pray is not always equal, I admit it, and this distinction is profitably taught us by James: " Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms" (James 5:13). Therefore, common sense itself dictates, that as we are too sluggish, we must be stimulated by God to pray earnestly whenever the occasion requires. This David calls a time when God "may be found" (a seasonable time); because, as he declares in several other
John Calvin—Of Prayer--A Perpetual Exercise of Faith

Christ Teaching by Miracles
We have seen how many valuable lessons our Saviour taught while on earth by the parables which he used. But we teach by our lives, as well as by our lips. It has passed into a proverb, and we all admit the truth of it, that "Actions speak louder than words." If our words and our actions contradict each other, people will believe our actions sooner than our words. But when both agree together, then the effect is very great. This was true with our blessed Lord. There was an entire agreement between
Richard Newton—The Life of Jesus Christ for the Young

Letter ii (A. D. 1126) to the Monk Adam
To the Monk Adam [3] 1. If you remain yet in that spirit of charity which I either knew or believed to be with you formerly, you would certainly feel the condemnation with which charity must regard the scandal which you have given to the weak. For charity would not offend charity, nor scorn when it feels itself offended. For it cannot deny itself, nor be divided against itself. Its function is rather to draw together things divided; and it is far from dividing those that are joined. Now, if that
Saint Bernard of Clairvaux—Some Letters of Saint Bernard, Abbot of Clairvaux

"And There is None that Calleth Upon Thy Name, that Stirreth up Himself to Take Hold on Thee,"
Isaiah lxiv. 7.--"And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold on thee," &c. They go on in the confession of their sins. Many a man hath soon done with that a general notion of sin is the highest advancement in repentance that many attain to. You may see here sin and judgment mixed in thorough other(315) in their complaint. They do not so fix their eyes upon their desolate estate of captivity, as to forget their provocations. Many a man would spend more affection,
Hugh Binning—The Works of the Rev. Hugh Binning

Cross References
Psalm 127:5
How blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them; They will not be ashamed When they speak with their enemies in the gate.

Isaiah 10:1
Woe to those who enact evil statutes And to those who constantly record unjust decisions,

Isaiah 32:7
As for a rogue, his weapons are evil; He devises wicked schemes To destroy the afflicted with slander, Even though the needy one speaks what is right.

Isaiah 59:15
Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey. Now the LORD saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.

Jeremiah 20:10
For I have heard the whispering of many, "Terror on every side! Denounce him; yes, let us denounce him!" All my trusted friends, Watching for my fall, say: "Perhaps he will be deceived, so that we may prevail against him And take our revenge on him."

Jeremiah 36:29
"And concerning Jehoiakim king of Judah you shall say, 'Thus says the LORD, "You have burned this scroll, saying, 'Why have you written on it that the king of Babylon will certainly come and destroy this land, and will make man and beast to cease from it?'"

Amos 5:10
They hate him who reproves in the gate, And they abhor him who speaks with integrity.

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