Pictures of Idolatry
Isaiah 57:3-10
But draw near here, you sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.…

The idolaters are summoned to hear the judgment upon them. They are characterized as "sons of a sorceress, seed of an adulterer." The source of all idolatry is unfaithfulness to God regarded as the Husband of his people (Ezekiel 16:44, 45). Yet, in their pride, these idolaters make sport of and scoff at the true servants of God.

I. THE RITES OF IDOLATRY. There were enthusiastic orgies in the sacred groves of oak and in the gardens (Isaiah 1:29; Ezekiel 6:13; Hosea 4:13). There were sacrifices of children to Moloch. There were fetish-stones, which were anointed with oil, and these continued to be devoted to heathen uses. And Israel, having by covenant a "portion," or property, so to speak, in God, has exchanged this for the senseless stones; and to these food-offerings are made. The pictures of Phoenician, Israelitish, and Greek superstitions are in this respect much the same. Jehovah, in that jealousy which is the expression of a holy love, is deeply grieved by these things.

II. THE PROFLIGACY OF IDOLATRY. On the high hills shrines were erected, and tombs are still seen upon them, overshadowed by the tree on which votive offerings hang. Saints or prophets have replaced the old gods. Here idolatrous symbols were set up. And idolatry polluting politics, the people negotiated and coquetted with heathen powers, and humbled themselves to the lowest servility. And yet these negotiations and journeys had been in vain. For all that, the attempts had been renewed. "It is a striking illustration of men seeking happiness away from God. They wander from object to object; become weary in the pursuit, yet do not renounce it; still cling to hope, though often repulsed; though the world gives them no permanent comfort, though wealth, ambition, and gaiety, all fail of imparting happiness, - yet they do not give up the pursuit in despair. The world is still pursued with just as little success, with continually augmenting evidence that it cannot satisfy the desires of the immortal soul, with just as much reluctance to seek permanent bliss in God."

III. DIVINE REMONSTRANCE. The tone is one of gentleness and softness. "Who is there so strong and so terrible as to justify thee in thy infidelity to Jehovah? None." Yet there may be some excuse for them in his long silence. Passed over again and again, it might seem that God had forgotten to be gracious - that they were hidden from him. But now he will draw near again: "The speech of mingled mercy and judgment shall work more effectually on the heart" (cf Isaiah 46:13; Psalm 22:31; Psalm 98:2). Or the words may be taken ironically - it depends on whether we read "my righteousness" or "thy righteousness." In the coming trial, no help but Jehovah's will avail thee. "Her medley of gods" will not deliver her - the Pantheon of various divinations set up by her (cf. Micah 1:7). The wind shall carry them off like all dwellings and defences of merely human structure (cf. Matthew 7:26, 27).

IV. ETERNAL ASSURANCE. "To take refuge in Jehovah," in the Eternal, is the only safety, the only guarantee of stability and possession, amidst the flux and change of things. To say that they shall "possess the land" is to say, according to the manner of the Hebrew, everything that denotes favour for this life (Isaiah 49:8; Psalm 37:11, 29; cf. Matthew 5:5; Psalm 69:35, 36). And to "inherit the holy mountain" is to enter upon all spiritual privileges and joys - "as great as if they had possession of a portion of the mount on which the temple was built, and were permitted to dwell there." And then mysterious voices are heard, hinting that all obstacles shall be removed from the path of those who trust in God. The language is suitable to the return from exile, as if persons should go before them, crying, "Cast up!" So before a pacha the labourers go and remove stones out of the way, with the cry," Cast up the way; remove the stones!" (cf. Isaiah 26:7; Isaiah 35:8; Isaiah 40:3, 4; Isaiah 62:10). He who places obstacles in the path (Jeremiah 6:21) is he who gives command in his own time for their removal. War and peace, welfare and hindrances to welfare, are from the same hand. - J.

Parallel Verses
KJV: But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.

WEB: "But draw near here, you sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the prostitute.

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