The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 66

Isa 66:2

HAS NOT MY HAND MADE ALL THESE THINGS...?: "But who am I, and who are my people, that we should be able to give as generously as this? Everything comes from you, and we have given you only what comes from your hand" (1Ch 29:14).

Isa 66:3

V 3: "Some understand a comparison here and in the following lines. In God's sight the one who sacrifices is like (ie, regarded as) a murderer or one whose worship is ritually defiled or idolatrous... the language is not metaphorical, but descriptive of the sinners' hypocritical behavior. (Note the last two lines of the verse, which suggests they are guilty of abominable practices.) On the one hand, they act pious and offer sacrifices; but at the same time they commit violent crimes against men, defile their sacrifices, and worship other gods" (NET notes).

Isa 66:5

YOUR BROTHERS WHO HATE YOU: "All men will hate you because of me" (Mat 10:22). But such persecution is actually a sign of blessing (Luk 6:22)!

Isa 66:7

SHE DELIVERS A SON: Hezekiah, new-born from the brink of death, at the time of the great Assyrian crisis.

(NT) Christ the man-child born to Israel before the "travail" of 70 AD (Joh 16:20,21).

Isa 66:8

CAN... A NATION BE BROUGHT FORTH IN A MOMENT?: Those who are born anew in Christ, through the preaching of the apostles and others.

Isa 66:9

DO I BRING TO THE MOMENT OF BIRTH AND NOT GIVE DELIVERY?: Here is God's answer to the lament of Hezekiah at the time of the Assyrian invasion: "This day is a day of distress and rebuke and disgrace, as when children come to the point of birth and there is no strength to deliver them" (Isa 37:3). But the LORD did deliver! The "children" were the hundreds of thousands of captives dragged away to other parts of Sennacherib's empire, especially Babylon, and of refugees who had fled in terror to surrounding countries to escape the Assyrian cruelties. And now -- with the overthrown of the great host of God's enemies -- those captives would return, as though born again, immediately and without a struggle: the children of Zion!

Isa 66:11

Figure of mother and children in Isaiah: Isa 8:3,4; 11:8; 26:17,18; 28:9; 45:10,11; 46:3,4; 49:15,20-23; 54:1; 60:16; 66:11-13.

Isa 66:15

Vv 15,16: "There is no escaping the plain meaning of words like these. However figurative the expressions, their gist is unmistakable -- one day God will weary of mankind, and modern Sodoms like London and Los Angeles and Tel Aviv will feel the weight of His anger. In particular those Middle East nations which have stubbornly refused to recognize Israel's right to exist as God's people in God's Land will meet with retribution at the very time when they gloat over their achievement in wrestling the Holy City from Zionist intruders (cp Eze 35; Oba 1:17,18; Joel 3:18-21)" (WIsa 551). See //s in Isa 17:13,14; 29:5,6; 30:27,30-33; 31:9.

HIS CHARIOTS ARE LIKE A WHIRLWIND: Horses and chariots would kick up much dust, as would a whirlwind in the desert.

Isa 66:18

AND GATHER ALL NATIONS: Same words used in Jesus' judgment parable of Mat 25:32.

Isa 66:19

TARSHISH (Psa 48:7) was a son of Javan (Gen 10:4); it is a name which came to refer to the Phoenicians, a sea-faring and trading people (hence such references as Jonah 1:3; Eze 27:12; 1Ki 9:26; 10:22; 2Ch 9:21). That Tarshish represents a latter-day power is evident both here and in Eze 38:13 (where it appears as an ally of Sheba and Dedan). In Isa 23 -- a prophecy concerning Tyre, there is plainly a strong link with "the daughter of Tarshish" and "the ships of Tarshish" (vv 1,6,10,14) -- this leads to the reasonable conclusion that Tarshish is another name for Tyre. (The proposed identification of Tarshish with England merely on the basis that the latter is -- or rather was -- a significant sea power is extremely tenuous at best.) See Lesson, Tarshish.

Isa 66:23

FROM ONE NEW MOON TO ANOTHER: "There is an evident counterpart to the Mosaic monthly institution in the blessed age that is coming with the advent of the saints to power. It is 'from one new moon to another', as well as from Sabbath to Sabbath, that all flesh appears in the temple courts to worship. It is 'every month' or once a month, that the Apocalyptic wood of life (the saints) yields its fruit for the healing of the nations (Rev 22:2), and it is 'according to his months' that the literal tree on both sides of the temple river yields its fruit 'whose leaf shall not fade, neither shall the fruit thereof be consumed... the fruit thereof shall be for meat and the leaf thereof for medicine' (Eze 47:12). There will be no monotony in a state of things in which the whole population is roused with the advent of every new moon in the heavens to a special service of worship and praise, and a special distribution of healing and blessing. The prospect of the Kingdom is a prospect of an endless succession of joyful activities" (LM 198).

Isa 66:24

"This v depicts a huge mass burial site where the seemingly endless pile of maggot-infested corpses are being burned" (NET notes).

"And apparently parts of the wreck of the Assyrian camp in the valley of Gehenna (Tophet: Isa 30:33) were preserved as a contemporary Belsen or Auschwitz -- an awe-inspiring memorial to the indignation of the Lord when challenged by the puny power of a human dictator... It became a lasting assurance to the inhabitants of Jerusalem that they need fear no renewal of the horrors of war during this reign" (WIsa 548).

THE BODIES OF THOSE WHO REBELLED AGAINST ME: Cp Isa 48:22; 57:20,21. These two similar references to the wicked divide the last portion of Isaiah (40-66) into three equal divisions of 9 chapters each (40-48; 49-57; 58-66).

Contrast with Isa 66:24: "the dead bodies of those who rebelled against me". Thus the three-fold division of this section of Isaiah: ending with wicked... wicked again... and finally, NO wicked! -- for they have all perished.

Thus, there is no peace for the wicked (Isa 48:22), and still no peace for the wicked (Isa 57:20,21)... until, finally, they all perish. Then, at last, they find "peace": the peace of death!

THEIR WORM WILL NOT DIE...: Cited by Jesus in Mar 9:43-48. In Jerusalem the deliberate preservation of some reminder of the fate of those who defy God (cp, perhaps, Isa 34:1-10). Cp Eze 39:11-22.

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