King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

Isaiah > Old Testament > Home

Isaiah 56

A charge to keep the Divine precepts. (1,2) Blessings promised. (3-8) Reproof to the careless watchmen, the teachers and rulers of the Jews. (9-12)

Isaiah 56 Audio:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A charge to keep the Divine precepts

1 Thus saith the LORD, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my righteousness to be revealed.

2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.

Blessings promised

3 Neither let the son of the stranger, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying, The LORD hath utterly separated me from his people: neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree.

4 For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant;

5 Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.

6 Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the LORD, to serve him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be his servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of my covenant;

7 Even them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer: their burnt offerings and their sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine altar; for mine house shall be called an house of prayer for all people.

8 The Lord GOD, which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.

Reproof to the careless watchmen, the teachers and rulers of the Jews

9 All ye beasts of the field, come to devour, yea, all ye beasts in the forest.

10 His watchmen are blind: they are all ignorant, they are all dumb dogs, they cannot bark; sleeping, lying down, loving to slumber.

11 Yea, they are greedy dogs which can never have enough, and they are shepherds that cannot understand: they all look to their own way, every one for his gain, from his quarter.

12 Come ye, say they, I will fetch wine, and we will fill ourselves with strong drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

« »

G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Judgment, the right resolution to do God’s will, which justice executes. C. xxxii. W. — My justice. Sept. “mercy.” Christ is at hand. Prepare for your deliverance, by keeping the commandments.

Ver. 2. Sabbath. All the Jewish festivals, (C.) as well as those of the Christian Church, (H.) and the whole law. W.

Ver. 3. People. The Jews would not admit all nations to their communion. Deut. xxxiii. 1. A little before Christ’s coming, they began to make more proselytes; (Mat. xxiii. 15.) and the sacred books being translated, came to the knowledge of the Gentiles, who were thus induced by degrees to embrace the true faith. The road to heaven was always open for those who kept the commandments, (v. 6. C.) though they might not receive circumcision. H. — Christ has removed the wall of separation, (Eph. ii. 14. C.) and established one fold for all. Jo. x. H.

Ver. 4. Eunuchs. It was ignominious to have no children among the Jews, as the propagation of the true religion depended much on their numbers. But now, since the Church is gathered from all nations, virginity is preferable to marriage, and those who keep the sabbath, or all the commandments, and choose this state freely, will receive greater glory than the other sons and daughters of God. Against this plain meaning, P. Martyr (de C┼ôlib.) asserts that God prefers eunuchs only because before those who transgress the law. But he gives them a place better than his other sons, &c.! Prot. (Bib. 1603) understand that eunuchs shall be called after (or according to) God’s people, and be of the same religion, which implies no preference at all. They add, therefore, yea, under Christ the dignity of the faithful shall be greater than the Jews were at that time; as if the comparison were between God’s servants before and after Christ, and not between eunuchs and such as have children. How much better is it for us to follow the holy Fathers, who hence commend those who make a vow of perpetual chastity? They shall possess an excellent dignity among the angels. S. Bas. virg. — The rewards of continency are great, eximia. S. Cyr. Alex. hic. — “In the eternal mansion they are preferred before children.” S. Greg. past. iii. 29. &c. W. — Such spiritual eunuchs, as S. John the evangelist, are meant. “He hath chosen what the Lord would, that he should offer more than was commanded…He who is an eunuch, and performs all that is prescribed, shall have…the best place, so that he shall be a tower, and occupy the rank of a priest, and instead of children of the flesh, shall have many spiritual children.” S. Jer. H. — The law excluded eunuchs from the Church. Deut. xxiii. 1. But under the gospel, they may enter heaven. Mat. xix. and 1 Cor. vii. 32. &c. Daniel (i. 3.) and his companions were eunuchs, yet in high estimation; and virtuous eunuchs are commended. Wisd. iii. 13. C. — Choose. Observing the commandments and counsels, like religious men. M. — Those who choose to do more than is commanded, will have a greater reward. W.

Ver. 7. Prayer. So the temple is justly styled. H. — This shall be open to all nations. After the captivity, the Jews condescended to let the Gentiles have a court, and they even suffered some princes to go into the court of the priests. 2 Mac. iii. 33. Physcon wished to penetrate into the inner sanctuary, (3 Mac. Eccli. l.) which could not be granted.

Ver. 9. Beasts. Here a fresh discourse begins to C. lxi. The Chaldees and Romans are invited to punish God’s people for their sins, committed before the captivity. Zac. xiv. 2. C. — The prophet foresees the negligence of some pastors, and denounces their rigorous chastisement. W.

Ver. 10. Watchmen. Priests and prophets. C. — We know (H.) only Jeremias who continued firm. Lam. ii. 14. In the days of Christ, the corruption was not diminished. C.

Ver. 11. Last. The scribes devour the houses of widows, making long prayers. Mat. xxiii. 14. They are blind. Mat. xv. 14. H.