King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Isaiah 57

The blessed death of the righteous. (1,2) The abominable idolatries of the Jewish nation. (3-12) Promises to the humble and contrite. (13-21)

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The blessed death of the righteous

1 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.

2 He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness.

The abominable idolatries of the Jewish nation

3 But draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress, the seed of the adulterer and the whore.

4 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.

5 Enflaming yourselves with idols under every green tree, slaying the children in the valleys under the clifts of the rocks?

6 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?

7 Upon a lofty and high mountain hast thou set thy bed: even thither wentest thou up to offer sacrifice.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 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?

12 I will declare thy righteousness, and thy works; for they shall not profit thee.

Promises to the humble and contrite

13 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;

14 And shall say, Cast ye up, cast ye up, prepare the way, take up the stumblingblock out of the way of my people.

15 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.

16 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.

17 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.

18 I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.

19 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.

20 But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt.

21 There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. The just. Christ, (C.) Josias, (Grot.) or any whose cause is just, yet finds no protection from such corrupt magistrates. H. — Evil, by the wicked, or to prevent his fall. 4 K. xii. 20. People little consider what a loss the world sustains, when those die who might have averted the divine wrath. C. — They are usually taken away, that they may not witness such misfortunes, and are settled in eternal peace. W.

Ver. 2. Bed. The grave which affords rest to the virtuous, Josias, &c. C.

Ver. 3. Sorceress. Sept. “lawless” children. H.

Ver. 4. Tongue, in contempt. Saints, and particularly Jesus Christ, have been exposed to ridicule.

Ver. 5. Comfort. Heb. “heat,” abandoning yourselves to shameful excesses. — Torrents, to avoid being seen. Such sacrifices would have been incredible, if the Scriptures, and all history did not prove their existence. Deut. xii. 31. Wisd. xii. 3. and 4 K. xxiii. 10.

Ver. 6. Them. The stones of the torrent, which were often the objects of adoration. Lev. xxvi. 1. Gen. xxviii. 18. The god, Helagabalus, was a rough boundary stone.

Ver. 7. Bed, like a shameless prostitute. The idols are generally represented in this light, as corrupting God’s people. C.

Ver. 8. Remembrance. Domestic gods. S. Jer. The Lares or Penates were usually placed in the court or porch. The Jews probably used Hecate or Trivia, for the same purpose. C. lxv. 11. and lxvi. 17. To prevent this impiety, God had ordered some of the law to be written on the doors. Deut. vi. 9. But this it seems was disregarded. 4 K. xxiii. 8. and 1 Mac. i. 58. Ezec. viii. 5. — Near me. Idols were placed in the very temple. Jer. xxxv. 15. and 4 K. xxi. 4. Ezec. viii. 3. and xvi. 17. C. — Hand. Prot. “where thou sawest it.” Thou didst even invite thy lovers by presents. Ezec. xvi. 32. H.

Ver. 9. King. Moloc, or (C.) any foreign king, of whose alliance God did not approve. Theod. — To please them, the true religion was adulterated.

Ver. 10. Rest. They were obstinate before the coming of Nabuchodonosor, and of the Romans. — Asked. Confiding in their own strength.

Ver. 11. Afraid, since thou hast despised my, my laws and offers.

Ver. 12. Justice. He speaks ironically. C. — Self-righteousness is vicious. H.

Ver. 13. Companies, or princes, in whom thou hast confided. Assyria and Egypt cannot save themselves. C.

Ver. 14. And I. Seeing there is no aid in man, God will save his people for his own goodness’ sake. H.

Ver. 16. End. I will not always threaten or be angry. Gen. vi. 3. C. — Spirit. Holy Ghost. S. Iræn. v. 12. S. Aug. — God spares the humble penitent, and grants what they desire with as much eagerness as a sailor does a fair wind. W. — He does not regard the indifferent. H.

Ver. 17. Heart. Dreadful state of the abandoned sinner! Deut. xxxii.21. Ps. xii. 2. and xliii. 24.

Ver. 19. Lips. Whatever they could ask, so that they might sing canticles. All should be content. He alludes to the liberation of the captives, which was near, and to the redemption of mankind far off. C.

Ver. 20. Dirt. Lit. “treading,” conculcationem. H. — The works of the wicked are fruitless. They have no content. C.

Non enim gazæ neque consularis

Summovet lictor miseros tumultus,

Mentis et curas laqueata circum,

Tecta volantes. Hor. ii. ode 16.

— The obstinate sinner can receive no pardon. W.