King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Isaiah 64

The church prays that God’s power may be manifested. (1-5) A confession of sin, and afflictions bewailed. (6-12)

Isaiah 64 Audio:

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The church prays that God’s power may be manifested

1 Oh that thou wouldest rend the heavens, that thou wouldest come down, that the mountains might flow down at thy presence,

2 As when the melting fire burneth, the fire causeth the waters to boil, to make thy name known to thine adversaries, that the nations may tremble at thy presence!

3 When thou didst terrible things which we looked not for, thou camest down, the mountains flowed down at thy presence.

4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, what he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him.

5 Thou meetest him that rejoiceth and worketh righteousness, those that remember thee in thy ways: behold, thou art wroth; for we have sinned: in those is continuance, and we shall be saved.

A confession of sin, and afflictions bewailed

6 But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.

8 But now, O LORD, thou art our father; we are the clay, and thou our potter; and we all are the work of thy hand.

9 Be not wroth very sore, O LORD, neither remember iniquity for ever: behold, see, we beseech thee, we are all thy people.

10 Thy holy cities are a wilderness, Zion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation.

11 Our holy and our beautiful house, where our fathers praised thee, is burned up with fire: and all our pleasant things are laid waste.

12 Wilt thou refrain thyself for these things, O LORD? wilt thou hold thy peace, and afflict us very sore?

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Presence, as at Sinai. Ex. xix. 16. Judg. v. 4. Judas continues to pray. C. — The faithful sigh for Christ’s coming. H. — All good people desired it most fervently. W.

Ver. 2. They. Sept. “As wax melts before the fire, so also fire will burn the adversaries, and thy,” &c. H. — Burn. Sparks of fire seem to proceed from it.

Ver. 3. Bear. Ex. xx. 18. Heb. “expect.” Judas appeared victorious, when the nation was prostrate.

Ver. 4. Thee. Never was deliverance more unexpected or miraculous. S. Paul quotes this passage, to shew the wisdom manifested in the incarnation. 1 Cor. ii. 9. It is commonly applied to the glory of heaven.

Ver. 5. Thee. The little band of Judas was sincerely attached to the Lord. 2 Mac. i. 3. — Sinned. This excited thy anger. Yet thou wilt shew mercy. Sin is often put for punishment. C. — Vau means also, “for, and, yet.” Prot. “for we have sinned.” But we follow S. Jer. and the Vulg. W.

Ver. 6. Unclean: leper. Grot. Lev. xiii. 45. — Justices. That is, the works by which we pretended to make ourselves just. This is spoken particularly of the sacrifices, sacraments, and ceremonies of the Jews, after the death of Christ, and the promulgation of the new law. Ch. — The justice which is under the law is stated uncleanness, when compared with evangelical purity. Phil. iii. 8. — “If any one after the gospel…would observe the ceremonies of the law, let him hear the people confessing that all that justice is compared to a most filthy rag.” S. Jer. — The good works which are done by grace, and not by man alone, cannot be said to be of this description. They constitute the internal glory of man, and God will one day crown these his gifts. Of ourselves indeed we can do nothing, and the works of the Mosaic law will not avail, as S. Paul inculcates; but those works, point out the saint, which are preformed by charity with faith in Christ. This justice is not imputed only, but real; and shews where true faith exists, according to S. James. Thus the apostles explain each other. H. — Woman. Sept. “of one sitting down;” like Rachel. Gen. xxxi. 35. Sym. “lying-in.” Aq. “of proofs.” Grot. “like a plaster on a sore, which is thrown away.” Such were Alcimus, &c. C. — To practise (H.) the Jewish rites would now be sinful. M.

Ver. 7. Of thee; to remove thy indignation, like Moses, Jeremias, (vii. 15.) &c. See Ezec. xiii. 5.

Ver. 10. Desolate, under Antiochus Epiphanes. 1 Mac. i. 31. and iv. 38. C.