Isaiah 28:12
To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(12) To whom he said, This is the rest . . .—The prophet vindicates himself against the charge of being a repeater of wearisome messages of rebuke. Rather had he pointed the way to a time of repentance, and therefore of rest and refreshment. But to this also they closed their ears. They had but one formula of derision, whatever might be the subject of the prophet’s teaching; and the prophet, with all the scorn of irony, repeats that formula in the words that follow.

28:5-15 The prophet next turns to Judah, whom he calls the residue of his people. Happy are those alone, who glory in the Lord of hosts himself. Hence his people get wisdom and strength for every service and every conflict. But it is only in Christ Jesus that the holy God communicates with sinful man. And whether those that teach are drunk with wine, or intoxicated with false doctrines and notions concerning the kingdom and salvation of the Messiah, they not only err themselves, but lead multitudes astray. All places where such persons have taught are filled with errors. For our instruction in the things of God, it is needful that the same precept and the same line should be often repeated to us, that we may the better understand them. God, by his word, calls us to what is really for our advantage; the service of God is the only true rest for those weary of the service of sin, and there is no refreshment but under the easy yoke of the Lord Jesus. All this had little effect upon the people. Those who will not understand what is plain, but scorn and despise it as mean and trifling, are justly punished. If we are at peace with God, we have, in effect, made a covenant with death; whenever it comes, it cannot do us any real damage, if we are Christ's. But to think of making death our friend, while by sin we are making God our enemy, is absurd. And do not they make lies their refuge who trust in their own righteousness, or to a death-bed repentance? which is a resolution to sin no more, when it is no longer in their power to do so.To whom he said - To whom God had said; that is, to the Jews. He had taught them the way of rest through the prophets, but they had refused to learn.

This is the rest - That is, this is the true way of happiness, to wit, by keeping the commands of God which had been so often repeated as to become to them objects of satiety and disgust.

This is the refreshing - This is the way in which the mind may be comforted.

12. Rather, "He (Jehovah) who hath said to them."

this … the rest—Reference may be primarily to "rest" from national warlike preparations, the Jews being at the time "weary" through various preceding calamities, as the Syro-Israelite invasion (Isa 7:8; compare Isa 30:15; 22:8; 39:2; 36:1; 2Ki 18:8). But spiritually, the "rest" meant is that to be found in obeying those very "precepts" of God (Isa 28:10) which they jeered at (compare Jer 6:16; Mt 11:29).

To whom he said, to which people the Lord, by his minister, said,

This, this doctrine or precept, as it is expressed, Isaiah 28:9,10, or the word of the Lord, as it follows, Isaiah 28:13, is the rest; the only way, in the observation of which you will find rest and satisfaction.

Cause the weary to rest, Heb. cause the weary (understand either soul or country) rest. As rest is offered to you by the prophets in God’s name, do you embrace it; which is to be done by hearkening to God’s word, as appears by the following clauses. So shall this people, which hath been so oft and so long wearied and harassed by great and manifold calamities, find rest and peace.

Yet they would not hear; they are wilfully ignorant, and obstinately refused the very means of instruction.

To whom he said,.... Either the Lord himself, or the prophet Isaiah; or rather the Lord by him, and other prophets; so the Targum,

"to whom the prophets said;''

that is, the true prophets of the Lord said to the people, or to the priests and other prophets; or Christ and his apostles, as follows:

This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest: and this is the refreshing: that is, by teaching the word of God, the true knowledge of him, and the sound doctrines of the Gospel, and the duties of religion; this would be the best way of casing and refreshing the minds and consciences of the people, burdened with a sense of sin, or distressed and disconsolate through afflictions and calamities upon them, and be the most effectual method of continuing them in ease and peace in their own land, and of preserving them from captivity, and other judgments threatened with; see Matthew 11:28,

yet they would not hear; having no regard to the Lord and his prophets; nor any compassion to their countrymen, afflicted and distressed in mind or body; nor to the doctrine of Christ and his apostles.

To whom {l} he said, {m} This is the rest with which ye may {n} cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.

(l) That is, the prophet, whom God would send.

(m) This is the doctrine on which you ought to stay and rest.

(n) Show to them that are weary and have need of rest, what the true rest is.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. To whom he said] Rather: He who said to them. The verse reproduces the tenor and aim of all Isaiah’s teaching (cf. Isaiah 28:16; ch. Isaiah 30:15). He had sought to point out the true way of rest for the exhausted nation by abstinence from the spirited foreign policy advocated by the anti-Assyrian faction. Two translations, however, are possible. Either: “This (Jerusalem) is the resting-place; give rest to the weary; and this is the place of refreshment”; or: This (line of action) is the (true) rest … and this is the (true) refreshment. The latter seems preferable. The word for “rest” (usually “resting-place”) is used in the same sense as here in 2 Samuel 14:17. “The weary” is the ordinary plebeian, who had everything to lose and nothing to gain, by the chances of war.

Verse 12. - To whom he said; rather, because he said to them. God had from remote times offered to his people "rest" and "refreshing" - or a life of ease and peace in Palestine - but on condition of their serving him faithfully and observing his Laws (Deuteronomy 28:1-14). But they had re-jeered this "rest," since they had refused to observe the condition on which it was pro-raised. Because they had thus acted, God now brought upon them war and a conqueror. Isaiah 28:12The prophet takes the ki ("for") out of their mouths, and carries it on in his own way. It was quite right that their ungodliness should show itself in such a way as this, for it would meet with an appropriate punishment. "For through men stammering in speech, and through a strange tongue, will He speak to this people. He who said to them, There is rest, give rest to weary ones, and there is refreshing! But they would not hear. Therefore the word of Jehovah becomes to them precept upon precept, precept upon precept, line upon line, line upon line, a little here, a little there, that they may go and stumble backwards, and be wrecked to pieces, and be snared and taken." Jehovah would speak to the scoffing people of stammering tongue a language of the same kind, since He would speak to them by a people that stammered in their estimation, i.e., who talked as barbarians (cf., βαρβαρίζειν and balbutire; see Isaiah 33:19, compared with Deuteronomy 28:49). The Assyrian Semitic had the same sound in the ear of an Israelite, as Low Saxon (a provincial dialect) in the ear of an educated German; in addition to which, it was plentifully mixed up with Iranian, and possibly also with Tatar elements. This people would practically interpret the will of Jehovah in its own patios to the despisers of the prophet. Jehovah had directed them, through His prophets, after the judgments which they had experienced with sufficient severity (Isaiah 1:5.), into the true way to rest and refreshing (Jeremiah 6:16), and had exhorted them to give rest to the nation, which had suffered so much under Ahaz through the calamities of war (2 Chronicles 28), and not to drag it into another way by goading it on to rise against Assyria, or impose a new burden in addition to the tribute to Assyria by purchasing the help of Egypt. But they would not hearken (אבוּא equals אבוּ, Isaiah 30:15-16; Ges. 23, 3, Anm. 3). Their policy was a very different one from being still, or believing and waiting. And therefore the word of Jehovah, which they regarded as en endless series of trivial commands, would be turned in their case into an endless series of painful sufferings. To those who thought themselves so free, and lived so free, it would become a stone on which they would go to pieces, a net in which they would be snared, a trap in which they would be caught (compare Isaiah 8:14-15).
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