Isaiah 29:20
For the terrible one is brought to nothing, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
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(20) The terrible one.—The word stands, as in Isaiah 29:5, for the Assyrian invader; the “scorner,” for the prophet’s enemies who derided his message, and sought, “watching for iniquity,” to find an accusation against him.

Isaiah 29:20-21. For, &c. — Here we have the second event connected with the calling of the Gentiles, the punishment of the enemies of God and his truth. For the terrible one is brought to naught — The proud and potent enemies of those meek and poor believers, mentioned in the last verse, such as the unbelieving Jews and their rulers, and the heathen potentates, were in the first age of Christianity. And the scorner is consumed — The scornful opposers of God’s word and servants. And all that watch for iniquity — That early and diligently apply themselves to the practice of wickedness. That make a man an offender for a word — That condemn a man, as if he were a great criminal, for a verbal reproof; and lay a snare for him that reproveth — For God’s faithful prophets and ministers, whose office it is to reprove ungodly men; in the gate — Where the people used to assemble, both upon civil and sacred accounts, and where prophets used to deliver their prophecies. And turn aside — From his right; the just — Hebrew, the just, or righteous one, meaning chiefly the prophets and ministers of God, and especially Christ, often called the Just One, both in the Old and New Testaments; for a thing of naught — Not for any great advantage, but for a trifle, which was a great aggravation of their injustice, or, with vanity, as כתהוsignifies, that is, with vain and frivolous pretences, or without any colour of reason or justice. Vitringa applies all this to those who opposed Christ and his apostles.29:17-24 The wonderful change here foretold, may refer to the affairs of Judah, though it looks further. When a great harvest of souls was gathered to Christ from among the Gentiles, then the wilderness was turned into a fruitful field; and the Jewish church, that had long been a fruitful field, became as a deserted forest. Those who, when in trouble, can truly rejoice in God, shall soon have cause greatly to rejoice in him. The grace of meekness contributes to the increase of our holy joy. The enemies who were powerful shall become mean and weak. To complete the repose of God's people, the scorners at home shall be cut off by judgements. All are apt to speak unadvisedly, and to mistake what they hear, but it is very unfair to make a man an offender for a word. They did all they could to bring those into trouble who told them of their faults. But He that redeemed Abraham out of his snares and troubles, will redeem those who are, by faith, his true seed, out of theirs. It will be the greatest comfort to godly parents to see their children renewed creatures, the work of God's grace. May those who now err in spirit, and murmur against the truth, come to understanding, and learn true doctrine. The Spirit of truth shall set right their mistakes, and lead them into all truth. This should encourage us to pray for those that have erred, and are deceived. All who murmured at the truths of God, as hard sayings, shall learn and be aware what God designed in all. See the change religion produces in the hearts of men, and the peace and pleasure of a humble and devout spirit.For the terrible one - The violent one (עריץ ‛ârı̂yts), the oppressor, who had exercised cruelty over them. This, I suppose, refers to the haughty among the Jews themselves; to those who held offices of power, and who abused them to oppress the poor and needy.

And the scorner - (see Isaiah 28:14, Isaiah 28:22).

Is consumed - Shall be entirely destroyed.

And all that watch for iniquity - That is, who anxiously seek for opportunities to commit iniquity.

20. terrible—namely, the persecutors among the Jewish nobles.

scorner—(Isa 28:14, 22).

watch for—not only commit iniquity, but watch for opportunities of committing it, and make it their whole study (see Mic 2:1; Mt 26:59; 27:1).

The terrible one; the proud and potent enemies of those meek and poor believers now mentioned, such as the unbelieving Jews and the heathen potentates were in the first age of Christianity.

The scorner; the scornful opposers of God’s word and people. That watch for iniquity; that early and diligently apply themselves to the practice of wickedness, or to do mischief to others. For the terrible one is brought to nought,.... Who before was so to the people of God; meaning not Sennacherib king of Assyria, but some formidable enemy or enemies under the Gospel dispensation; as the Scribes and Pharisees, and the Jewish sanhedrim; who were "violent" (c), as it may be rendered, violent persecutors of the followers of Christ, the meek and poor before described; who were brought to nought, and their power ceased at the destruction of Jerusalem; and the Roman emperor, with all subordinate rulers and governors in the empire, who harassed the Christians in a terrible manner, but were at last brought to nought by Constantine, and their persecution ceased; and the Romish antichrist, who has been so terrible, that none could or dared oppose him; he in a little time will be brought to nought, and cease to be. The Septuagint version renders it, "the wicked one faileth"; and uses the same word (d), by which antichrist is described, 2 Thessalonians 2:8 also Satan, that terrible enemy of the saints, shall be brought to nought; first bound for a thousand years; and afterwards, being loosed, shall be taken again, and cast into the lake of fire; all which will be matter of joy to the meek and lowly:

and the scorner is consumed; the same as before, only represented under a different character; the Jew, that mocked at Christ, because of his meanness, and that of his followers, that scoffed at his doctrines and miracles; and the Gentile, that derided his cross, and the preaching of it; and antichrist, whose mouth is full of blasphemies against God, and his tabernacle, and them that dwell in it:

and all that watch for iniquity are cut off; that cannot sleep unless they commit it, and seek for and take all opportunities of doing it; or watch for iniquity in others, in Christ, and the professors of his religion; or for anything they could call so, that they might have something to accuse them of, and charge them with, and a pretence to proceed against them in colour of law and justice: which has been the practice of Jews, Pagans, and Papists.

(c) "violentus", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius. (d)

For the terrible one is brought to nought, and the scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off:
20. the terrible one] or “tyrant” probably denotes an external oppressor (the Assyrian); cf. Isaiah 25:3-4; the scorner is the despiser of religion (ch. Isaiah 28:14; Isaiah 28:22; Psalm 1:1, &c.).

all that watch for iniquity] Perhaps “those who are wakefully intent upon plans of mischief” (Micah 2:1; Amos 8:5). Some think the phrase is ironical, implying that those spoken of were appointed to watch over right, but betrayed their trust in the manner described in Isaiah 29:21.Verse 20. - The terrible one... the scorner. "The terrible one" may be the foreign enemy, as in ver. 5, or, possibly, the native oppressor (Isaiah 1:23; Isaiah 5:93, etc.) - a still more tearful evil. "The scorner" is the godless man, who scoffs at religion (Isaiah 28:14, 22). Both classes would be "consumed" and "brought to naught" when the new state of things was established. All that watch for iniquity; i.e. "all those who, for the furtherance of their iniquitous schemes, rise up early and late take rest, and eat the bread of carefulness" (Psalm 127:2). This stupefaction was the self-inflicted punishment of the dead works with which the people mocked God and deceived themselves. "The Lord hath spoken: Because this people approaches me with its mouth, and honours me with its lips, and keeps its heart far from me, and its reverence of me has become a commandment learned from men: therefore, behold, I will proceed wondrously with this people, wondrously and marvellously strange; and the wisdom of its wise men is lost, and the understanding of its intelligent men becomes invisible." Ever since the time of Asaph (Psalm 50, cf., Psalm 78:36-37), the lamentation and condemnation of hypocritical ceremonial worship, without living faith or any striving after holiness, had been a leading theme of prophecy. Even in Isaiah's introductory address (chapter 1) this complain was uttered quite in the tone of that of Asaph. In the time of Hezekiah it was peculiarly called for, just as it was afterwards in that of Josiah (as the book of Jeremiah shows). The people had been obliged to consent to the abolition of the public worship of idols, but their worship of Jehovah was hypocrisy. Sometimes it was conscious hypocrisy, arising from the fear of man and favour of man; sometimes unconscious, inasmuch as without any inward conversion, but simply with work-righteousness, the people contented themselves with, and even prided themselves upon, an outward fulfilment of the law (Micah 6:6-8; Micah 3:11). Instead of נגּשׁ (lxx, Vulg., Syr., Matthew 15:8; Mark 7:6), we also meet with the reading נגּשׂ, "because this people harasses itself as with tributary service;" but the antithesis to richaq (lxx πόῤῥω ἀπέχει ) favours the former reading niggash, accedit; and bephı̄v (with its moth) must be connected with this, though in opposition to the accents. This self-alienation and self-blinding, Jehovah would punish with a wondrously paradoxical judgment, namely, the judgment of a hardening, which would so completely empty and confuse, that even the appearance of wisdom and unity, which the leaders of Israel still had, would completely disappear. יוסיף (as in Isaiah 38:5) is not the third person fut. hiphil here (so that it could be rendered, according to Isaiah 28:16, "Behold, I am he who;" or more strictly still, "Behold me, who;" which, however, would give a prominence to the subject that would be out of place here), but the part. kal for יוסף. That the language really allowed of such a lengthening of the primary form qatĭl into qatı̄l, and especially in the case of יוסיף, is evident from Ecclesiastes 1:18 (see at Psalm 16:5). In ופלא הפלא, פלא (cf., Lamentations 1:9) alternates with the gerundive (see at Isaiah 22:17): the fifth example in this one address of the emphatic juxtaposition of words having a similar sound and the same derivation (vid., Isaiah 29:1, Isaiah 29:5, Isaiah 29:7, Isaiah 29:9).
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