Isaiah 43:28
Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.
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(28) I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary.—Better, holy princes. The title is given to the chief priests in 1Chronicles 24:5. In the exile their priestly functions were in abeyance. They were practically desecrated.

The curse.—The cherem, or ban, answering to the anathema. The state described answers to that of Hosea 3:4.

43:22-28 Those who neglect to call upon God, are weary of him. The Master tired not the servants with his commands, but they tired him with disobedience. What were the riches of God's mercy toward them? I, even I, am he who yet blotteth out thy transgressions. This encourages us to repent, because there is forgiveness with God, and shows the freeness of Divine mercy. When God forgives, he forgets. It is not for any thing in us, but for his mercies' sake, his promise' sake; especially for his Son's sake. He is pleased to reckon it his honour. Would man justify himself before God? The attempt is desperate: our first father broke the covenant, and we all have copied his example. We have no reason to expect pardon, except we seek it by faith in Christ; and that is always attended by true repentance, and followed by newness of life, by hatred of sin, and love to God. Let us then put him in remembrance of the promises he has made to the penitent, and the satisfaction his Son has made for them. Plead these with him in wrestling for pardon; and declare these things, that thou mayest be justified freely by his grace. This is the only way, and it is a sure way to peace.Therefore I have profaned - The princes of the sanctuary, that is, the priests, were by their office regarded as sacred, or set apart to the service of God. To depose them from that office, to subject them to punishment, and to send them into captivity, was, therefore, regarded as profaning them. They were stripped of their office, and robes, and honors, and reduced to the same condition, and compelled to meet with the same treatment, as the common people. The sense is, that he had made them common (for so the word חלל châlal is used in Exodus 31:14; Exodus 19:22; Leviticus 19:8; Leviticus 21:9; Malachi 1:12; Malachi 2:2); he did not regard their office; he used them all alike.

The princes of the sanctuary - Margin, 'Holy princes.' It means, either those who presided over and directed the services of the sanctuary, called in 1 Chronicles 24:5, 'governors of the sanctuary;' or those who were holy in office. The Septuagint renders it, Οἱ ἄρχοντες τὰ ἅγια μον Hoi archontes ta hagia mou - 'Who preside over my holy things,' or my sanctuary. Vulgate, Principes sanctos - 'Holy princes.' The Syriac, 'Thy princes have profaned the sanctuary.' The sense is, that God had disregarded the official character of those who were set apart to the sacred office, and had punished them in common with the people at large for their sins.

And have given Jacob to the curse - The Septuagint renders it, 'I have given Jacob to be destroyed' (ἀπωλέσαι apōlesai). The Hebrew word here (חרם chērem), is that which is commonly used to denote a solemn anathema, excommunication, or devotion to destruction (see the note at Isaiah 34:5).

To reproaches - The reproach, contempt, and scorn which they met with in their captivity, and in a land of strangers (compare Psalm 137:3-4).

Thus far God states the reasons why he had punished the nation. It had been on account of the national irreligion and sins, and the destruction had come upon all, but pre-eminently on the priests and the rulers. In the arbitrary division which is made in the Bible into chapters, a very improper separation has been made by making the chapter close here. The sense of the whole passage is materially injured by this division, and the scope of the whole argument is forgotten. The design of the entire argument is, to show that God would not leave his people; that though he punished them, he would not utterly destroy them; and that he would appear again for their rescue, and restore them to their own land. This argument is prosecuted in the following chapter; and in the commencement of that chapter the thought is pursued, that though God had thus punished them, yet he would appear and save them. The beginning of that chapter is properly the continuation and completion of the argument urged here, and this chapter should have closed at what is now Isaiah 44:5.

28. profaned the princes—(Ps 89:39; La 2:2, 6, 7). I have esteemed, or treated, them as persons not sacred. I have left them to suffer the same treatment as the common people, stripped of their holy office and in captivity.

princes of the sanctuary—"governors of" it (1Ch 24:5); directing its holy services; priests.

curse—Hebrew, cherim, a "solemn anathema," or "excommunication."

reproaches—(Ps 123:3, 4).

I have profaned; as they have made themselves profane, so I have dealt with them as such, without any regard to the sacredness and dignity of their functions. I have exposed them to contempt and destruction.

The princes of the sanctuary; the highest and best of your priests, whose persons were most sacred, and therefore supposed by themselves and others to be the furthest from danger.

To the curse; to utter destruction, to which persons or things accursed were devoted, of which this Hebrew word is constantly used. To reproaches; to be the objects of their enemies’ scorn and reproaches. Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary,.... Or will do it; the past tense for the future, common in prophetic writings; these are not Moses and Aaron, or the kings, but the priests of the temple, who had the care and government of things there, and therefore called "princes"; these, when this prophecy was fulfilled, were treated as common persons, and divested of their office, and laid aside; their priesthood and the honour of it were taken from them; sacrifices were abolished, and the law concerning them; this was more especially true when Jerusalem was destroyed, the temple burnt, and the daily sacrifice made to cease, by the Romans:

and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches; to be cursed and reproached, as the Jews are in all places to this day, wherever they be, and that very righteously, and in just retaliation for their behaviour to Christ, and their usage of his followers; for they both hung him upon the accursed tree, and imprecated his blood on them and their children, and anathematized, or delivered to an anathema (u), as the word here used signifies, and cast those who professed his name out of their synagogues, as well as reproached and blasphemed him, his person, offices, miracles, and doctrines; and therefore have been justly given up to the curse of God and man, and to be a taunt, proverb, and byword throughout the world, Jeremiah 24:9.

(u) "in anathema", Montanus; "anathemati", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Vitringa.

Therefore I have {f} profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.

(f) That is, rejected, abhorred, and destroyed them in the wilderness and at other times.

28. Therefore I have profaned] is better than R.V. “Therefore I will profane,” although it requires the change of a vowel. The verb (like the one following) is pointed as a cohortative, and as this appears sometimes to express the idea of compulsion (see Driver, Tenses, §§ 51–53) we may perhaps venture to render: and so I had to profane.

the princes of the sanctuary] Better: consecrated princes. The priests are so named in 1 Chronicles 24:5; it is doubtful whether here priests or kings or both are meant, the consecration by anointing being common to both.

and have given … curse] Render: and had to deliver (see on last clause) Jacob to the ban. R.V. changes the translation for the worse.Verse 28. - Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary. The "princes of the sanctuary" (literally, "princes of holiness") are the principal members of the priesthood, who were carried into captivity with the rest of the people (2 Kings 25:18), and deprived of their functions, as a part of the punishment due to Israel for its sins. Israel itself was at the same time given to the curse of a severe bondage and to the reproaches of the neighboring nation.

It would be the praise of God, however, and not the merits of their own works, that they would have to relate; for there was nothing at all that could give them any claim to reward. There were not even acts of ceremonial worship, but only the guilt of grievous sins. "And thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob, that thou shouldst have wearied thyself for me, O Israel! Thou hast not brought me sheep of thy burnt-offerings, and thou hast not honoured me with thy slain-offerings. I have not burdened thee with meat-offerings, and have not troubled thee about incense. Thou hast bought me no spice-cane for silver, nor hast thou refreshed me with fat of thy slain-offerings. No; thou hast wearied me with thy sins, troubled me with thine iniquities." We cannot agree with Stier, that these words refer to the whole of the previous worship of Israel, which is treated here as having no existence, because of its heartlessness and false-holiness. And we must also not forget, that all these prophecies rested on either the historical or the ideal soil of the captivity. The charge commences with the worship of prayer (with calling upon Jehovah, as in Psalm 14:4; Psalm 18:7), to which the people were restricted when in exile, since the law did not allow them to offer sacrifice outside the holy land. The personal pronoun אתי, in the place of the suffix, is written first of all for the sake of emphasis, as if the meaning were, "Israel could exert itself to call upon other gods, but not upon Jehovah." The following kı̄ is equivalent to ut (Hosea 1:6), or ‛ad-kı̄ in 2 Samuel 23:10, adeo ut laborasses me colendo (so as to have wearied thyself in worshipping me). They are also charged with having offered no sacrifices, inasmuch as in a foreign land this duty necessarily lapsed of itself, together with the self-denial that it involved. The spelling הביאת (as in Numbers 14:31) appears to have been intended for the pronunciation הביאת (compare the pronunciation in 2 Kings 19:25, which comes between the two). The ‛ōlōth (burnt-offerings) stand first, as the expression of adoration, and are connected with sēh, which points to the daily morning and evening sacrifice (the tâmı̄d). Then follow the zebâchı̄m (slain-offerings), the expression of the establishment of fellowship with Jehovah (וּזבחיך is equivalent to וּבזביחך, like חמה equals בּחמה, Isaiah 43:25). The "fat" (chēlebh) in Isaiah 43:24 refers to the portions of fat that were placed upon the altar in connection with this kind of sacrifice. After the zebâchı̄m comes the michâh, the expression of desire for the blessing of Jehovah, a portion of which, the so-called remembrance portion ('azkârâh), was placed upon the altar along with the whole of the incense. And lastly, the qâneh (spice-cane), i.e., some one of the Amoma,

(Note: The qâneh is generally supposed to be the Calamus; but the calamus forms no stalk, to say nothing of a cane or hollow stalk. It must be some kind of aromatic plant, with a stalk like a cane, either the Cardamum, Ingber, or Curcuma; at any rate, it belonged to the species Amomum. The aroma of this was communicated to the anointing oil, the latter being infused, and the resinous parts of the former being thereby dissolved.)

points to the holy anointing oil (Exodus 30:23), or if it refer to spices generally, to the sacred incense, though qâneh is not mentioned as one of the ingredients in Exodus 30:34. The nation, which Jehovah was now redeeming out of pure unmingled grace, had not been burdened with costly tasks of this description (see Jeremiah 6:20); on the contrary, it was Jehovah only who was burdened and troubled. He denies that there was any "causing to serve" (העביד, lit., to make a person a servant, to impose servile labour upon him) endured by Israel, but affirms this rather of Himself. The sins of Israel pressed upon Him, as a burden does upon a servant. His love took upon itself the burden of Israel's guilt, which derived its gravitating force from His won holy righteous wrath; but it was a severe task to bear this heavy burden, and expunge it - a thoroughly divine task, the significance of which was first brought out in its own true light by the cross on Golgotha. When God creates, He expresses His fiat, and what He wills comes to pass. But He does not blot out sin without balancing His love with His justice; and this equalization is not effected without conflict and victory.

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