Isaiah 56:9 MEANING

Isaiah 56:9
(9) All ye beasts of the field . . .--The sudden change of tone indicates that we enter on an entirely new section, which extends to the close of Isaiah 57. The contents of that section fit in with the assumption of its having been written early in the reign of Manasseh, better than With that of a date after the exile. The opening words summon the enemies of Israel to do their work of punishment, and this is followed naturally by a denunciation of the sins which had made it necessary. For the form of the summons, comp. Ezekiel 34:8; Jeremiah 12:9.

Verses 9-12. - THE BLIND GUIDES OF ISRAEL REBUKED. A sudden change of style marks the introduction of an entirely new prophecy. The eye of the prophet, apparently, goes back from the period of the exile, which he has been so long contemplating, to his own day, or at any rate to the pre-exile period, and rests upon Israel in their own land. He sees them misled by their teachers (vers. 10-12), given to idolatry (Isaiah 57:3-9), and offering themselves a ready prey to their enemies (Isaiah 56:9). Many modern critics regard the passage as the composition of an unknown prophet belonging to the time of Manasseh. But there is no sufficient evidence of this. The prophecy has many Isaiah characteristics. Verse 9. - Beasts of the field... beasts in the forest; i.e. "all wild beasts of whatever kind" - all the enemies of God's flock (see Jeremiah 12:9; Ezekiel 34:8). Come to devour. Make haste, now is your opportunity. The people have none to protect them, and will be an easy prey. Come, set to work; devour.

56:9-12 Desolating judgments are called for; and this severe rebuke of the rulers and teachers of the Jewish church, is applicable to other ages and places. It is bad with a people when their shepherds slumber, and are eager after the world. Let us pray the Great Shepherd to send us pastors after his own heart, who will feed us with knowledge, that we may rejoice in his holy name, and that believers may be daily added to the church.All ye beasts of the field, come to devour,.... Which may be understood either literally of savage beasts being called to devour the slain, signifying a great slaughter that should be made, like that in Revelation 19:17 to which the fowls of the heaven are invited, as to a supper; and so Kimchi interprets it of such creatures being called to feed upon the carcasses in the camp of Gog and Magog, agreeably to Ezekiel 39:17, but it seems better to understand it figuratively of people and nations, comparable to the beasts of the field for their strength, cruelty, and voraciousness. The Targum of the whole is,

"all the kings of the people that shall be gathered to oppress thee, O Jerusalem, shall be cast in the midst of thee; they shall be for food to the beast of the field, the beast of the forest shall be satisfied with them.''

Though it seems most correct to interpret these beasts of the kings of the people themselves; by whom some understand the Chaldeans, Babylonians, and other nations along with them, and under them, who spoiled the people of the Jews, and carried them captive; but rather the Romans are intended. And so the prophet, after he had foretold the gathering in of the remnant, according to the election of grace, among the Jews, and the addition to them from among the Gentiles, proceeds to give an account what should become of the rest of the Jewish nation that rejected the Messiah and his Gospel; that the Romans should be brought in upon them, who should devour them; which destruction would be owing to the following sins abounding among their principal men. But I am inclined to the opinion of Cocceius and Vitringa, that the barbarous nations of the Goths and Vandals, and others, coming into the Roman empire, become Christian, though greatly corrupted, are here meant (t); since this seems to be a prophecy of what should happen between the first gathering of the Jews and Gentiles to Christ in the first times of the Gospel, and the later gathering of them in the latter day; and the following words aptly describe the ignorance, stupidity, avarice, and intemperance of the priests of the apostate church of Rome; and the following chapter, which is a continuance of this prophecy, better agrees with the idolatry of the church of Rome than with the Jews, who, especially at the time of their destruction by the Romans, were not given to idolatry. Yea,

all the beasts in the forest: a herd of them, which, like an inundation, ran over the Roman empire, and tore it to pieces, and spread ignorance and corruption every where, next described; for now the beast of Rome arose with his ten heads. Some think that a new chapter should begin here.

(t) Agreeably to which, the words, according to the accents, are thus rendered by Reinbeck, De Accent. Heb. p. 427. "all ye beasts of the field; come ye, to devour all the beasts in the forest"; so Munster; one sort of beasts are called upon to devour another sort.

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