Isaiah 66:3 MEANING

Isaiah 66:3
(3) He that killeth an ox . . .--The truth of the previous verse is emphasised by iteration, each clause presenting a distinct illustration of it. Chapter Isaiah 65:3-11 had pointed to tendencies, not yet extinct, which led to open apostasy. Now the prophet declares that there may be as real an apostasy beneath an orthodox creed and an irreproachable ritual. Each act of the hypocrite's worship is as an idolatrous abomination.

Verse 3. - He that killeth an ox is as if he slew a man; literally, is a manslayer. The full meaning seems to be, "He that, not being of a poor and contrite spirit, would offer me an ox in sacrifice, is as little pleasing to me as a murderer." Sacrifice, without the true spirit of sacrifice, is an abomination (comp. Isaiah 1:11, "To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the Lord," etc.). There, however, the sacrifices are actually offered; here they are hypothetical. The ungodly exiles design to offer sacrifice to God in his temple, when they have rebuilt it (ver. 1). God rejects their offerings by anticipation. As if he out off a dog's neck; i.e." would no more please me by the sacrifice than if he were to make an offering of the unclean dog." (On the uncleanness of the dog, see Deuteronomy 23:18.) He that offereth an oblation; or, a meat offering (see Leviticus 2:1-15). He that burneth incense. With his meat offering, as directed in Leviticus 2:1, 2. Such a one is no better than he that blesseth (i.e. worships) an idol. It may be suspected that the ritual acts selected for comparison with those of the Levitical law are practices to which the exiles were given (comp. Isaiah 65:3, 4). Yea, they have chosen, etc.; rather, as they haw chosen. The clause stands over against the first clause of ver. 4, "As they (gain hemmah) have chosen their ways, so I (gain ani) have chosen their delusions."

66:1-4 The Jews gloried much in their temple. But what satisfaction can the Eternal Mind take in a house made with men's hands? God has a heaven and an earth of his own making, and temples of man's making; but he overlooks them, that he may look with favour to him who is poor in spirit and serious, self-abasing and self-denying; whose heart truly sorrows for sin: such a heart is a living temple for God. The sacrifice of the wicked is not only unacceptable, but a great offence to God. And he that now offers a sacrifice after the law, does in effect set aside Christ's sacrifice. He that burns incense, puts contempt upon the incense of Christ's intercession, and is as if he blessed an idol. Men shall be deceived by the vain confidences with which they deceive themselves. Unbelieving hearts, and unpurified consciences, need no more to make them miserable, than to have their own fears brought upon them. Whatever men put in the place of the priesthood, atonement, and intercession of Christ, will be found hateful to God.He that killeth an ox, is as if he slew a man,.... Not that killed the ox of his neighbour, which, according to law, he was to pay for; or that killed one for food, which was lawful to be done; but that slew one, and offered it as a sacrifice; not blamed because blind or lame, or had any blemish in it, and so unfit for sacrifice; or because not rightly offered, under a due sense of sin, and with repentance for it, and faith in Christ; but because all sacrifices of this kind are now abolished in Gospel times, to which this prophecy belongs; Christ the great sacrifice being offered up; and therefore to offer sacrifice, which, notwithstanding the unbelieving Jews continued daily, till it was made to cease by the destruction of their temple, was a great offence to God; it was as grievous to him as offering their children to Moloch; or as the murder of a man; and was indeed a trampling under foot the Son of God, and accounting his blood and sacrifice as nothing, which was highly displeasing to God:

he that sacrificeth a lamb, as if he cut off a dog's neck; the lamb for the daily sacrifice, morning and evening, or the passover lamb, or any other: this now is no more acceptable to God, than if a dog, a very impure creature, was slain, his head cut off, and offered on the altar; which was so abominable to the Lord, that the price of one might not be brought into his house, Deuteronomy 23:18,

he that offereth an oblation, as if he offered swine's blood; the meat offering, made of fine flour, on which oil was poured, and frankincense put, Leviticus 2:1, however rightly composed it might be, and offered according to law, yet now of no more esteem with God than blood, which was forbidden by the same law; nay, than the blood of swine, which creature itself, according to the ceremonial law, was unclean, and might not be eaten, and much less be offered up, and still less its blood, Leviticus 11:7,

and he that burneth incense, as if he blessed an idol; or that "remembers incense" (p); that offers it as a memorial of mercies, and by way of thankfulness for them, as if he gave thanks to an idol, which is nothing, and vanity and vexation in the world; sacrifices of such kind, be they what they will, are reckoned no other than as idolatry and will worship:

yea, they have chosen their own ways: which were evil, and opposite to the ways of God, especially to the way of salvation by Christ; they gave heed to the traditions of the elders; continued the service of the ceremonial law; and set up their own righteousness, in opposition to the doctrines, ordinances, sacrifice, and righteousness of Christ:

and their soul delighteth in their abominations: things which were abominable unto God; as were their traditions, which were preferred to the word of God, and by which they made it void; and their sacrifices being offered up contrary to his will, and with a wicked mind; and their righteousness being imperfect, and trusted in, to the neglect and contempt of the righteousness of his Son.

(p) , , Sept.; "qui recordatur thuris", V. L. Calvin, Vatablus; "memorans thus", Montanus.

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