Background: Hezekiah's treaty with the king of Babylon brought
stinging rebuke from Isaiah (Isa 39), as well as from Micah (Mic 3:12). This
caused Hezekiah to repent immediately (Jer 26:18,19), and the threatened
destruction of Jerusalem was stayed. Isa 58 (actually Isa 57:14 - Isa 58), with
its Day of Atonement allusions, commemorates this royal and national
LIKE A TRUMPET: Ref the Shofar which sounded at the
Feast of Trumpets 10 days earlier, and also to bring in the Day of Atonement
DECLARE TO MY PEOPLE THEIR REBELLION AND... THEIR SINS:
Yom Kippur was the outstanding day in the year when remembrance was made of sins
Vv 3-6: Sustained allusions to fasting. The only prescribed
fast of the LM was on the Day of Atonement (Lev 16:29,31). Cp Mat 9:9-18:
Matthew's feast, and Pharisees' criticisms: re fasting and new
WHY HAVE WE FASTED... AND YOU HAVE NOT SEEN IT?:
Self-satisfaction with the externals of worship! But nothing was changed
underneath the "veneer" (vv 4-7).
YET... YOU DO AS YOU PLEASE...: They had come to think
that their physical acts of worship on this one day were sufficient, and they
need not examine and change their spirits, nor their actions, for the other 364
days of the year!
FOR BOWING ONE'S HEAD LIKE A REED: "Let us not bend
ourselves over so far that we can only see our own prostration" (Xd
Vv 6,7: "What if we shut up the bowels of our compassion
towards those who suffer? What if with plenty in our hands, we think only of our
own need, and our own comfort, and our schemes are shaped and burdened only and
continually with our own cares and our own interests? What if we never help the
heavy burdens under which so many around us are staggering to the grave? What if
we practice a habit of absolute indifference to the yokes, and the oppressions
and difficulties which are crushing to the earth our neighbours on every hand?
Is it not obvious that in that case, we are in the exact position of Israel,
'delighting in Yahweh's ways' after a fashion, but to no profit, because He
takes no pleasure in us?" (SC 27).
TO SET THE OPPRESSED FREE AND BREAK EVERY YOKE: The
Year of Jubilee (with the release of slaves) began on the evening of the Day of
Atonement (Lev 25:9). The year of deliverance from Sennacherib's hordes was the
only Year of Jubilee mentioned in the Bible (2Ki 19:29). What God had done for
them (Exodus, Sennacherib's destruction), they must now do for others!
"This eloquent passage surely applied the judicial
pronouncement which dominates Christ's own picture of the Last Judgment... Mat
25:35,36" (WIsa 503).
THEN YOUR LIGHT WILL BREAK FORTH LIKE THE DAWN: In this
context, the manifestation of the Shekinah Glory over the mercy seat (cp Isa
60:1; Psa 80:1).
THE GLORY OF THE LORD WILL BE YOUR REAR GUARD: Links
this with the pillar of cloud and fire which guided and protected Israel in
their deliverance from Egypt (Exo 14:19).
BREAK FORTH... RIGHTEOUSNESS... GLORY: These terms also
appear together in a psalm for the Day of Atonement (Psa 85:9-11).
THEN YOU WILL CALL: The communal prayer of the nation
whilst the High Priest was in the Most Holy on the Day of Atonement.
YOKE OF OPPRESSION... FINGER: "They tie up heavy loads
and put them on men's shoulders, but they themselves are not willing to lift a
finger to move them" (Mat 23:4).
YOUR LIGHT WILL RISE IN THE DARKNESS...: Another
allusion to the Shekinah Glory shining forth on the Day of Atonement (cp v
YOU WILL BE CALLED REPAIRER OF BROKEN WALLS...: Of
course it is Yahweh who actually does all this, but the repentance of the nation
will bring about such repairs and restorations!
TO RIDE ON THE HEIGHTS OF THE LAND...: Cp Deu