Isaiah 32 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 32)

Verse 1

[1] Behold, a king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment.

Behold — This seems to be a distinct prophecy from the former, and delivered before that which is related in the former chapters. The prophecies are not always set down in that order, in which the prophets delivered them. The foregoing prophecy was delivered, not in the time of Ahaz for he sent to the Assyrian, not the Egyptian, for help; it was Hezekiah, who rebelled against the king of Assyria, and was too prone to trust upon the staff of Egypt. But this seems to have been delivered in the time of Ahaz.

A king — Hezekiah, a type of Christ, and Christ typified by him.

Verse 2

[2] And a man shall be as an hiding place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.

A man — Each of his princes.

A hiding place — Unto the people under their government.

The wind — From the rage and violence of evil men.

As rivers — No less refreshing.

As the shadow — In a dry and scorched country, which is called weary, because it makes travellers weary; as death is called pale in other authors, because it makes mens faces pale.

Verse 3

[3] And the eyes of them that see shall not be dim, and the ears of them that hear shall hearken.

The eyes — The people, they shall not shut their eyes and ears against the good counsels and examples of their religious king and rulers, as they have done formerly: both princes and people shall be reformed.

Verse 4

[4] The heart also of the rash shall understand knowledge, and the tongue of the stammerers shall be ready to speak plainly.

The rash — Who were hasty in judging of things; which is an argument of ignorance and folly.

The tongue — That used to speak of the things of God, darkly, and doubtfully; which though it was in part fulfilled in Hezekiah, yet was truly and fully accomplished only by Christ, who wrought this wonderful change in an innumerable company both of Jews and Gentiles.

Verse 5

[5] The vile person shall be no more called liberal, nor the churl said to be bountiful.

The vile — Base and worthless men.

Liberal — Shall no longer be reputed honourable, because of their high and honourable places, but wickedness shall be discovered where ever it is, and virtue manifested and rewarded.

The churl — The sordid and covetous man; but under this one vice, all vices are understood, as under the opposite virtue of bountifulness; all virtues are comprehended.

Verse 6

[6] For the vile person will speak villany, and his heart will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the LORD, to make empty the soul of the hungry, and he will cause the drink of the thirsty to fail.

Villainy — Men shall no longer be miscalled; for every one will discover what he is by his words and actions.

Will work — He will, from time to time, be advising wickedness, that he may execute it when he hath opportunity.

To practise — To do bad things, tho' with a pretence of religion and justice.

To utter — To pass unjust sentence, directly contrary to the command of God.

Cause the drink — Whereby they take away the bread and the drink of the poor.

Verse 7

[7] The instruments also of the churl are evil: he deviseth wicked devices to destroy the poor with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right.

Lying words — With false and unrighteous decrees.

Even — When their cause is just and good.

Verse 9

[9] Rise up, ye women that are at ease; hear my voice, ye careless daughters; give ear unto my speech.

Ye — That indulge yourselves in idleness and luxury.

Careless — Who are insensible of your sin and danger.

Verse 10

[10] Many days and years shall ye be troubled, ye careless women: for the vintage shall fail, the gathering shall not come.

The vintage shall fail — During the time of the Assyrian invasion.

The gathering — Of the other fruits of the earth.

Verse 11

[11] Tremble, ye women that are at ease; be troubled, ye careless ones: strip you, and make you bare, and gird sackcloth upon your loins.

Strip — Put off your ornaments.

Verse 12

[12] They shall lament for the teats, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine.

The teats — For the pleasant and fruitful fields, which like teats yielded you plentiful and excellent nourishment.

Verse 13

[13] Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers; yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city:

Yea — Upon that ground, where now your houses stand, in which you take your fill of mirth and pleasure.

Verse 14

[14] Because the palaces shall be forsaken; the multitude of the city shall be left; the forts and towers shall be for dens for ever, a joy of wild asses, a pasture of flocks;

Forsaken — Of God, and given up into their enemies hands.

A joy — Desolate places, in which wild asses delight to be.

Verse 15

[15] Until the spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest.

Until — Until the time come, in which God will pour, or, as the Hebrew word properly signifies, reveal, evidently and plentifully pour out his spirit from heaven upon his people, which was fully accomplished in the days of the Messiah.

The fruitful field — God's people who were desolate, shall be revived and flourish, and their flourishing enemies shall be brought to destruction.

Verse 16

[16] Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.

Judgment — Just judgment.

Righteousness — Justice shall be executed in all the parts of the land.

Verse 17

[17] And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever.

The work — The effect of this shall be prosperity.

Quietness — Tranquility, both of mind and outward estate.

Assurance — Of God's mercy, and the fulfilling of his promises.

Verse 19

[19] When it shall hail, coming down on the forest; and the city shall be low in a low place.

It shall hail — As my blessings shall be poured down upon my people, who, from a wilderness, are turned into a fruitful field, so my judgments (which are signified by hail, chap. 28:2,17, and elsewhere) shall fall upon them, who were a fruitful field, but are turned into a forest, upon the unbelieving and rebellious Jews.

The city — Jerusalem, which, though now it was the seat of God's worship and people, yet he foresaw, would be the great enemy of the Messiah.

Low — Heb. shall be humbled with humiliation: shall be greatly humbled, or brought very low.

Verse 20

[20] Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.

Blessed — As the barren forest shall be destroyed, so the fruitful field shall be improved, and bring forth much fruit; which is signified by a declaration of the blessedness of them that sow in it.

Waters — In all moist grounds, which are like to yield good fruit. But this also is to be understood of the times of the gospel, and of the great and happy success of the ministers of it.

The ox — Which they employed in plowing and sowing the ground.