Isaiah 55 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 55)

Verse 1

[1] Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.

Thirsteth — For the grace of God and the blessings of the gospel. This thirst implies a vehement, and active, and restless desire after it.

No money — Those who are most worthless and wicked, if they do but thirst may be welcome.

Buy — Procure or receive that which is freely offered.

Wine and milk — All gospel-blessings; in particular, that peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, which are better than wine, and that love of God which nourishes the soul, as milk does the body.

Verse 2

[2] Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labour for that which satisfieth not? hearken diligently unto me, and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness.

Money — All your time, and strength, and cost.

Not bread — For those things which can never nourish or satisfy you, such as worldly goods, or pleasures.

Eat ye — That which is truly and solidly, and everlastingly good.

In fatness — In this pleasant food of gospel-enjoyments.

Verse 3

[3] Incline your ear, and come unto me: hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David.

An everlasting covenant — That everlasting covenant of grace and peace which I made with Abraham, and his seed.

Of David — Even that covenant which was made first with Abraham, and then with David, concerning those glorious and sure blessings which God hath promised to his people, one and the chief of which was giving Christ to die for their sins. David here seems to be put for the son of David.

Verse 4

[4] Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people, a leader and commander to the people.

Behold — I have appointed, and will in due time actually give.

Him — The David last mentioned, even Christ.

A witness — To declare the will of God concerning the duty and salvation of men, to bear witness to truth, to confirm God's promises, and, among others, those which respect the calling of the Gentiles: to be a witness of both parties of that covenant made between God and men.

The people — To all people.

Verse 5

[5] Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not, and nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel; for he hath glorified thee.

Thou — Thou, O Messiah.

Call — To the knowledge of thyself.

Knewest not — With that special knowledge which implies approbation.

Because — Because the Lord shall by many tokens, manifest himself to be thy God, and thee to be his son and faithful servant.

Glorify thee — By confirming thy word with illustrious signs and miracles, and particularly by thy resurrection, and glorious ascension.

Verse 6

[6] Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:

Seek — Labour to get the knowledge of God's will, and to obtain his grace and favour.

While — In this day of grace, while he offers mercy and reconciliation.

Near — Ready and desirous to receive you to mercy.

Verse 7

[7] Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Return — By sincere repentance, and faith.

Verse 8

[8] For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.

For — If any man injure you, especially if he do it greatly and frequently, you are slow and backward to forgive him. But I am ready to forgive all penitents, how many, and great, and numberless soever their sins be.

Verse 10

[10] For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven, and returneth not thither, but watereth the earth, and maketh it bring forth and bud, that it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater:

The snow — Which in its season contributes to the fruitfulness of the earth.

Returneth not — Without effect.

And bread — That it may bring forth store of bread-corn, both for mens present supplies, and for seed for the next year.

Verse 11

[11] So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

My word — My promises, concerning the pardon of the greatest sinners.

Void — Without success.

Verse 12

[12] For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace: the mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands.

Therefore — Ye shall be released from your bondage.

Peace — Safely and triumphantly.

Clap — There shall be a general rejoicing, so that even the senseless creatures shall seem to rejoice with you.

Verse 13

[13] Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the LORD for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off.

Instead — Whereas your land was filled with thorns and briars, as was foretold, they shall be rooted out, and it shall be planted with fir-trees and myrtle-trees, and such other trees, as are useful either for fruit or for delight. The church shall be delivered from pernicious things, and replenished with all divine graces and blessings.

It — This wonderful change shall bring much honour to God.

A sign — For a monument, of God's infinite power, and faithfulness, and love to his people to all succeeding generations.