Isaiah 32:16
Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
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(16) Then judgment shall dwell . . .—Outward blessings, themselves symbols of something beyond themselves, are followed by spiritual. Over the whole country, from the one extreme of cultivation to the other, the judgment and righteousness which had been so lacking should now find a home, and bring their blessed fruits of peace, and confidence, and calm. The whole picture is that of a smiling land, a God-fearing and contented people, all in striking contrast with the panic and unrest with which the people had been but too familiar.

Isaiah 32:16-18. Then judgment — Just judgment, as the next clause explains it, shall dwell in the wilderness — In what had formerly been a wilderness, namely, among the Gentiles, now supposed to be converted to Christianity; by whom righteousness also shall be practised, and among whom it shall remain. And the work of righteousness shall be peace — The effect of this righteousness shall be peace of conscience, possessed by all that practise it, and tranquillity, of mind, as well as peace with God. Or, perhaps, outward prosperity may be chiefly intended. And the effect — Hebrew, עבדה, the service, of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever השׁקשׂ ובשׂח, rest and confidence. The being truly righteous before God, and walking in his ordinances and commandments blameless, (Luke 1:6,) shall be attended with an assurance of God’s favour, and a dependance on him for the fulfilment of his promises; from whence will arise a holy serenity and security of mind, with a lively and joyful expectation of eternal felicity, of which no external circumstances of prosperity or adversity can deprive the possessors. And my people — The converted Gentiles, who shall then be my people; or the Jews upon their conversion to Christianity in the latter days; shall dwell in a peaceable habitation — Shall be safe and happy under the peculiar protection and care of God.

32:9-20 When there was so much provocation given to the holy God, bad times might be expected. Alas! how many careless ones there are, who support self-indulgence by shameful stubbornness! We deserve to be deprived of the supports of life, when we make them the food of lusts. Let such tremble and be troubled. Blessed times shall be brought in by the pouring out of the Spirit from on high; then, and not till then, there will be good times. The present state of the Jews shall continue until a more abundant pouring out of the Spirit from on high. Peace and quietness shall be found in the way and work of righteousness. True satisfaction is to be had only in true religion. And real holiness is real happiness now, and shall be perfect happiness, that is, perfect holiness for ever. The good seed of the word shall be sown in all places, and be watered by Divine grace; and laborious, patient labourers shall be sent forth into God's husbandry.Then judgment shall dwell - Or, justice shall make its appropriate dwelling-place there.

In the wilderness - In the place that was a wilderness, but that shall now be turned to a fruitful field.

In the fruitful field - In the nation that is like a fruitful field; in Judea restored.

16. judgment—justice.

wilderness—then reclaimed.

fruitful field—then become more fruitful (Isa 32:15); thus "wilderness" and "fruitful field" include the whole land of Judea.

Judgment; just judgment, as the next clause explains it. Justice shall be executed in all the parts of the land, both in the barren and fruitful places, and shall be practised by all my people; which agrees with that promise, Isaiah 60:21, Thy people shall be all righteous, &c.

Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness,.... In the desert part of the world, inhabited by Pagans, Papists, and Mahometans; where the Scriptures, the rule of judgment, and where the Gospel, sometimes called the judgment of the Lord, Isaiah 51:4 had no place, now they shall have one, and an abiding one; and men of judgment in spiritual and evangelical things, and such as do justice and judgment, shall dwell there:

and righteousness remain in the fruitful field; both the doctrine and practice of righteousness shall continue in the church of God, which will be the glory of it; the righteous men will be the settled constant inhabitants of it; these will be all righteous at this time, Isaiah 60:21 not only by profession, but in truth and reality; at least the far greater part; so the Targum interprets it of those that do judgment and do righteousness.

Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field.
16. “Judgment” and “righteousness,” the foundations of social order (ch. Isaiah 1:21; Isaiah 1:26 f., Isaiah 28:17), shall then be established throughout the land. The “wilderness” (i.e. untilled pasture-land) is not annihilated, only pushed further into the desert proper; even there the reign of right extends.

Verse 16. - Then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness. In all parts of the kingdom of Christ, the lowest as well as the highest, "judgment" and "righteousness" shall prevail (comp. ver. 1). Isaiah 32:16The state would then continue long, very long, until at last the destruction of the false rest would be followed by the realization of the true. "Until the Spirit is poured out over us from on high, and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field, and the fruitful field is counted as the forest. And justice makes its abode in the desert, and righteousness settles down upon the fruit-field. And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the reward of righteousness rest and security for ever. And my people dwells in a place of peace, and in trustworthy, safe dwellings, and in cheerful resting-places. And it hails with the overthrow of the forest, and into lowliness must the city be brought low." There is a limit, therefore, to the "for ever" of Isaiah 32:14. The punishment would last till the Spirit, which Israel had not then dwelling in the midst of it (see Haggai 2:5), and whose fulness was like a closed vessel to Israel, should be emptied out over Israel from the height of heaven (compare the piel ערה, Genesis 24:20), i.e., should be poured out in all its fulness. When that was done, a great change would take place, the spiritual nature of which is figuratively represented in the same proverbial manner as in Isaiah 29:17. At the same time, a different turn is given to the second half in the passage before us. The meaning is, not that what was now valued as a fruit-bearing garden would be brought down from its false eminence, and be only regarded as forest; but that the whole would be so glorious, that what was now valued as a fruit-garden, would be thrown into the shade by something far more glorious still, in comparison with which it would have the appearance of a forest, in which everything grew wild. The whole land, the uncultivated pasture-land as well as the planted fruitful fields of corn and fruit, would then become the tent and seat of justice and righteousness. "Justice and righteousness' (mishpât and tsedâqâh) are throughout Isaiah the stamp of the last and perfect time. As these advance towards self-completion, the produce and result of these will be peace (ma‛ăseh and abhōdâh are used to denote the fruit or self-reward of work and painstaking toil; compare פּעלּה). But two things must take place before this calm, trustworthy, happy peace, of which the existing carnal security is only a caricature, can possibly be realized. In the first place, it must hail, and the wood must fall, being beaten down with hail. We already know, from Isaiah 10:34, that "the wood" was an emblem of Assyria; and in Isaiah 30:30-31, we find "the hail" mentioned as one of the forces of nature that would prove destructive to Assyria. And secondly, "the city" (העיר, a play upon the word, and a counterpart to היּער) must first of all be brought low into lowliness (i.e., be deeply humiliated). Rosenmller and others suppose the imperial city to be intended, according to parallels taken from chapters 24-27; but in this cycle of prophecies, in which the imperial city is never mentioned at all, "the city" must be Jerusalem, whose course from the false peace to the true lay through a humiliating punishment (Isaiah 29:2-4; Isaiah 30:19., Isaiah 31:4.).
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