Isaiah 28:9
Who is it He is trying to teach? To whom is He explaining his message? To infants just weaned from milk? To babies removed from the breast?
The Mockers and the ProphetE. Johnson Isaiah 28:7-13
Divine WisdomJ. Wright, B. A.Isaiah 28:9-13
IndocilityW. Clarkson Isaiah 28:9-13
Isaiah's Righteous IndignationS. Cox, D. D.Isaiah 28:9-13
RetributionS. Cox, D. D.Isaiah 28:9-13
The Angry False Priests and ProphetsS. Cox, D. D.Isaiah 28:9-13
The OccasionJ. Skinner, D. D.Isaiah 28:9-13
The Scoffing DrunkardsF. Delitzsch.Isaiah 28:9-13
With Another TongueJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 28:9-13

When God speaks man may well listen, whatsoever strains the Divine Teacher may employ. But man is often found to be, not only an inapt, but even an unwilling, scholar. Such were they who are here terribly rebuked.

I. THE DESIGN OF GOD'S TEACHING. God had been saying, "This is the rest," etc. (ver. 12). The end of all God's instruction is to give rest to his human scholars. Peace was the promise of the old covenant (Numbers 6:26; Numbers 25:12). Rest was the offer of the great Teacher (Matthew 11:28, 29). Rest of heart in the favor and love of God was the high and elevated hope held out for all who would learn and be obedient; and this is still the desire and the design of God in all his teaching and in all his correction.

II. MAN'S OBJECTION TO GOD'S METHOD. "To whom," they complain, "shall he teach knowledge... to them that are weaned... must it be precept upon precept?" etc. (vers. 9, 10). Are we such little children that we are to be treated thus by Jehovah? Men have always been found who object to God's ways of guiding them. It is too plain and palpable, or it is too mysterious; it demands no effort of the intellect, or it taxes the thought too severely; it is too commonplace, or it is too startling, or it is too hard; were he to adopt some other method, to come to them in some other way, they would listen and obey; but as he speaks they will not hear. Especially are men slow to learn the simple and repeated lessons by which God teaches them in his providence - the lessons which come with every morning light and with every evening shade, with the continued loving-kindnesses of the passing hour, with the changes of the seasons, with the passage of neighbors and friends to another world; these reiterated teachings are disregarded, and the one great lesson of reverence and of devotedness is unlearned.

III. GOD'S INDIGNATION AT HUMAN CONTUMACY. The strain of the prophet is one outpouring of intense indignation and keen rebuke; the anger of Jehovah is kindled against them. We may understand that persistent indocility is a very serious sin in the estimate of God. Not to hearken when he speaks to us, whether he speaks in providence, in his Word, or in Christian ordinances, is to place ourselves beneath his very high displeasure.

IV. DIVINE RETRIBUTION. The penalty of their perverse indocility shall be that they will have to learn by far less agreeable methods than the one which they despised; the repeated elementary instruction of the Hebrew prophet should give place to the barbarous sounds of a foreign tongue. Guilty folly often finds that punishment awaits it which corresponds only too painfully with the sin. The Jews demand a king because they prefer the visible to the invisible, the physical to the spiritual; and they gain one who is chosen on this cherished principle of theirs, and his bodily stature and visible form prove to be a sorry substitute for the wisdom of the invisible Sovereign: the penalty is paid in the same coin as the transgression. David's unholy interference with domestic right is punished by saddest add most serious disappointments in his own family. Retribution, not general only, but that which is particularly appropriate to our sin, awaits us a little further on. Disobedience - and emphatically indocility - leads to misery and shame. Hearken intelligently, however and whenever God may speak, and hasten cheerfully to obey. - C.

Whom shall He teach knowledge?
They scoff at the prophet, that intolerable moralist. They are full-grown and free; he need not teach them knowledge (Isaiah 11:9), and explain his preaching to them; they know of old. what he is driving at. Are they mere weaned babes, who need to be tutored?

(F. Delitzsch.)

of this remarkable encounter was probably a feast held to celebrate the renunciation of allegiance to Assyria. Isaiah has surprised the drunkards over their cups, and administered some such rebuke as we read in vers. 7, 8.

(J. Skinner, D. D.)

What really angered these burly scorners was that the prophet treated them as though they were children only lust weaned, and not as masters in Israel, giving them the most elementary instruction in the simplest words — words of one syllable, as they put it. They were weary of hearing him repeat the first rudiments of morality, and apply them to the sins and needs of the time. How dared he tutor them who were themselves teachers! How dared he treat them as babes who were grown men, distinguished men, the foremost men and statesmen of the empire! A pretty figure he made too! No one listened to him, or hardly anyone. It was their advice which was taken, not his; their policy which was followed, not his. And yet he dared come to them, day after day, with the same simple message, the same trite moralities, the same dismal warnings and rebukes!

(S. Cox, D. D.)

In effect he said to them "You mock at the simple Divine words I have been moved to speak, and lisp out your base and drunken imitations of them, — you, who should be the first to welcome and enforce the word of God. Know, then, that God will punish your sin by a people of lisping lips and an alien tongue. He has taught you, by the words you deride, where you might find rest and freedom, how you might give peace to the people who are weary of war and its calamities; but you would not hearken and do. The word of the Lord has become to you a mere 'bid and bid, forbid and forbid,' at which you jest. Know, then, that that word, which might have been a light to your path, shall blaze up into a consuming fire."

(S. Cox, D. D.)

The prediction was fulfilled. The fierce Assyrians, when they heard that the Hebrews had allied themselves with Egypt, once more swept through the land. The very men who had lisped their scornful imitations of Isaiah's words, who had affected to think that he used the broken and imperfect dialect which mothers employ to their babes, were destroyed or taken captive by the Assyrian troops, whose language, while it closely resembled that of the Hebrews, had just those differences which made it sound to them like an imperfect and barbarous dialect. So terrible and so exact was the retribution that fell on their sin.

(S. Cox, D. D.)

They shall have change of ministry; the Assyrians do not talk piously, whiningly; they do not give precept upon precept; theirs is a terse eloquence, a bullock-like rhetoric; when they come they will make these drunkards sober by the power of terror. This is God's way in all providence; if we will not hear the gentle voice, the interpreting, persuasive, gospel voice, we shall have to listen to thunder, and feed our souls upon lightning. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee,...your house is left unto you desolate."

(J. Parker, D. D.)

"That the soul be without knowledge, it is not good." A lamentable instance of this truth is exemplified in the preceding part of the chapter.

I. THE CHARACTER OF THE TEACHER. God, whose wisdom is infinite, is our only teacher; for whatever others we may possess, either in the works of nature, of providence, or of grace, originate entirely from His bounty.

II. THE SUBJECT OF INSTRUCTION. Two things are to be learned, namely, knowledge and doctrine; the one that we may know ourselves, the other that we may know God.

III. THE PERSONS TO BE TAUGHT. "Them that are weaned," etc. We must be like little children in humility of mind and teachableness of disposition.

(J. Wright, B. A.)

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