Isaiah 57:1
The righteous perish, and no one takes it to heart; devout men are swept away, with none considering that the righteous are guided from the presence of evil.
Mercy and Wrath in the Death of the RighteousR. Tuck Isaiah 57:1
Death of the RighteousJames Wells.Isaiah 57:1-2
Early DeathJ. R. Macduff, D. D.Isaiah 57:1-2
Early DeathJ. R. Macduff, D. D.Isaiah 57:1-2
Good Men DieIsaiah 57:1-2
Merciful MenProf. J. Skinner, D. D.Isaiah 57:1-2
Spared Future EvilHomiletic ReviewIsaiah 57:1-2
The Blessings of Short LifeT. De Witt Talmage, D. D.Isaiah 57:1-2
The Death of the GoodHomilistIsaiah 57:1-2
The Righteous PerishingF. Delitzsch, D. D.Isaiah 57:1-2
Three Pictures of the HumanW. Clarkson Isaiah 57:1, 2

Our attention is called to -

I. A PICTURE OF HUMAN GOODNESS. A good man is represented as "the righteous," as "the merciful," as one who "walketh in uprightness." These characterizations include:

1. The fear of God - reverence for his Name, the worship of his Divine Spirit, the recognition of his righteous claims, a supreme regard for his holy will.

2. The love of man - a practical acknowledgment of his claims on our sympathy and our succour, a hearty and practical desire to promote his well-being.

3. The regulation of daily life, in all stations and spheres, by the laws of truth, purity, honesty, sobriety. A righteous, merciful, and upright man is one who will be making an honest and earnest endeavour to realize all this in his character and his career. Nothing less will satisfy his aspiration.

II. A PICTURE OF HUMAN THOUGHTLESSNESS. "The righteous perisheth, and no man layeth it to heart." When a community - nation or Church - has not been living and walking in the light of the Lord, it becomes dull of apprehension, spiritually blind, incapable of estimating the true character of events.

1. It fails to appreciate the worth of one good man's life. What an incalculable blessing a single true, pure, and holy life may be, and indeed must be! and what a fountain of good is dried up when one who leads such a life is taken away! It is a bad time, indicative of evil and prophetic of decline and death, when human worth is disregarded.

2. It fails to feel the injury and wrong done by arbitrary violence; it ought to resent it with keenest indignation, and to take vigorous steps to arrest and remove it.

3. It fails to recognize a valuable mitigation: "None considering that the righteous is taken away from the evil to come." It is natural enough for men to wish to go on into the future, that they may see what is coming, and that they may help to shape the event; but the wise and thoughtful will consider that there may be a future impending from which they would earnestly pray God to save them. It was not a threat, but a promise, sent to Josiah, "I will gather thee to thy fathers... neither shall thine eyes see all the evil which I will bring upon this place" (2 Kings 22:20). Many are they who have outlived the period of prosperity and peace, to whom an earlier death would have been a happier lot. We cannot be sure that a sudden and even (what we call)a premature death may not be a most merciful removal from intolerable pain, or from overwhelming temptation, or from grievous burdens and sorrows. We sing, "Our times are in thy hand," and we do well to continue, "O God, we wish them there."

III. A PICTURE OF HUMAN REPOSE. "He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds." From the tumult and the strain, from the battle and the burden of life, even the rest of the grave is welcome. But how much more welcome to the weary spirit is that rest which Jesus Christ has revealed, and which remaineth for the people of God! - rest in the home, in the likeness, in the glory, in the untiring service of the ascended Saviour. - C.

The righteous perisheth.
In view of this prevailing demoralization and worldliness (Isaiah 56:9-12), the righteous one succumbs to the grinding weight of external and internal sufferings: he "perishes," dies before his time (Ecclesiastes 7:15), from the midst of his contemporaries, disappearing from this life (Psalm 12:1; Micah 7:2), and no man lays it to heart, i.e. no one considers the Divine accusation and threatening implied in this early death.

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

Literally, men of piety.

(Prof. J. Skinner, D. D.)

Righteousness delivereth from the sting of death, but not from the stroke of it.

( M. Henry.)

1. One reason why, when the righteous dieth, no man layeth it to heart is because the world do not know the righteous.

2. Another reason is, disinclination of all men by nature to lay such things to heart.

3. They do not think it of much importance. But the death of every good man is a loss to the world, a loss to the Church militant — the people of God are the salt of the earth, and the more taken away and the less left, the less likely are we to be blessed as a nation.

(James Wells.)

Such early removals form a problem insoluble by our poor reason. They seem, at first sight, inconsistent alike with the Divine wisdom and power and love. They look almost like the frustration of God's plans and purposes, a failure in His sovereign designs. It is the architect just completing His work when that work comes with a crash to the ground. It is the sculptor putting the finishing strokes of his chisel on the virgin marble, when the toil of months or years strews the floor of his studio. It is the gardener bringing forth from his conservatory the long-husbanded plants in their freshness and beauty, to bask in early summer sun, when a frost or hailstorm unexpectedly comes, and in one night they have perished!

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

Why is the young soldier stricken clown just; when the armour of life has been assayed? Wherefore hath God apparently thus made His noblest work in vain? The words of Isaiah give a twofold answer to these questions and mysteries; the one negative, the other positive.

I. THE NEGATIVE ANSWER. "The righteous is taken away from the evil to come." It was so in the case of Josiah (2 Kings 22:18-20).

II. THE POSITIVE EXPLANATION. "He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds, each one walking in his uprightness; or rather, as it has been rendered, each one walking straight before him, or as Bishop Lowth translates it, "he that walketh in the straight oath."

1. Josiah, the good, the pious, when he died, "entered into peace." It is a beautiful Old Testament evidence of the immediate blessedness of the departed righteous. His body rested in the tomb, as in a "bed" or couch; his spirit — the spirit that walked so "uprightly on earth, with no divergence from the path of duty and piety — continues, in a loftier state of existence, this elevated "walk." The work cut short in this lower world is not arrested; it is only transferred. In a higher and loftier sphere he still pursues these active ministries of righteousness. There is an evident contrast between these opening words of the chapter and the terrible refrain with which it closes — "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked;" none in life, none in death, none in their limitless future. But "the righteous," thus taken away, "enter into peace."

2. Another thought, too, is brought out in the original which we miss in our translation, and which suggests the same assurance of immediate bliss. It occurs in the words just quoted — "The righteous is taken away," "Merciful men are taken away;" this in the Hebrew is, "The righteous, the merciful, are gathered" — gathered to their fathers.

3. One other thought on early death may be suggested by these words. While the spirit is pursuing its onward path of bliss and glory, it has not, in the truest sense, bid farewell to its earthly sphere. The lips are silenced, the music of the voice is hushed, the blank of the absent is too painfully realized. But "the righteous" survive dissolution even in this world; in their deathless memories of goodness and worth, they continue to "walk." The old promise dictated by the sweet singer of Israel (apparently paradoxical) becomes literally true, regarding those prematurely taken away — "With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation." For what, after all, is long life? Is it measured and computed by formal arithmetic? counted by days, or weeks, or months, or years? No! the fourscore years of a misspent life is no life at all. It is a bankruptcy of being. It may be a life only sowing and perpetuating baneful influences; an untimely birth would be better. Whereas, that is the truest length of days, where, it may be for a brief but bright and consecrated season, some young life has shone gloriously for God, and which, though now a fallen meteor, has left a trail of light behind it, for which parent and brother and sister will for ever bless Him who gave the transient boon!

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)


1. Why, then, pamper the body?

2. Why centre interests on the wants and enjoyments of the body?

II. THEIR DEATH IS GENERALLY DISREGARDED BY MANKIND. How soon the best of men are forgotten. There are two reasons for disregarding the death of the good.

1. The thought of death is repugnant to the heart.

2. The concerns of life are all-absorbing.


IV. THEIR DEATH IS A STEP INTO A HIGHER LIFE. "He shall enter into peace: they shall rest in their beds."

1. The death of the good as to the body is only sleep — natural, refreshing, temporary.

2. Their souls march on. " Each one walking in his uprightness." Endless progress. " It doth not yet appear what we shall be."


The righteous is taken away from the evil to come.
Homiletic Review.
1. It may be from the evil of personal suffering. The prolongation of life to old age often involves an immense amount of bodily ills and pains.

2. It may be to spare the heart of affection sore trials. How often do children grow up, to break the hearts of fond parents.

3. It may be to take His child out of harm's way.

4. It may be to shield him from some impending calamity that is coming upon the Church or the world.

5. Or (if we accept the marginal reading) it is to save them "from that which" Is" evil" Life" itself, under the curse of sin, is evil, even in its best estate, and the God of mercy cuts it short and receives His loved one into His bosom.

(Homiletic Review.)

We all spend much time in panegyric of longevity. But I propose to preach about the blessings of an abbreviated earthly existence.






(T. De Witt Talmage, D. D.)

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