Isaiah 3:9
(9) They declare their sin as Sodom.--The comparison is, it should be remembered, of probably an earlier date than that in Isaiah 1:10. In the reign of Ahaz (perhaps the prophet, editing in his old age, thought also of that of Manasseh) there was not even the homage which vice pays to virtue by feigning a virtue which it has not. Men fell into an utter shamelessness, like that of the cities of the plain (Genesis 19:5), generally in the luxury and profligacy of their lives (Ezekiel 16:49), perhaps also with a more definite and horrible resemblance (1Kings 14:24; 1Kings 15:12; 2Kings 23:7).

Woe unto their soul!--In the midst of the confusions of the times the prophet is bidden to proclaim that the law of a righteous retribution would be seen working even there.

Verse 9. - The show of their countenance doth witness against them. This is not in itself a sin, but it is a sign of frequent and habitual sin. Vice, long indulged in, stamps its mark upon the countenance, giving men what is called "a bad expression" - a guilty and hardened look. It does not require a skilled physiognomist to detect at a glance the habitual criminal or sensualist. They declare their sin as Sodom. Not only does their countenance betray them, but, like the Sodomites (Genesis 19:5, 9), they boldly and impudently declare their wicked purposes beforehand, and make no attempt at concealment. Hypocrisy has been said to be the homage that vice pays to virtue. Where there is none, where vice has ceased to shroud or veil itself, a very advanced stage of wickedness has been reached. They have rewarded evil unto themselves. They have "received in themselves the recompense of their error which was meet" (Romans 1:27). Their sins have at once marred their countenance and injured their moral nature.

3:1-9 God was about to deprive Judah of every stay and support. The city and the land were to be made desolate, because their words and works had been rebellious against the Lord; even at his holy temple. If men do not stay themselves upon God, he will soon remove all other supports, and then they must sink. Christ is the Bread of life and the Water of life; if he be our Stay, we shall find that is a good part not to be taken away, Joh 6:27. Here note, 1. That the condition of sinners is exceedingly woful. 2. It is the soul that is damaged by sin. 3. Whatever evil befals sinners, be sure that they bring it on themselves.The shew of their countenance doth witness against them,.... The word translated "shew" is only used in this place. Some derive it from "to know", in the conjugations Piel and Hiphil; and render it, "the knowledge of their countenance" (f); that is, that which may be known by their countenances; the countenance oftentimes shows what is in the heart, the cruel disposition of the mind, the pride and vanity of it, the uncleanness and lasciviousness that is in it; to this our version agrees, and which is confirmed by the Chaldee paraphrase,

"the knowledge of their countenance in judgment doth testify against them;''

as they appear there, so it may be judged of them; their guilt flies in their face, and fills them with shame and confusion; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "the shame of their face"; but others derive it from which has the signification of hardness in the Arabic language, and as it is thought by some to have in Job 19:3 and render it, "the hardness of their countenance"; so R. Joseph Kimchi, and others (g), meaning their impudence (h); not only their words and actions, but their impudent looks, show what they are; which agrees with what follows:

and they declare their sin as Sodom, and

hide it not; commit it openly, without fear or shame; glory in it, and boast of it, as the Jews did in their crucifixion of Christ, and their evil treatment of him:

woe to their soul, for they have rewarded evil unto themselves; they have brought upon themselves, soul and body, the just recompence of reward; they have been the cause of their own ruin, and have wronged their own souls.

(f) "cognitio vultus eorum", Munster, Vatablus, V. L. (g) "Obfermatio", Janius & Tremellius; "durities", Piscator. (h) So Schindler renders the Arabic word, "hacar", impudence. Vid. Castel. Lexic. col. 846.

Isaiah 3:8
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