The Lord of hosts "Jehovah God of hosts" - As this title of God, צבאות יהוה Yehovah tsebaoth, "Jehovah of hosts, occurs here for the first time, I think it proper to note, that I translate it always, as in this place, "Jehovah God of hosts;" taking it as an elliptical expression for צבאות אלהי יהוה Yehovah Elohey tsebaoth . This title imports that Jehovah is the God or Lord of hosts or armies; as he is the Creator and Supreme Governor of all beings in heaven and earth, and disposeth and ruleth them all in their several orders and stations; the almighty, universal Lord.
We should have been as Sodom - As completely and finally ruined as that and the cities of the plain were, no vestige of which remains at this day.
Except - It is owing entirely to the mercy of God, that we are not like Sodom. The prophet traces this not to the goodness of the nation, not to any power or merit of theirs, but solely to the mercy of God. This passage the apostle Paul has used in an argument to establish the doctrine of divine sovereignty in the salvation of people; see the note at Romans 9:29.
The Lord - Hebrew Yahweh. Note Isaiah 1:2.
Of hosts - צבאות tsebâ'ôth - the word sometimes translated “Sabaoth”; Romans 9:29; James 5:4. The word means literally armies or military hosts. It is applied, however, to the angels which surround the throne of God; 1 Kings 22:19; 2 Chronicles 18:18; Psalm 103:21; and to the stars or constellations that appear to be marshalled in the sky; Jeremiah 33:22; Isaiah 40:26. This host, or the “host of heaven,” was frequently an object of idolatrous worship; Deuteronomy 4:19; Deuteronomy 17:3; 2 Kings 17:16. God is called Yahweh of hosts because he is at the head of all these armies, as their leader and commander; he marshals and directs them - as a general does the army under his command. ‹This,‘ says Gesenius, ‹is the most common name of God in Isaiah, and in Jeremiah, Zechariah, and Malachi. It represents him as the ruler of the hosts of heaven, that is, the angels and the stars. Sometimes, but less frequently, we meet with the appellation Yahweh, God of hosts. Hence, some suppose the expression Yahweh of hosts to be elliptical. But it is not a correct assertion that Yahweh, as a proper name, admits of no genitive. But such relations and adjuncts as depend upon the genitive, often depend upon proper names. So in Arabic, one is called Rebiah of the poor in reference to his liability.‘ The name is given here, because to save any portion of a nation so wicked implied the exercise of the same power as that by which he controlled the hosts of heaven.
Remnant - A small part - that which is left. It means here, that God had spared a portion of the nation, so that they were not entirely overthrown.
We should have been as Sodom - This does not refer to the character of the people, but to their destiny. If God had not interposed to save them they would have been overwhelmed entirely as Sodom was; compare Genesis 19:24-25.
Thus Paul shows that God is abundantly able to transform the hearts of Jew and Gentile alike, and to grant to every believer in Christ the blessings promised to Israel. He repeats Isaiah's declaration concerning God's people: “Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: for He will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth. And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us a seed, we had been as Sodoma and been made like unto Gomorrah.” AA 379.1
At the time when Jerusalem was destroyed and the temple laid in ruins, many thousands of the Jews were sold to serve as bondmen in heathen lands. Like wrecks on a desert shore they were scattered among the nations. For eighteen hundred years the Jews have wandered from land to land throughout the world, and in no place have they been given the privilege of regaining their ancient prestige as a nation. Maligned, hated, persecuted, from century to century theirs has been a heritage of suffering. AA 379.2
Notwithstanding the awful doom pronounced upon the Jews as a nation at the time of their rejection of Jesus of Nazareth, there have lived from age to age many noble, God-fearing Jewish men and women who have suffered in silence. God has comforted their hearts in affliction and has beheld with pity their terrible situation. He has heard the agonizing prayers of those who have sought Him with all the heart for a right understanding of His word. Some have learned to see in the lowly Nazarene whom their forefathers rejected and crucified, the true Messiah of Israel. As their minds have grasped the significance of the familiar prophecies so long obscured by tradition and misinterpretation, their hearts have been filled with gratitude to God for the unspeakable gift He bestows upon every human being who chooses to accept Christ as a personal Saviour. AA 379.3Read in context »
The outlook was particularly discouraging as regards the social conditions of the people. In their desire for gain, men were adding house to house and field to field. See Isaiah 5:8. Justice was perverted, and no pity was shown the poor. Of these evils God declared, “The spoil of the poor is in your houses.” “Ye beat My people to pieces, and grind the faces of the poor.” Isaiah 3:14, 15. Even the magistrates, whose duty it was to protect the helpless, turned a deaf ear to the cries of the poor and needy, the widows and the fatherless. See Isaiah 10:1, 2. PK 306.1
With oppression and wealth came pride and love of display, gross drunkenness, and a spirit of revelry. See Isaiah 2:11, 12; 3:16, 18-23; Isaiah 5:22, 11, 12. And in Isaiah's day idolatry itself no longer provoked surprise. See Isaiah 2:8, 9. Iniquitous practices had become so prevalent among all classes that the few who remained true to God were often tempted to lose heart and to give way to discouragement and despair. It seemed as if God's purpose for Israel were about to fail and that the rebellious nation was to suffer a fate similar to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. PK 306.2
In the face of such conditions it is not surprising that when, during the last year of Uzziah's reign, Isaiah was called to bear to Judah God's messages of warning and reproof, he shrank from the responsibility. He well knew that he would encounter obstinate resistance. As he realized his own inability to meet the situation and thought of the stubbornness and unbelief of the people for whom he was to labor, his task seemed hopeless. Should he in despair relinquish his mission and leave Judah undisturbed to their idolatry? Were the gods of Nineveh to rule the earth in defiance of the God of heaven? PK 306.3Read in context »
“They which lead thee,” the prophet continued, “cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths.” Verse 12. During the reign of Ahaz this was literally true; for of him it is written: “He walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, and made also molten images for Baalim. Moreover he burnt incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom;” “yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord cast out from before the children of Israel.” 2 Chronicles 28:2, 3; 2 Kings 16:3. PK 324.1
This was indeed a time of great peril for the chosen nation. Only a few short years, and the ten tribes of the kingdom of Israel were to be scattered among the nations of heathendom. And in the kingdom of Judah also the outlook was dark. The forces for good were rapidly diminishing, the forces for evil multiplying. The prophet Micah, viewing the situation, was constrained to exclaim: “The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men.” “The best of them is as a brier: the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge.” Micah 7:2, 4. “Except the Lord of hosts had left unto us a very small remnant,” declared Isaiah, “we should have been as Sodom, and ... Gomorrah.” Isaiah 1:9. PK 324.2
In every age, for the sake of those who have remained true, as well as because of His infinite love for the erring, God has borne long with the rebellious, and has urged them to forsake their course of evil and return to Him. “Precept upon precept; line upon line, ... here a little, and there a little,” through men of His appointment, He has taught transgressors the way of righteousness. Isaiah 28:10. PK 324.3Read in context »
1 (Hebrews 11:37). Isaiah Was Sawn Asunder—Isaiah, who was permitted by the Lord to see wonderful things, was sawn asunder, because he faithfully reproved the sins of the Jewish nation. The prophets who came to look after the Lord's vineyard, were indeed beaten and killed. “They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword; they wandered about in sheepskins and goat-skins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented”—men of whom the world was not worthy. They were cruelly treated, and banished from the world (The Signs of the Times, February 17, 1898). 4BC 1137.1Read in context »