Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 28:16

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Behold, I lay in Zion - See the notes on Genesis 49:32; Psalm 118:22; (note); Matthew 21:42; (note); Acts 4:11; (note); Romans 9:33; (note); Romans 10:11; (note); Ephesians 2:20; (note); 1 Peter 2:6-8; (note). Kimchi understands this of Hezekiah; but it most undoubtedly belongs to Jesus Christ alone; and his application of it to himself, even the Jews could not contest.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Therefore thus saith the Lord - God. This verse is introductory to the solemn threatening which follows. Its design seems to be this. The prophet was about to utter an awful threatening of the judgment of God upon the nation. It might be supposed, perhaps, that the intention was completely to sweep them, and destroy them - that the threatened calamity would remove every vestige of the Jewish people and of the true religion together. To meet this supposition, God says that this should not occur. Zion was founded on a rock. It should be like an edifice that was reared on a firm, well-tried cornerstone - one that could endure all the storms that should beat around it, and be unmoved. The general sentiment of the verse is, therefore, that though a tempest of calamity was about to beat upon the people for their sins; though the temple was to be destroyed, the city laid in ashes, and many of the people slain; yet it was the purpose of God that his empire on earth should not be destroyed. A foundation, a cornerstone was to be laid that would be unshaken and unmoved by all the assaults of the foes of God, and all who were truly resting on that should be safe. The perpetuity of his kingdom, and the safety of his true people, is, therefore, the essential idea in this passage. That it refers to the Messiah, and is designed to show that his kingdom will be perpetual because it is reared on him, we shall see by an examination of the words which occur in the verse.

In Zion - (see the note at Isaiah 1:8). Zion here is put for his empire, kingdom, or church in general on earth. To lay a cornerstone in Zion, means that his kingdom would be founded on a rock, and would be secure amidst all the storms that might beat upon it.

For a foundation a stone - That is, I lay a firm foundation which nothing can move; I build it on a rock so that the storms and tempests of calamity cannot sweep it away (compare Matthew 7:24-25). The Targum renders this, ‹Lo! I appoint in Zion a king, a strong, mighty, and terrible king.‘ That the passage before us has reference to the Messiah there can be no doubt. The writers of the New Testament so understood and applied it. Thus it is applied by Peter 1 Peter 2:6, ‹Wherefore, also, it is contained in the Scripture, Behold I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious; and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded‘ (see the notes at Romans 9:33; compare Romans 10:11; Matthew 21:42; Luke 20:17-18; Luke 2:34; Ephesians 2:20). Such a reference also exactly suits the conection. The stability of the kingdom of God on earth rests on the Messiah. God had determined to send him; and, consequently, amidst all the agitations and revolutions that could take place among his ancient people, this promise was sure, and it was certain that he would come, and that his church would be preserved.

A tried stone - The word which is used here is applied commonly to “metals” which are tried in the fire to test their quality (see Job 23:10; Psalm 66:10; Jeremiah 9:6; Zechariah 13:9). The idea is, that God would lay for a foundation not a stone whose qualities are unknown, and whose stability might be doubtful, but one whose firmness and solidity were so fully known, that the foundation and the superstructure would be secure.

A precious cornerstone - The word ‹precious‘ (Septuagint, and 1 Peter 2:6, ἔμτιμον entimon ) refers to the fact that the most solid stone would be used to sustain the corner of the edifice. The principal weight of the superstructure rests on the corners, and hence, in building, the largest and firmest blocks are selected and placed there.

He that believeth - He that confides in that; he that believes that that foundation is firm, and that he is secure in trusting in that, shall not make haste. The great doctrine of faith in the Messiah as a ground of security and salvation, on which so much stress is laid in the New Testament, is here distinctly adverted to. The sense is, that confidence in him should keep the mind firm, and preserve him that believes in safety.

Shall not make haste - The Septuagint renders it, Ου ̓ μὴ καταισχυνθῆ Ou mē kataischunthē - ‹Shall not be ashamed.‘ So Peter, 1 Peter 2:6; and Paul, Romans 9:33. The Hebrew word יחישׁ yachiysh from חוּשׁ chôsh means properly “to make haste;” and then to urge on; and then to be afraid, to flee. The idea is derived from one who is alarmed, and flees to a place of safety. The specific thought here is that of a man on whose house the tempest beats, and who apprehends that the foundation is insecure, and leaves it to seek a more safe position. The prophet says here, that the foundation on which Zion was reared would be so firm that if a man trusted to that he would have no cause of alarm, however, much the storms should beat around it. The same idea essentially is conveyed in the version of the Septuagint, and by Paul and Peter, where it is rendered ‹shall not be ashamed,‘ or ‹confounded.‘ That is, he shall have no reason to be ashamed of his confidence in the firm foundation; he shall not flee from it as a man does who puts his trust in that which fails him in the day of trial.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Here is a promise of Christ, as the only foundation of hope for escaping the wrath to come. This foundation was laid in Zion, in the eternal counsels of God. This foundation is a stone, firm and able to support his church. It is a tried stone, a chosen stone, approved of God, and never failed any who made trial of it. A corner stone, binding together the whole building, and bearing the whole weight; precious in the sight of the Lord, and of every believer; a sure foundation on which to build. And he who in any age or nation shall believe this testimony, and rest all his hopes, and his never-dying soul on this foundation, shall never be confounded. The right effect of faith in Christ is, to quiet and calm the soul, till events shall be timed by Him, who has all times in his own hand and power. Whatever men trust to for justification, except the righteousness of Christ; or for wisdom, strength, and holiness, except the influences of the Holy Ghost; or for happiness, except the favour of God; that protection in which they thought to shelter themselves, will prove not enough to answer the intention. Those who rest in a righteousness of their own, will have deceived themselves: the bed is too short, the covering too narrow. God will be glorified in the fulfilling of his counsels. If those that profess to be members of God's church, make themselves like Philistines and Canaanites, they must expect to be dealt with as such. Then dare not to ridicule the reproofs of God's word, or the approaches of judgements.
Ellen G. White
Thoughts From the Mount of Blessing, 152

You who are resting your hope on self are building on the sand. But it is not yet too late to escape the impending ruin. Before the tempest breaks, flee to the sure foundation. “Thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious cornerstone, of sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.” “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.” “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of My righteousness.” “Ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” Isaiah 28:16, R.V.; 45:22; 41:10; 45:17. MB 152.1

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 265.8

To as many as believe in Him, Christ gives power to become the sons of God. Those who are thus denominated as members of the royal family will live for Him who is the propitiation for their sins. As they follow on to know the truth, their feet are planted on the sure foundation. Neither flood nor storm can sweep away their foundation.—Letter 289, September 13, 1905, to “My Brethren in the Ministry.” TDG 265.8

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Ellen G. White
The Story of Redemption, 252

The defense of Peter, in which he boldly avowed from whence his strength was obtained, appalled them. He had referred to the stone set at nought by the builders—meaning the authorities of the church, who should have perceived the value of Him whom they rejected—but which had nevertheless become the head of the corner. In those words he directly referred to Christ, who was the foundation stone of the church. SR 252.1

The people were amazed at the boldness of the disciples. They supposed, because they were ignorant fishermen, they would be overcome with embarrassment when confronted by the priests, scribes, and elders. But they took knowledge that they had been with Jesus. The apostles spoke as He had spoken, with a convincing power that silenced their adversaries. In order to conceal their perplexity, the priests and rulers ordered the apostles to be taken away, that they might counsel among themselves. SR 252.2

They all agreed that it would be useless to deny that the man had been healed through power given the apostles in the name of the crucified Jesus. They would gladly have covered up the miracle by falsehoods; but the work was done in the full light of day and before a crowd of people, and had already come to the knowledge of thousands. They felt that the work must be immediately stopped, or Jesus would gain many believers, their own disgrace would follow, and they would be held guilty of the murder of the Son of God. SR 252.3

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Ellen G. White
Our High Calling, 54

Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste. Isaiah 28:16. OHC 54.1

Our Redeemer is a “Tried Stone.” The experiment has been made, the great test has been applied, and with perfect success. In Him is fulfilled all the purpose of God for the saving of a lost world. Never was a foundation subject to so severe a trial and test as this “Tried Stone.” The Lord Jehovah knew what this foundation stone could sustain. The sins of the whole world could be piled upon it. The Lord's chosen were to be revealed, heaven's gates to be thrown open to all who would believe; its untold glories were to be given to the overcomers. OHC 54.2

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