Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 56:2

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

That keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it - Kimchi has an excellent note here. "The Sabbath is sanctified when it is distinguished in dignity; and separated from other days.

  1. As to the body, in meat, drink, and clean clothing.
  • As to the soul, that it be empty of worldly occupations, and be busily employed in the words of the law and wisdom, and in meditation on the works of the Lord."
  • The rabbins say, "Jerusalem had never been destroyed, had not the Sabbaths been profaned in it."

    Albert Barnes
    Notes on the Whole Bible

    Blessed is the man - Hebrew, ‹The blessings of the man‘ (see Psalm 1:1). The sense is, ‹happy is the man.‘ The word here rendered ‹man‘ (אנושׁ 'ĕnôsh ) usually denotes a man in humble life or in a subordinate rank, in contradistinction from אישׁ 'ı̂ysh a man in elevated rank. As the object of the prophet here is particularly to say, that the ‹stranger‘ and the ‹eunuch‘ would be admitted to these privileges, it is possible that he designedly used a word denoting one in bumble life. The particular blessing to which he refers is specified in Isaiah 56:7-8.

    That doeth this - That is, this which the prophet soon specifies - keeping the Sabbath, and abstaining from evil.

    And the son of man - Another form of expression denoting man.

    That layeth hold on it - Hebrew, ‹Binds himself fast to it;‘ or seizes upon it with strength. That is, he adheres firmly to the purpose, as a man seizes upon a thing with an intention not to let it go.

    That keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it - Who sacredly observes the day of holy rest which God has appointed. The Sabbath was one of the special rites of the Jewish religion, and one of the most important of their institutions. Its observance entered essentially into the idea of their worship, and was designed to be the standing memorial or sign between God and the Jewish nation Exodus 31:13-17. At home, in their own nation, it kept up the constant sense of religion; abroad, when they traveled among strangers, it would serve to remind all of the special nature of their institutions, and be the public evidence that they were the worshippers of Yahweh. Hence, as this served to distinguish them from other people, it comes to be used here to signify the observance of the rites which pertained to the public worship of God; and evidently includes whatever was to be perpetual and unchanging in the public worship of the Creator. It is remarkable that the prophet does not pronounce a blessing on him who came to bloody altars with sacrifices, or him who burned incense, or him who conformed to the unique rites of the Jewish religion. These rites were to pass away, and the obligation to observe them was to cease; and in this indirect manner the sacred writer has given an intimation that there would be blessings on those who did not observe those rites, and that the period would arrive when the divine favor and mercy would descend on people in a different channel. In regard to the importance of the Sabbath, see the note at the close of Isaiah 58:1-14.

    And keepeth his hand … - That is, is an upright, holy, honest man. He not only worships God and keeps the Sabbath, but he is upright in the discharge of all the duties which he owes to his fellow-men. These two specifications are evidently designed to include all the influences of religion - the proper service and worship of God, and an upright and holy life. Never in fact are they separated, and the religion of the Bible was designed to secure the one as much as the other.

    Matthew Henry
    Concise Bible Commentary
    The Lord tells us what are his expectations of duty from us. Be honest and just in all dealings. Also strictly observe the sabbath day. To have the blessing of God upon employments all the week, make conscience of keeping the sabbath holy. Have nothing to do with sin. Blessed is the man that keeps his hand from all things displeasing to God and hurtful to his own soul. Those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, will be found walking in ways of holy obedience.
    Ellen G. White
    The Great Controversy, 451

    The work of Sabbath reform to be accomplished in the last days is foretold in the prophecy of Isaiah: “Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” “The sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve Him, and to love the name of the Lord, to be His servants, everyone that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and taketh hold of My covenant; even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer.” Isaiah 56:1, 2, 6, 7. GC 451.1

    These words apply in the Christian age, as shown by the context: “The Lord God which gathereth the outcasts of Israel saith, Yet will I gather others to him, beside those that are gathered unto him.” Verse 8. Here is foreshadowed the gathering in of the Gentiles by the gospel. And upon those who then honor the Sabbath, a blessing is pronounced. Thus the obligation of the fourth commandment extends past the crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ, to the time when His servants should preach to all nations the message of glad tidings. GC 451.2

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    Ellen G. White
    Testimonies for the Church, vol. 9, 228

    Soon there is to be trouble all over the world. It becomes everyone to seek to know God. We have no time to delay. With earnestness and fervor the message must be given: “Ho, everyone that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat; yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price.” Isaiah 55:1. “Thus saith the Lord, Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for My salvation is near to come, and My righteousness to be revealed. Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the Son of man that layeth hold on it; that keepeth the Sabbath from polluting it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.” Isaiah 56:1, 2. 9T 228.1

    God's love for His church is infinite. His care over His heritage is unceasing. He suffers no affliction to come upon the church but such as is essential for her purification, her present and eternal good. He will purify His church even as He purified the temple at the beginning and close of His ministry on earth. All that He brings upon the church in test and trial comes that His people may gain deeper piety and more strength to carry the triumphs of the cross to all parts of the world. He has a work for all to do. There must be constant enlargement and progress. The work must extend from city to city, from country to country, and from nation to nation, moving continually onward and upward, established, strengthened, and settled. 9T 228.2


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