My people - Instead of עמי ammi, my people, many MSS., and one of my own, ancient, read עמו ammo, his people. But this is manifestly a corruption.
To turn aside - Their sentences have the effect, and are designed to have, to pervert justice, and to oppress the poor, or to deprive them of their rights and just claims; compare Isaiah 29:21; Proverbs 27:5.
The needy -
d daliym - דלים dalı̂ym Those of humble rank and circumstances; who have no powerful friends and defenders. “From judgment.” From obtaining justice.
And to take away - To take away by violence and oppression. The word גזל gāzal is commonly applied to robbery, and to oppression; to the taking away of spoils in battle, etc.
That widows may be their prey - That they may rob widows, or obtain their property. This crime has always been one particularly offensive in the sight of God; see the note at Isaiah 1:23. The widow and the orphan are without protectors. Judges, by their office, are particularly bound to preserve their rights; and it, therefore, evinces special iniquity when they who should be their protectors become, in fact, their oppressors, and do injustice to them without the possibility of redress. Yet this was the character of the Jewish judges; and for this the vengeance of heaven was about to come upon the land.
Look at the picture which the world presents today. Dishonesty, fraud, and bankruptcies, violence and bloodshed, exist on every hand. The widows and the fatherless are robbed of their all. Plays, horse races, and amusements of every kind occupy the mind. In the church, sins have become fashionable. They are glossed over and excused. The right hand of fellowship is given to the very men who bring in false theories and sentiments. Thus the discernment and sensibilities have become deadened as to what constitutes right principles. Conscience has become insensible to the counsel and reproofs which have been given. The light given, calling to repentance, has been shut out by the thick cloud of unbelief and opposition brought in by human plans and human inventions. LHU 371.2Read 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 »