Isaiah 65 Commentary

God’s people: servants or rebels? (65:1-16)

It was God’s desire that Israel seek him and enjoy his blessings, but instead the nation rebelled against him and stubbornly went its own way. Only a minority within Israel, along with those of Gentile nations who turned to Israel’s God, were really God’s people (65:1-2). As for the people of Israel as a whole, they had throughout their long history repeatedly made God angry. They sacrificed to other gods, consulted the spirits of the dead and ate forbidden food, yet all the time they claimed that they were holy but other nations were unclean (3-5). Consequently, God had punished Israel and sent the people into captivity (6-7).

Amid all the religious corruption of Israel there is still a faithful remnant. They are like a few good grapes in a bad bunch. For their sake God will restore Israel to its land, where faithful believers will worship and serve him in peace and contentment (8-10). But those who ignore his warnings and continue to worship foreign gods will be destroyed (11-12).

The minority of faithful believers, those who worship and obey God, are God’s truly chosen ones, God’s true servants. They will be blessed with God’s favour. The rest of the nation, those who ignore God, will be disgraced with God’s punishment (13-14). Although the ungodly will be destroyed, their name will continue to be used by the faithful as a symbol of the curse of God upon disobedience. The faithful, by contrast, will be given a new name, to indicate God’s favour upon them. They will live in loyal dependence on the faithful God (15-16).

A new creation (65:17-25)

Israel’s condition in the time of the prophet is then contrasted with conditions in the new Jerusalem, the kingdom of the Messiah. That kingdom is not an improved version of the old Israelite kingdom, but is something entirely new. It is a new creation, where the quality of life will be different from that of the present world. Sorrow will be replaced by rejoicing. Life will not be cut short except where God acts in judgment (17-20).

In the new creation people will have complete satisfaction. They will not experience the sufferings and frustrations that result from sin, but will enjoy life as God intended them to enjoy it (21-23). The absence of sin will mean that, above all, they will live in perfect fellowship with God. The world of nature also will benefit in this new era of genuine peace and harmony (24-25).

Privacy Policy