Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
isa 56:1My salvation - That eminent salvation by the Messiah, and in which, without this you shall have no share. Is near - So the scripture often speaks of things which are at a great distance, as if they were present or at hand, Hab 2:3; Jam 5:8-9; Rev 22:20. My righteousness - The same thing which he called salvation.
isa 56:2The man - Every man not only Jews but Gentiles, as it is explained in the following verses. The sabbath - The sabbath seems to be put here, as sacrifice is elsewhere, for the whole worship of God.
isa 56:3The stranger - The stranger, the Gentile, who by birth is a stranger to God, that hath turned from dumb idols to the living God. The eunuch - Who is here joined with the stranger, because he was forbidden to enter into the congregation of the Lord, Deu 23:1. Under these two instances he understands all those, who either by birth, or by any ceremonial pollution, were excluded from church privileges, and so he throws open the door to all true believers. A dry tree - A fruitless tree, accursed by God with the curse of barrenness.
isa 56:4Take hold - That stedfastly keep the conditions of my covenant.
isa 56:5In mine house - In my temple. Better - A far greater blessing and honour than that of having posterity, even my favour, and my spirit, and eternal felicity.
isa 56:7Mountain - To my house, which stood upon mount Zion. Joyful - By accepting their services, and comforting their hearts with the sense of my love. Accepted - They shall have as free access to mine house and altar, as the Jews themselves, and their services shall be as acceptable to me. Evangelical worship is here described under such expressions as agreed to the worship of God which then was in use.
isa 56:8The Lord - Who will gather to himself, and bring into their own land, those that are cast out of their own land. Yet - I will make a far more comprehensive gathering of the Gentiles.
isa 56:9Come - This is a prediction of Israel's destruction by their cruel enemies. The prophet having largely discoursed concerning the Messiah, and his kingdom, and having encouraged the Gentiles with God's gracious promises made to them, now proceeds to terrify the unbelieving Jews, and to shew that as the Gentiles would believe, and be saved, so they would reject their Messiah, and be destroyed.
isa 56:10His - Israel's. Watchmen - Priests and teachers; he mentions only the teachers, because ignorance was most shameful in them, but hereby he supposes the gross ignorance of the people. Bark - They are also slothful and negligent in instructing the people, and do not faithfully reprove them for their sins.
isa 56:11They look - They regard neither God's glory, nor the peoples good, but only the satisfaction of their own base desires. Quarter - In their several stations.
isa 56:12Say they - Unto their brethren, fellow - priests, or other jolly companions. Fill ourselves - We will drink not only to delight, but even to drunkenness, as the word signifies, which shews their dreadful security and contempt of God, and their abandoning of all care of their own or peoples souls.