Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible, by John Wesley, [1754-65], at sacred-texts.com
isa 59:3Perverseness - Perverse words are such as are contrary to God's word. Words every way contrary to God's will.
isa 59:4None - None seek to redress these wrongs, and violences; they commit all rapines, and frauds with impunity. Bring forth - These two words of conceiving, and bringing forth, denote their whole contrivance, and perfecting their wickedness.
isa 59:5Cockatrice eggs - One kind put for any venomous creature, a proverbial speech signifying by these eggs mischievous designs, and by hatching them, their putting them in practice. Web - Another proverbial speech whereby is taught, both how by their plots they weave nets, lay snares industriously with great pains and artifice. And also how their designs will come to nothing, as the spider's web is soon swept away.
isa 59:6Webs - Their contrivances shall not be able to cover or defend them.
isa 59:7Wasting - They meditate on little or nothing else. Paths - In what way or work soever they are engaged, it all tends to ruin and destruction.
isa 59:8The way of peace - They live in continual contentions, and discords. Judgment - No justice, equity, faith, or integrity.
isa 59:9Justice - Judgment, and so justice is here taken for deliverance. God doth not defend our right, nor revenge our wrong, because of these outrages, and acts of violence, injustice, and oppression.
isa 59:10As dead men - He compares their captivity to men dead without hope of recovery.
isa 59:11Mourn - Their oppressing governors made the wicked roar like bears, and the good mourn like doves.
isa 59:12Transgressions - The word here signifies sins of an high nature, such as wherein there is much of man's will against light: rebellious sins. Multiplied - They admit of no excuse; for they are acted before thee, and multiplied against thee, whereby thou art justly provoked to deny us all help. Testify - As so many witnesses produced proves our guilt. Are with us - Are still unforgiven. We know - We are convinced of them.
isa 59:13Lying - Transgressing here, and lying, seem to be one and the same thing, inasmuch as in their transgressing the law of God, they broke their solemn engagement to God upon mount Sinai. Departing - Turning from God to idols. Speaking - As it were, talking of little else one among another, but how to oppress their neighbours, and apostatize from God. Uttering - That is, first contriving in their heart false accusations, false worship to the dishonour of God; laying the contrivances and uttering them. From the heart - And when they dealt with men in ways of fraud, it was from the heart, but when they spake with God it was but from the lip.
isa 59:14Judgment - He speaks here of the sentences in courts of judicature. Truth - Truth is cast to the ground, and justice trampled under foot, even in publick. Equity - No such thing will be admitted in their courts.
isa 59:15Faileth - All things are amiss, neither judgment or justice, or truth, is to be found among us. A prey - Or, as some render it, is accounted mad, is laughed at. Josephus tells us, that immediately before the destruction of Jerusalem, it was matter of scorn to be religions. The translators reach the meaning of the word by prey: the wicked, like wild beasts, endeavouring to devour such as are not as bad as themselves: where wickedness rules, innocency is oppressed.
isa 59:16No man - To appear in the behalf of equity. His arm - He would do his work without help from any other. Righteousness - His justice; seeing there could be no justice found among them, he would avenge the innocent himself.
isa 59:17For - God, resolving to appear as a man of war, puts on his arms; he calls righteousness his breast - plate, to shew the justness of his cause, as also his faithfulness in making good his promises. Vengeance - Or garments made of vengeance: as God is said to put on the former for their sakes, whom he would preserve, so he puts on these for their sakes, whom he will destroy, namely, his peoples enemies. Zeal - For his own honour, and for his own people. The sum of all these expressions is, to describe both the cause and effect together; the cause was righteousness and zeal in God, the effect, salvation to his people, and vengeance on his enemies.
isa 59:18Deeds - Heb. recompences or deserts. That is, he will recompence his adversaries with those effects of his fury that they have deserved. Islands - To those remoter nations under the king of Babylon, that thought themselves secure.
isa 59:19Fear - Worship the Lord. The west - The western part of the world. His glory - The glorious God. The rising of the sun - The eastern parts. When - At what time soever the devil, or his instruments shall make violent irruptions upon the church. A standard - God shall make known himself to take their part and defend them, by his spirit alone.
isa 59:20The Redeemer - Christ, of whom the apostle expounds it, Rom 11:26, the prophets usually concluding their promises of temporal deliverances with the promises of spiritual, especially such, of which the temporal were evident types.
isa 59:21My covenant - What I have promised, to them that turn from their iniquity. My words - Which thou hast uttered by virtue of my spirit. Of thy seed - A promise of the perpetual presence of his word and spirit with the prophets, apostles, and teachers of the church to all ages.