Some have found a way to smooth over an implacable, unalterable spleen and malice, by dignifying it with the name of constancy. There are some crimes which degrade human nature, or greatly disturb the happiness of society, which are therefore very generally reprobated and abhorred. But let the torpid conviction of the lukewarm be contrasted with the illusion of the enthusiast, and the former will prove itself not less dangerous, and generally more deliberately criminal, than the latter. Isaiah 5:20, ESV: "Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter!" Isaiah 28 begins an eight-chapter section (28-35) mostly directed to the southern kingdom of Judah. Isaiah 5:19-21 (New Living Translation) 19 They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! The rose is a glorious flower, but it withers sometimes and produces nothing but mouldering and loathly buds, because there is some poison in the sap or some canker at the root. Isaiah 5:19-21 (New Living Translation) 19 They even mock God and say, “Hurry up and do something! We want to see what you can do. They are mortified to painlessness, and this is death. 3. Book of Isaiah Chapter 5 - Click for Chapter Audio: 5:20 - [ In Context | Read Chapter | Discuss this Verse ] [ Original: Hebrew / Greek | Multi-Translation ] Woe unto them that call F32 evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! This view of the context is given for two reasonsâ. 7. It will be no excuse to any one that such or such maxims were generally received, or that such practices were sanctioned by custom: there will be one standard to which every principle and every action will be referred. Wesley's Isaiah 5:20 Bible Commentary 5:20 To them - That take away the difference between good and evil; that justify wicked men and things, and condemn piety, or righteous persons. A general scholarly consensus is that the opening verses (vv.1-5) are an exchange within the heavenly court (cf. Woe: An expression of a cry of a sigh concerning the impending retribution. (R. South, D. D.), Straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel, A Neapolitan shepherd came in anguish to his priest, saying, “Father, have mercy on a miserable sinner. It will also be found that in the use of terms employed by both, there is a difference of sense, it may be unintentional, denoting no small difference in point of principle. No man can dislike a taste, or smell, or sound which at the same time he regards as pleasant, nor can he like one which he thinks unpleasant. Examples of “calling evil good, and good evil” (Psalms 10:3; Malachi 2:17; Malachi 3:15; Luke 16:15; 2 Peter 2:19). Religion being once rendered so slight in the mind, once esteemed so gloomy and unworthy a pursuit, its restraints are neglected, its principles evaded, and the wavering deceitfulness of men’s hearts made the standard of men’s actions. Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Consider those who are not imposing on themselves by believing things to be good, which are really evil, but WHO WILFULLY AND MALICIOUSLY ENDEAVOUR TO DESTROY A TRUE BELIEF IN OTHERS, BY FALSE REPRESENTATIONS OF SIN DUTY. $3.99 a month puts a library of commentaries, study notes, and Greek & Hebrew language tools right in your pocket. Is profaneness noticed? 3. TO THE PRIVATE INTERESTS OF INDIVIDUALS. An indifference to all religious worship is often concealed under the specious term of “a truly religious spirit of universal toleration.”, 3. (R. South, D. D.), An espied difference between virtue and vice in the nature of things, I. I shall first EXPLAIN THE MEANING, AND THEN CONFIRM THE TRUTH OF THIS OBSERVATION. The words of the passage supply a certain vision of the order of the process. | Expand chapter. Bible Search: Again; as religion is esteemed a superficial thing, so it is also deemed a melancholy thing. The character thus drawn is generally applicable to ungodly men. x., p. 178. Who does not know that they are often worse, and that where any marked diversity exists, the difference is commonly in favour of his words at the expense of his thoughts and feelings? ... Isaiah 5:20 tells of the fourth woe—the sin of moral relativism. 1. The more we examine the principles and actions of men, the more shall we find that this system obtains among them both in theory and practice. H.Spurgeon. And I ask, lastly, whether he who, in relation to the self-same acts, performed by men of opposite descriptions, has a judgment suited to the case of each, but who is all compassion to the wilful transgressions of the wicked, and all inexorable sternness to the innocent infirmities of godly men; he who strains at a gnat in the behaviour of the meek and conscientious Christian, but can swallow a camel in the conduct of the self-indulgent votary of pleasure; he who lauds religion as exhibited in those who give him no uneasiness by their example, but maligns and disparages it when, from its peculiar strength and brightness, it reflects a glare of painful and intolerable light upon his own corruptions,--let his maxims of moral philosophy be what they will,--does not, to all intents and purposes, incur the woe pronounced on those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter? What is there in it that is so contemptible? 21 Woe unto [them that are] wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Let not too great weight be given to the opinions of men. Every man, whether he design it or not, has a considerable influence on his friends and neighbours. Learn more today! By the rule of honour. If the verse be taken merely in this general sense, the woe which it pronounces is a general woe, or declaration of Divine displeasure and denunciation of impending wrath against the wicked generally, simply equivalent to that in chap. But his heart is fixed on his idol, human applause. IV. Darkness and light, bitter and sweet, therefore, are not tautological metaphors for evil and good; but epithets applied to evil and good according to their essential principles, and their necessary and internal effects. Return to the Main Player. 6 In the year that s King Uzziah died I t saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train 1 of his robe filled the temple. the sin of pride. 2 And he fenced it, and gathered out the stones thereof, and planted it with the choicest vine, and built a tower in the midst of it, and also made a winepress therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. 2 Above him stood the seraphim. For a comprehensive study of the passage, download the Study Guide (PDF download). A rational nature is incapable of loving evil, simply viewed as evil, or of hating good when simply viewed as good. The practice is easy, and seems to be a source of malicious pleasure to those who so do. Gospel “light,” “good,” “sweet,” here set forth, showing the way of salvation by faith in Christ. 2. Can they be “blind, who are leaders of the blind?” If then they, who from their education, their office and profession, ought to understand the Scriptures better than we, if they do not approve, either in theory or practice, the things which appear to be enjoined in the Bible, doubtless they have good reasons for their conduct: they would not proceed in a way which they knew to be wrong; we therefore may safely follow them. Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who substitute darkness for light and light for darkness; Who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! If any man, notwithstanding this, will obstinately call evil good and good evil, and will deny all distinctions between virtue and vice, he must as much have laid aside the use of his natural reason and understanding as he that would conferred light and darkness must contradict his senses and deny the evidence of his clearest sight. And he who, in relation to the self-same acts performed by different men, has a judgment suited to the case of each, all compassion to the wilful transgressions of the wicked, and all inexorable sternness to the infirmities of godly men, to all intents and purposes incurs the woe pronounced on those who call evil good and good evil. We appeal to all, whether terms of reproach are not universally assigned to religious characters, and whether the name given them do not universally convey the idea of a weak contemptible enthusiast? Light denotes truth, knowledge, piety. Yea, are they not so odious in the eyes of the world, that none but those infected with their mania will venture to associate with them, or to acknowledge them as their friends? Now such different natures lay a foundation for different obligations; and different obligations lay a foundation for virtue and vice in all their different degrees. Thucydides pathetically describes this evil in the third book of his history; and was not this remarkably the case with those Jews who called the holy and the temperate Jesus a glutton and a wine-bibber? See Lowth. There is scarcely one of us who does not think himself sufficiently religious; and yet, to what does the religion of many a man amount? If pain arise to the body during the cure of an inveterate disorder, is that pain to be imputed to the medicine, or the disease? To what end then is it to impose specious names on things, when they will so soon appear in their true light? Woe unto them that call evil good, &c.— The fourth crime alleged is, the subversion of all the principles of truth, and of equity in judgment. Yet we persist in calling good evil, notwithstanding we know that, by so doing, we encourage others to do the same. Mackey. 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