Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Judgment, the right resolution to do God’s will, which justice executes, chap. xxxii. (Worthington) — My justice. Septuagint, “mercy.” Christ is at hand. Prepare for your deliverance, by keeping the commandments.
Ver. 2. Sabbath. All the Jewish festivals, (Calmet) as well as those of the Christian Church, (Haydock) and the whole law. (Worthington)
Ver. 3. People. The Jews would not admit all nations to their communion, Deuteronomy xxxiii. 1. A little before Christ’s coming, they began to make more proselytes; (Matthew xxiii. 15.) and the sacred books being translated, came to the knowledge of the Gentiles, who were thus induced by degrees to embrace the true faith. The road to heaven was always open for those who kept the commandments, (ver. 6.; Calmet) though they might not receive circumcision. (Haydock) — Christ has removed the wall of separation, (Ephesians ii. 14.; Calmet) and established one fold for all, John x. (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Eunuchs. It was ignominious to have no children among the Jews, as the propagation of the true religion depended much on their numbers. But now, since the Church is gathered from all nations, virginity is preferable to marriage, and those who keep the sabbath, or all the commandments, and choose this state freely, will receive greater glory than the other sons and daughters of God. Against this plain meaning, P. Martyr (de Cœlib.) asserts that God prefers eunuchs only before those who transgress the law. But he gives them a place better than his other sons, &c.! Protestants (Bible, 1603) understand that eunuchs shall be called after (or according to) God’s people, and be of the same religion, which implies no preference at all. They add, therefore, yea, under Christ the dignity of the faithful shall be greater than the Jews were at that time; as if the comparison were between God’s servants before and after Christ, and not between eunuchs and such as have children. How much better is it for us to follow the holy Fathers, who hence commend those who make a vow of perpetual chastity? They shall possess an excellent dignity among the angels. (St. Basil, virg.) — The rewards of continency are great, eximia. (St. Cyril of Alexandria, hic.) — “In the eternal mansion they are preferred before children.” (St. Gregory, past. iii. 29., &c.) (Worthington) — Such spiritual eunuchs, as St. John the evangelist, are meant. “He hath chosen what the Lord would, that he should offer more than was commanded….He who is an eunuch, and performs all that is prescribed, shall have….the best place, so that he shall be a tower, and occupy the rank of a priest, and instead of children of the flesh, shall have many spiritual children.” (St. Jerome) (Haydock) — The law excluded eunuchs from the Church, Deuteronomy xxiii. 1. But under the gospel, they may enter heaven, Matthew xix., and 1 Corinthians vii. 32., &c. Daniel (i. 3.) and his companions were eunuchs, yet in high estimation; and virtuous eunuchs are commended, Wisdom iii. 13. (Calmet) — Choose. Observing the commandments and counsels, like religious men. (Menochius) — Those who choose to do more than is commanded, will have a greater reward. (Worthington)
Ver. 7. Prayer. So the temple is justly styled. (Haydock) — This shall be open to all nations. After the captivity, the Jews condescended to let the Gentiles have a court, and they even suffered some princes to go into the court of the priests, 2 Machabees iii. 33. Physcon wished to penetrate into the inner sanctuary, (3 Machabees; Ecclesiasticus l.) which could not be granted.
Ver. 9. Beasts. Here a fresh discourse begins to chap. lxi. The Chaldeans and Romans are invited to punish God’s people for their sins, committed before the captivity, Zacharias xiv. 2. (Calmet) — The prophet foresees the negligence of some pastors, and denounces their rigorous chastisement. (Worthington)
Ver. 10. Watchmen. Priests and prophets. (Calmet) — We know (Haydock) only Jeremias who continued firm, Lamentations ii. 14. In the days of Christ, the corruption was not diminished. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Last. The scribes devour the houses of widows, making long prayers, Matthew xxiii. 14. They are blind, Matthew xv. 14. (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God invites all to keep his commandments: the Gentiles that keep them shall be the people of God: the Jewish pastors are reproved.
1 Thus *saith the Lord : Keep ye judgment, and do justice: for my salvation is near to come, and my justice to be revealed.
2 Blessed is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that shall lay hold on this: that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, that keepeth his hands from doing any evil.
3 And let not the son of the stranger, that adhereth to the Lord, speak, saying: The Lord will divide and separate me from his people. And let not the eunuch say: Behold, I am a dry tree.
4 For thus saith the Lord to the eunuchs: They that shall keep my sabbaths, and shall choose the things that please me, and shall hold fast my covenant:
5 I will give to them in my house, and within my walls, a place, and a name better than sons and daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, which shall never perish.
6 And the children of the stranger that adhere to the Lord, to worship him, and to love his name, to be his servants: every one that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and that holdeth fast my covenant:
7 I will bring them into my holy mount, and will make them joyful in my house of prayer: their holocausts, and their victims shall please me upon my altar: *for my house shall be called the house of prayer for all nations.
8 The Lord God, *who gathereth the scattered of Israel, saith: I will still gather unto him his congregation.
9 All ye beasts of the field come to devour, all ye beasts of the forest.
10 *His watchmen are all blind, they are all ignorant: dumb dogs not able to bark, seeing vain things, sleeping and loving dreams.
11 And most impudent dogs, they never had enough: the shepherds themselves knew no understanding: all have turned aside into their own way, *every one after his own gain, from the first even to the last.
12 Come, let us take wine, and be filled with drunkenness: and it shall be as to-day, so also to-morrow, and much more.
1: Wisdom i. 1.; Matthew xxiii. 23.
7: Jeremias vii. 11.; Matthew xxi. 13.; Mark xi. 17.; Luke xix. 46.
8: John xi. 52.
10: Ezechiel iii. 17. and xxxiii. 2. and vi. 7.
11: Jeremias vi. 13. and viii. 10.