Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Sins. During the captivity, ver. 11. (St. Thomas Aquinas) — Some will not hear, and those must be rebuked with all patience, till they follow virtue. (Worthington)
Ver. 2. Approach, and contend with God, scrutinizing his conduct, (Proverbs xxv. 27.) and doing good for the sake of applause and self-interest.
Ver. 3. Will. This alone suggested their fasts, and they did not shew compassion, Ezechiel vii. 2. (Calmet) — Debtors, who are not able to pay. (St. Jerome) (Deuteronomy xxiv. 12.)
Ver. 4. Strife. The usual works were interrupted. The Church formerly forbade law-suits on fast-days. — Fist. Matthew xviii. 28. — Wickedly. Septuagint, “the humble.”
Ver. 5. Circle. They affected extreme debility, Matthew vi. 16. (Calmet) — Ashes. These external marks of penance are not condemned, but the want of corresponding sentiments. (Haydock) — Protestants would hence infer that fasting from flesh is not requisite, or a religious worship. But St. Jerome shews the contrary, provided it be joined with the observance of other commandments, as the saints and Christ himself have shewn us. (Worthington)
Ver. 6. Bands. Contracts of usury, &c. (Calmet)
Ver. 7. Deal. Literally, “break.” (Haydock) — Thin cakes are still used in the East. — Flesh, or relation, Genesis xxxvii. 27.
Ver. 8. Light. Prosperity, (Calmet) or Saviour. (Haydock) — Matthew iv. 2., and John i. 8. (Calmet) — Health. Aquila, “the scar of thy wound shall soon be covered.” (St. Jerome) — Up. He shall close the rear, like the angel in the cloud, Exodus xiii. 21., and xiv. 19. He will grant thee rest from bondage in the grave and in heaven. (Calmet)
Ver. 9. Finger, contemptuously, or threatening. (St. Jerome) — Some explain it of the ordaining sacred ministers, or taking another’s property.
Ver. 10. Soul, effectually, and with love relieving the distressed. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Fail. Alexandrian Septuagint adds, “and thy bones as a flower shall spring and grow fat, and shall inherit ages of ages.” St. Jerome says this is not in the best copies. (Haydock)
Ver. 12. Generation. As the Jews did not comply with the condition, the Church falls heir to these promises.
Ver. 13. Sabbath, doing no work, or refraining from the violation of festivals. — Delightful. We must not think the sabbath of the Lord a loss: (Amos viii. 5.) but rejoice in praising him, Psalm xlv. 11. (Calmet) — A word, or to apply to God’s word. (Grotius) — Pious reading on holidays is the duty of all who have an opportunity. (Haydock)
Ver. 14. Earth. Judea. (Calmet) — Septuagint, “upon the good things of the land.” (Haydock)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
God rejects the hypocritical fasts of the Jews: recommends works of mercy, and sincere godliness.
1 Cry, cease not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their wicked doings, and the house of Jacob their sins.
2 For they seek me from day to day, and desire to know my ways, as a nation that hath done justice, and hath not forsaken the judgment of their God: they ask of me the judgments of justice: they are willing to approach to God.
3 Why have we fasted, and thou hast not regarded: why have we humbled our souls, and thou hast not taken notice? Behold, in the day of your fast, your own will is found, and you exact of all your debtors.
4 Behold, you fast for debates and strife, and strike with the fist wickedly. Do not fast as you have done until this day, to make your cry to be heard on high.
5 *Is this such a fast as I have chosen: for a man to afflict his soul for a day? is this it, to wind his head about like a circle, and to spread sackcloth and ashes? wilt thou call this a fast, and a day acceptable to the Lord?
6 Is not this rather the fast that I have chosen? loose the bands of wickedness, undo the bundles that oppress, let them that are broken, go free, and break asunder every burden.
7 *Deal thy bread to the hungry, and bring the needy and the harbourless into thy house: when thou shalt see one naked, cover him, and despise not thy own flesh.
8 Then shall thy light break forth as the morning, and thy health shall speedily arise, and thy justice shall go before thy face, and the glory of the Lord shall gather thee up.
9 Then shalt thou call, and the Lord shall hear: thou shalt cry, and he shall say, Here I am. If thou wilt take away the chain out of the midst of thee, and cease to stretch out the finger, and to speak that which profiteth not.
10 When thou shalt pour out thy soul to the hungry, and shalt satisfy the afflicted soul, then shall thy light rise up in darkness, and thy darkness shall be as the noon-day.
11 And the Lord will give thee rest continually, and will fill thy soul with brightness, and deliver thy bones, and thou shalt be like a watered garden, and like a fountain of waters, whose water shall not fail.
12 *And the places that have been desolate for ages, shall be built in thee: thou shalt raise up the foundations of generation and generation: and thou shalt be called the repairer of the fences, turning the paths into rest.
13 If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy own will in my holy day, and call the sabbath delightful, and the holy of the Lord glorious, and glorify him, while thou dost not thy own ways, and thy own will is not found, to speak a word:
14 Then shalt thou be delighted in the Lord, and I will lift thee up above the high places of the earth, and will feed thee with the inheritance of Jacob, thy father. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it.
5: Zacharias vii. 5.
7: Ezechiel xviii. 7. and 16.; Matthew xxv. 35.
12: Isaias lxi. 4.