Isaiah - 57:15

15 For thus says the high and lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: "I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also who is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.

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Explanation and meaning of Isaiah 57:15.

Differing Translations

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For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
For thus saith the High and the Eminent that inhabiteth eternity: and his name is Holy, who dwelleth in the high and holy place, and with a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
For thus said the high and exalted One, Inhabiting eternity, and holy is His name: 'In the high and holy place I dwell, And with the bruised and humble of spirit, To revive the spirit of the humble, And to revive the heart of bruised ones,'
For thus said the high and lofty One that inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
For this is the word of him who is high and lifted up, whose resting-place is eternal, whose name is Holy: my resting-place is in the high and holy place, and with him who is crushed and poor in spirit, to give life to the spirit of the poor, and to make strong the heart of the crushed.
For this is said by the Most High, the Sublime One, who dwells in eternity. And his name is Holy, for he dwells in the exalted and holy place, and he acts with a restrained and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.
Quoniam sic dixit excelsus et sublimis, habitans in perpetuitate, cui nomen Sanctus: Excelsum et sanctum incolo, et cum afflicto et qui humilis est spiritu, ut vivificem spiritum humilium, ut vivificem cot afflictorum.

*Minor differences ignored. Grouped by changes, with first version listed as example.

Historical Commentaries

Scholarly Analysis and Interpretation.

For thus hath spoken the High and Lofty One. He confirms the former statement about the restoration of the people from captivity. But this verse may be explained in two ways; either that the Prophet meets the doubt which might spring up in the hearts of good men, and thus compares things which are contrasted with each other; or, that he draws an argument from the nature of God, in order to strengthen weak minds. To explain these things more clearly, we know, first, that our hearts are often distracted by these thoughts, that God is actually in heaven, but that there is a great distance between him and us, and that, he overlooks or despises human affairs, and, in a word, that he takes no care at all about us. In order to correct this imagination, the Prophet says that God does indeed dwell in a lofty place, but does not the less on that account look at this world and govern it by his providence; for he is anxious about the salvation of men, and dwells with the afflicted, and with them that are of a broken and humble heart; as it is said, "Jehovah is high, and hath respect to the lowly," (Psalm 138:6) and in other passages. The other meaning is, that the Prophet shows that God is very unlike us; for we tremble in adversity, because we measure him by our standard, and say, "How shall the Lord render assistance to us, who are oppressed?" Besides, men who are in distress are commonly overlooked and despised. Thus we think that God holds us in no estimation, because we form our ideas of him from our own nature. But we ought to entertain very different views of him; and therefore he says, that he "dwelleth in heaven," in order to intimate that he is not liable to human passions; for he is like himself at all times, and never changes his purpose; and therefore as he has once promised restoration to his people, so he will perform it. I do not dislike this interpretation, nor do I reject the former, which is fuller and more abundant, and agrees with other passages of Scripture, that commonly join together those two things; that the Lord dwelleth in heaven, and taketh care of human affairs, and especially of his children, as I stated briefly a little before. Who dwelleth in eternity. We are fickle, and apply our minds sometimes to one subject, and sometimes to another; and our hearts do not continue to be fixed on that which we have once embraced. On this account he distinguishes between God and men, for on him no shadow of change falls; but we have not such steadfastness as to exercise constant care about those who need our assistance. I inhabit the high and holy. qdvs (kadosh) sometimes denotes the temple, but here it denotes heaven itself. We see the reason why he calls him "the Holy One," and "the inhabitant of the holy and lofty place." It is in order to inform us how much he differs from us, and how unlike he is to our nature. Besides, we ought to draw from it a singular consolation, that the Lord wishes to assist the wretched, and even chooses for himself a habitation amongst them, that is, provided that they acknowledge their wretchedness. And with him who is lowly in spirit. Wicked men are oppressed by various calamities, but do not cease to be fierce and haughty. It will be vain for them to hope that God will draw near to them; [1] for their hearts must be lowly and utterly cast down, if they expect to obtain any assistance from God. Accordingly, he descends even to the lifeless, that he may breathe new life into them and form them anew. Twice he expressly mentions the "lowly spirit," and the "afflicted heart," that we may know that these promises belong to those who, in their afflictions, shall not be hardhearted and rebellious, and who, in short, shall lay aside all haughtiness and be meek and lowly.


1 - "Que telles gens n'esperent point que Dieu s'approche d'eux." "Let not such persons hope that God will draw near to them."

For thus saith - The design of this verse is, to furnish the assurance that the promise made to the people of God would certainly be accomplished. It was not to be presumed that he was so high and lofty, that he did not condescend to notice the affairs of people; but though he, in fact, dwelt in eternity, yet he also had his abode in the human heart. Many of the ancient pagans supposed that God was so lofty that be did not condescend to notice human affairs. This was the view of the Epicureans (see the notes at Acts 17:18); and the belief extensively prevailed in the Oriental world, that God had committed the management of the affairs of people to inferior beings which he had created. This was the basis of the Gnostic philosophy. According to this, God reposed far in the distant heavens, and was regardless of the affairs and plans of mortals, and personally unconcerned in the government of this lower world. But the Bible reveals him as a very different being. True, he is vast and illimitable in his existence and perfections; but, at the same time, he is the most condescending of all beings. He dwells with people, and he delights in making his home with the penitent and the contrite.
The high and lofty One - One manuscript reads 'Yahweh,' before 'saith;' and Lowth has adopted the reading; but the authority is not sufficient. The sense is, that he who is here spoken of is, by way of eminence, The high and holy One; the most high and the most exalted being in the universe. He is so far above all creatures of all ranks that it is not needful to specify his name in order to designate him. No one can be compared with him; no one so nearly approaches him that there can be any danger of confounding him with other beings.
That inhabiteth eternity - (Compare the notes at Isaiah 9:6). The word 'eternity' here evidently stands in contrast with the 'contrite and humble spirit;' and it seems to be used to denote the elevated place of an eternal dwelling or heaven. He dwells not only among human beings, but he dwells in eternity - where time is unknown - in a world where succession is not marked - and long before the interminable duration was broken in upon by the revolutions of years and days.
Whose name is Holy - (See the notes at Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 30:11; Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 43:3, Isaiah 43:8, Isaiah 43:14; Isaiah 47:4). "I dwell in the high and holy place." In heaven - uniformly represented as far exalted above the earth, and as the special home or dwelling-place of God. Thus, in Isaiah 63:15, heaven is called the habitation of the holiness and glory of Yahweh.
With him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit - The word 'contrite' (דכא dakkâ') means properly that which is broken, crushed, beaten small, trodden down. Here it denotes a soul that is borne down with a sense of sin and unworthiness; a heart that is, as it were, crushed under a superincumbent weight of guilt (see Psalm 34:18; Psalm 138:6).
To revive the spirit - literally, 'to make alive.' The sense is, he imparts spiritual life and comfort. He is to them what refreshing rains and genial suns and dews are to a drooping plant.

For thus saith the high and lofty One "For thus saith Jehovah, the high and the lofty" - A MS. adds יהוה Yehovah, after אמר amar, and edition Prag. 1518. So the Septuagint, Alex., and Arabic. An ancient MS. adds יה Yah.
With him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit - Twelve MSS. have את eth, without the conjunction ו vau. Proverbs ואת veeth, forte legendum ואראה veerah: confer Psalm 113:5, et Psalm 138:6. - Secker. "We should perhaps read ואראה veerah, instead of ואת veeth. See Psalm 113:5, and Psalm 138:6."

For thus saith the high and lofty One,.... Who is high above the earth, and the nations of it; higher than the kings in it; the King of kings, and Lord of lords; and so able to save his people, and destroy his and their enemies; who is higher than the heavens, and the angels there; who is exalted above the praises of his people; the knowledge of whose being and perfections is too wonderful for them; whose thoughts are higher than theirs; and whose love has a height in it not to be reached by them; all which may serve to command a proper awe and reverence of him, and close attention to what he says; and perhaps these characters and titles are assumed in opposition to antichrist, who exalts himself above all that is called God, as well as what follows; who boasts of antiquity, and insolently takes to himself the title of Holiness: wherefore the Lord goes on to describe himself as
he that inhabiteth eternity: is from everlasting to everlasting, without beginning or end, the first and the last, who only hath immortality in and of himself; angels and the souls of men, though they die not, yet have a beginning; God only is from eternity to eternity; or rather inhabits one undivided, uninterrupted, eternity, to which time is but a mere point or moment:
whose name is Holy: his nature being so; he is originally and essentially holy, and the source of holiness to his creatures, angels and men; though none are holy in comparison of him; his holiness is displayed in all his works; he is glorious in it; and therefore with great propriety holy and reverend is his name:
I dwell in the high and holy place; he dwelt in the most holy place in the tabernacle and temple, which were figures of the true sanctuary, heaven, where Jehovah dwells, and seems to be here meant; though the word "place" is not in the text; and it may be rendered, "I dwell with the high and holy" (b); and Aben Ezra, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, interpret it of the holy angels; and if we apply it to the holy and divine Persons in the Trinity, the Son and Spirit, it may not be amiss, and will stand well connected with what follows
with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit; not only with the other divine Persons, and with those high ones, but with such who are broken under a sense of sin; not merely in a legal, but in an evangelical way; not only with the weight of divine wrath, but with a view of pardoning grace and mercy; and such souls are humble as well as contrite; have the worst thoughts of themselves, and the best of others; they are humble under a sense of sin and unworthiness, and submit to the righteousness of Christ for their acceptance and justification before God; and ascribe the whole of their salvation to his free grace alone; and become cheerful followers of the meek and lowly Jesus; with such the Lord dwells, not merely by his omnipresence and omnipotence, but by his spirit and grace; or in a gracious way and manner, by shedding abroad his love in their hearts, and communicating his grace to them; and which he usually does under the ministry of the word and ordinances, and which may be expected: and his end in so doing is,
to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones; who are sometimes in a very lifeless and uncomfortable condition; grace is weak; sin is prevalent; they are under a sense of divine displeasure; under the hidings of God's face, and attended with various afflictions and adverse dispensations of Providence: now the Lord dwells with them, to revive and quicken them; which he does by his gracious presence; by the discoveries of his pardoning love and grace; by the application of precious promises; and by granting large measures of his grace, so that they become comfortable in their souls, and are quickened to the fresh exercise of grace, and discharge of duty. All this seems to be spoken for the consolation of the Lord's people in their low estate, during the reign of antichrist, and towards the close of it, when greatly oppressed by him. Vitringa interprets this of the Waldenses and Bohemian brethren; but it seems to respect later times.
(b) "excelso et sancto habitabo", Pagninus, Montanus.

The pride and self-righteousness of the Jews were the stumbling block in the way of their acknowledging Christ. The contrition of Israel in the last days shall be attended with God's interposition in their behalf. So their self-humiliation, in Isaiah 66:2, Isaiah 66:5, Isaiah 66:10, &c., precedes their final prosperity (Zac 12:6, Zac 12:10-14); there will, probably, be a previous period of unbelief even after their return (Zac 12:8-9).

The primary ground for this voice being heard at all is, that the Holy One is also the Merciful One, and not only has a manifestation of glory on high, but also a manifestation of grace below. "For thus saith the high and lofty One, the eternally dwelling One, He whose name is Holy One; I dwell on high and in the holy place, and with the contrite one and him that is of a humbled spirit, to revive the spirit of humbled ones, and to revive the heart of contrite ones." He inflicts punishment in His wrath; but to those who suffer themselves to be urged thereby to repentance and the desire for salvation, He is most inwardly and most effectually near with His grace. For the heaven of heavens is not too great for Him, and a human heart is not too small for Him to dwell in. And He who dwells upon cherubim, and among the praises of seraphim, does not scorn to dwell among the sighs of a poor human soul. He is called râm (high), as being high and exalted in Himself; נשּׂא (the lofty One), as towering above all besides; and עד שׁכן. This does not mean the dweller in eternity, which is a thought quite outside the biblical range of ideas; but, since עד stands to שׁכן not in an objective, but in an attributive or adverbial relation (Psalm 45:7, cf., Proverbs 1:33), and שׁכן, as opposed to being violently wrested from the ordinary sphere of life and work (cf., Psalm 16:9; 102:29), denotes a continuing life, a life having its root in itself, עד שׁכן must mean the eternally (= לעד) dwelling One, i.e., He whose life lasts for ever and is always the same. He is also called qâdōsh, as One who is absolutely pure and good, separated from all the uncleanness and imperfection by which creatures are characterized. This is not to be rendered sanctum nomen ejus, but sanctus; this name is the facit of His revelation of Himself in the history of salvation, which is accomplished in love and wrath, grace and judgment. This God inhabits mârōm veqâdōsh, the height and the Holy Place (accusatives of the object, like mârōm in Isaiah 33:5, and merōmı̄m in Isaiah 33:16), both together being equivalent to φῶς ἀπρόσιτον (1-Timothy 6:16), since qâdōsh (neuter, as in Psalm 46:5; Psalm 65:5) answers to φῶς, and mârōm to ἀπρόσιτον. But He also dwells with (את as in Leviticus 16:16) the crushed and lowly of spirit. To these He is most intimately near, and that for a salutary and gracious purpose, namely "to revive ." ההיהe and היּה always signify either to keep that which is living alive, or to restore to life that which is dead. The spirit is the seat of pride and humility, the heart the seat of all feeling of joy and sorrow; we have therefore spiritum humilium and cor contritorum. The selfish egotism which repentance breaks has its root in the heart; and the self-consciousness, from whose false elevation repentance brings down, has its seat in the spirit (Psychol. p. 199).

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