Commentaries on Isaiah

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Order of Contents  30+

Best  4
More
.     Reformers  2
.     1600’s  2
.     Beginner  2
.     Intermediate  12
    Advanced  3
Early Church  3
Jewish  2
On Isaiah Generally  5
On Chapters in Isaiah  26
Chapter 53  11
On the Messianic Interpretation and Portions of  3
Authenticity of Isaiah  7

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The Best Commentaries on Isaiah

Popular/Beginner

Barnes, Albert – Notes on Isaiah  †1870

*** – “A good popular exposition, though not the most learned.” – Spurgeon

Cowles, Henry – Isaiah: With Notes, Critical, Explanitory and Practical, designed for both pastors and people  1869

*** – “Cowles writes more popularly than Alexander, and though he is not so profound an authority, we have read him with pleasure.” – Spurgeon

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Intermediate

Alexander, J.A. – Isaiah: Translated and Explained, Abridged, vols. 1 (1-35), 2 (36-66)  1851

Alexander was one of the great scholars and linguists of Old Princeton.

This abridgement of the larger work below “…has not been rewritten but merely contracted, and that for the most part by simple omission.  The rule of abridgment which has been adopted… has been to retain only what was necessary to convey the author’s view of the essential meaning, and to exclude what belonged merely to the history of the interpretation or the discussion of conflicting opinions.” – The Preface

*** – “This abridgment of the larger work is by no means a small affair.  For all ordinary purposes it is voluminous enough.  We cannot too strongly recommend it.” – Spurgeon

‘A verse-by-verse treatment based upon a comprehensive knowledge of Hebrew.  Makes the writer’s genuine scholarship and evangelical warmth available to a new generation of expositors.  A classic!  Amillennial.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Young, E.J. – The Book of Isaiah, 3 vols.  Buy

Young (1907-68) was one of the great, conservative scholars and linguists of early Westminster Seminary.  His commentary, which can be purchased for fairly cheap, updates Alexander’s with the latest scholarship up to his day.

“A classic in conservative Old Testament scholarship, this three-volume commentary concentrates primarily on the meaning of the text of Isaiah rather than on specific textual problems.” – Publisher’s Blurb

‘Has established itself as one of the most important Reformed expositions on the subject.  Amillennial.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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Advanced

Alexander, J.A. – The Prophecies of Isaiah, Translated and Explained, vols. 1 (1-31), 2 (32-66) 

Alexander was one of the great scholars and linguists of Old Princeton. 

*** – “Dr. Hodge says of the author: ‘I regard Dr. Joseph Addison Alexander as incomparably the greatest man I ever knew–as incomparably the greatest man our Church has ever produced.’  He wastes no space, but gives the essence of exposition.” – Spurgeon

‘A verse-by-verse treatment based upon a comprehensive knowledge of Hebrew.  Makes the writer’s genuine scholarship and evangelical warmth available to a new generation of expositors.  A classic!  Amillennial.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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More Commentaries on Isaiah

Reformers

Luther, Martin 

Works  Buy

Vol. 16: Lectures on Isaiah – Chapters 1-39
Vol. 17: Lectures on Isaiah – Chapters 40-66

Calvin, John – Commentary on Isaiah

** – Spurgeon

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1600’s

Day, William – An Exposition of the Book of Isaiah  ToC  1654

Day (†1684) was an Anglican.

* – “Day does not throw much light upon the text: he says he wrote for his children, and certainly he is childish enough.” – Spurgeon

Rutherford, Samuel – [On Isaiah, but title unknown]  in manuscript

Whatever portion of the work was completed, was lost.

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Popular/Beginner

Morgan, George Campbell – The Analyzed Bible: the Prophecy of Isaiah, vol. 1, 2  1910

Morgan, who was reformed and known for his preaching was the predecessor to Martyn Lloyd-Jones at Westminster Chapel in London.

Erdman, Charles – The Book of Isaiah: an Exposition  Buy  1954

Erdman was a conservative liberal at Old Princeton Seminary who opposed J. Gresham Machen.  His popular commentaries can be helpful but should be read with discernment.

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Intermediate

1700’s

White, Samuel – Commentary on Isaiah, wherein the Literal Sense is Briefly Explained  1709

**  “This author keeps to the literal sense and is very severe upon spiritualizers, of whose vagaries he gives some specimens.  In aiming at one excellence he misses others, and fails to see Christ where he certainly is, thus rendering his remarks less valuable to the Christian mind.” – Spurgeon

MacCulloch, Robert – Lectures on Isaiah, vol. 1 (1-12), 2 (13-30), 3 (31-50), 4 (51-66),  1791-1805

**  “In these days we need condensation.  This author would have been far more valued if he had compressed his matter into one volume.  He is good, but verbose.  Some authors toil not, but they spin; Macculloch both toils and spins.” – Spurgeon

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1800’s

Birks, T.R. – Commentary on the Book of Isaiah, Critical, Historical, and Prophetical  1st ed. 1871

** – “Written for the Speaker’s Commentary, and, though not inserted therein, it strikes us as being far superior to that work.  It is a great treasure to the student of this much neglected prophet.” – Spurgeon

Douglas, George C.M. – Isaiah One and his Book One: an Essay and an Exposition  1895?  The title means that there was only one Isaiah (not two), and he only had one book (not two), contra liberalism (and many evangelicals).  The exposition begins on p. 119

Douglas (1826-1904) was a Hebraist in the Free Church of Scotland, having studied under Thomas Chalmers and came to be a Principle of the Free Church College.  “He was a scholarly conservative, skeptical of higher critical views.” – DoSCH&T

Govett, R. Jr. – Isaiah Unfulfilled, Exposition with New Version and Critical Notes  1841

**  “We have not met with this publication.” – Spurgeon

Jenour, Alfred – The Book of Isaiah, translated with Notes and Practical Remarks, vols, 1 (1-35), 2 (36-66)  1830

**“This appears to us to be a faithful translation; the commentary and practical reflections are instructive and gracious.” – Spurgeon

Keith, Alexander – Isaiah as it is: or, Judah and Jerusalem the subjects of Isaiah’s prophesying  1850

** – “The student will consult with benefit this valuable contribution to the explanation of a most important, but neglected book.” – Spurgeon

Lowth, Robert – Isaiah, a New Translation with Notes, Critical, Philological and Explanatory  1836

**“Smith’s Dictionary remarks that Bishop Lowth’s incessant correction of the Hebrew text is constantly to be mistrusted.  This seriously diminishes Lowth’s value, but this is a grand work notwithstanding.” – Spurgeon

Noyes, George – A New Translation of Isaiah with Notes  1849  The notes are very sparse.

*** “We are bound to commend this author’s learning, taste, and candour, even though we differ widely from him.  The reader must not look for savour or spiritual quickening, but use the work as a literary help only.” – Spurgeon

Whish, J.C. – A Paraphrase on the Book of Isaiah, with Notes  1862

**  “Somewhat helpful.  The paraphrasing is not prolix, and it does, as a a rule, aid the reader in getting at the literal sense.  With the spiritual teaching Mr. Whish has not intermeddled. – Spurgeon

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1900’s

Leupold, H.C. – Exposition of Isaiah  Buy 

Leupold (b. 1891) was an orthodox Lutheran and a professor of the Old Testament.

‘Defends the unity of this prophecy, and furnishes a satisfying exposition.  Amillennial.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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Liberal, Intermediate

Cheyne, T.K.

The Prophecies of Isaiah, a New Translation with Commentary and Appendices, vol. 1, 2  1880

Cheyne was a liberal and advocated for Isaiah being written by two different persons.

*  “The Westminster Review speaks of it as ‘a piece of scholarly work, very carefully and considerately done.’  It may be so.” – Spurgeon

The Book of Isaiah Chronologically Arranged, an Amended Version, with Historical and Critical Introduction  1870

*  “We do not as a rule believe in these re-arrangements; the book of Isaiah is best as we have it.  The tone of the interpretation in this instance is not such as we can delight in; what the evangelical teacher has a right to expect is totally absent.  The work is of the Broad School; the notes are, however, learned and somewhat suggestive.” – Spurgeon

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Advanced

Delitzsch, Franz – Commentary on Isaiah

**“‘The author has long been honorably distinguished among the scholars of Germany.  He occupies, indeed, a position always peculiar to himself; for, whilst his attainments in Hebrew philology and Talmudic lore are of the highest order, he unites with these a genuine appreciation of evangelical truth and godliness.’  So says the Literary Churchman.  For our own part, we are not enraptured with Delitzsch.” – Spurgeon

Henderson, Ebenezer – The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, with a Commentary  1840

** – “The author has given no doctrinal or practical observations, as he conceived that others had furnished these in abundance; he has confined himself to eliciting the real meaning of the words, and has thereby rendered great service to all expositors who have wit enough to make use of his critical assistance.  To the less instructed reader, Dr. Henderson’s work will appear to be dull and savorless; but to those who only need to have the language translated, and are able to supply reflections for themselves, it wil be of much service.” – Spurgeon

Orelli, Conrad – The Prophecies of Isaiah  1895  416 pp.

‘Of value for its exegesis.’ – Cyril J. Barber

On his work on prophecy:  “By one of the best German commentators and a contributor to ISBE [The International Standard Bible Encyclopdia].  Fairly reliable, but makes some concessions to those who espouse liberal views.” – Cyril J. Barber

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Jewish Commentaries on Isaiah

Ibn Ezra, Abraham  (1089-1164)

The Commentary of Ibn Ezra on Isaiah, vols. 1 (Whole Commentary), 2 (Translation of Isaiah), 3 (Dictionary)

Maclachlan, Helen – Notes on the Unfulfilled Prophecies of Isaiah. Addressed to “the Jew First, and Also to the Gentile.”  1868  367 pp.

*  “This authoress treats Isaiah as a Jewish book only, and refers all the prophecies to that nation.  We do not agree with her fundamental principle.” – Spurgeon

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The Early Church on Isaiah

McKinion, Steven – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Isaiah 1-39  Buy

Elliott, Mark – Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture: Isaiah 40-66  Buy

Eusebius of Caesarea – Commentary on Isaiah  Buy

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On Isaiah Generally

Devotional & Practical

Whyte, Alexander – Isaiah  in Bible Characters  d. 1921 

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Intermediate

Godet, Frederic – ‘Isaiah’  1882  12 pp. in Studies in the Old Testament, pp. 143-155

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Advanced

1800’s

Driver, Samuel – Isaiah: his Life and Times and the Writings which Bear his Name  1888  230 pp.

Driver was a liberal.

‘Liberal.  Helpful studies full of insights into the man and his times.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Hengstenberg, E.W. – The Prophet Isaiah: a Lecture  1860  24 pp.

Hengstenberg was a conservative.

“Scholarly of course, and also more vivacious than is usual with Hengstenberg.” – Spurgeon

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1900’s

Martin, W.J. – The Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah  Buy  1954

‘The G. Campbell Morgan Memorial Lectures for 1954.  Defends the integrity of the scroll and presents perceptive comments on the transmission and variants in the text.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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The First Half of Isaiah

Boutflower, Charles – The Book of Isaiah, chs. 1-39, in the Light of the Assyrian Monuments  Buy  1930  SPCK

‘Relies heavily upon archaeological material excavated in ancient Assyria.  Provides valuable historical material highlighting chapters 1-39.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Ewald, H. – The Prophet Isaiah, chs. 1-33  1869

*  “Decidedly skeptical; but yet it may be useful as leading the reader to appreciate the poetic beauty of the book.  Question if the good to be gained equals the risk incurred.  Our verdict is to the contrary.” – Spurgeon

Verney, Eliza – Practical Thoughts on the First Forty Chapters of the Book of Isaiah  1858

**  “Some sensible spiritual hints will be found in these remarks.  As an exposition it is one of the least.” – Spurgeon

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Isaiah 5

Rogers, Nehemiah – The Wild Vine: or, An Exposition on Isaiah’s Parabolic Song of the Beloved, Isa. 5  ToC  Buy

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Isaiah 6

Leighton, Robert – 3 Lectures on Isa. 6  †1684  18 pp., in Works  Buy, vol. 2

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Isaiah 11-12

Fuller, Andrew – Illustrations of Scripture: Conversion of the Jews, on Isa. 11-12

Wycliff, John – ‘The Thanksgiving of Israel, Isa. 12’  in Select English Works of John Wycliff, vol. 3, part 1, p. 5-8

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Isaiah 26

Fuller, Andrew – The Prophecies in Isaiah 26 and its Connection as relating to the Times of the Millennium, and those which Precede it, Including our Own in Works, vol. 1, p. 608-12

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Isaiah 34

Young, Edward J. – “Isaiah 34 and its position in the prophecy,”  Westminster Theological Journal 27.2 (May 1965): 93-114

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Isaiah 38

Bruce, Robert – 6 Sermons on Hezekiah’s Sickness, Isa. 38  1617  115 pp., from The Way to True Peace and Rest, pp. 157-272

Calvin, John – 4 Sermons upon the Song that Hezekiah made after he had been sick and afflicted by the hand of God, contained in the 38th chapter of Isaiah  d. 1564 

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The Second Half of Isaiah  (chs. 40-66)

Hengstenberg, E.W. – See under Messianic Portions of Isaiah below

MacDuff, J.R. – ‘Comfort ye, comfort ye’: or, The Harp taken from the Willows, God’s Words of Comfort addressed to his Church in the last 27 chapters of Isaiah  1872

**“Dr. MacDuff translates into popular language the teachings of great expositors, and does it to perfection.  For an hour’s pleasant and holy reading commend us to Dr. MacDuff.” – Spurgeon

Meyer, F.B. – Christ in Isaiah, Expositions of Isaiah 40-55  1895  243 pp.

Meyer (1847–1929) was an English, baptist pastor who wrote numerous, very good devotional works.

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Isaiah 49

Baron, David – The Suffering Servant of Jehovah and the Fruits of his Mission  1907  60 pp.

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Isaiah 53

Isaiah 53:5:  Was ever the like heard of?  Will ever the like be heard of again?  It is the wonder of the universe.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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Archer, Gleason – In the Shadow of the Cross: Insights into the Meaning of Calvary Drawn from Hebrew Text of Isa. 53  Buy  1957

Baron, David – The Servant of Jehovah: the Sufferings of the Messiah and the Glory that should Follow; an Exposition of Isaiah 53  1922

Baron was raised an orthodox Jew, trained in the rabbinnic interpretation of the Old Testament.  He converted to Christianity and devoted his life to evangelizing the Jews and to educate Christians regarding Israel.  This is a first rate commentary, emphasizing the Hebrew exegesis of the passage, comparing Jewish interpretations, and showing why it, in every detail, speaks of our saving Messiah.

Brown, John – The Sufferings and Glories of the Messiah, an Exposition of Isa. 52:13-53:12  1853

This is by John Brown of Edinburgh, a Scottish Secession minister and first rate exegete.

‘This exposition of Psalm 18 and Isaiah 52:13-53:12 places in the hands of the busy  pastor some of the finest expository material available today.’ – Cyril J. Barber

Calvert, Thomas – Mel Caeli, Medulla Evangelii [The Honey of Heaven, the Marrow of the Gospel]; or, The Prophet Isaiah’s Crucifix.  An Exposition of the 53rd Chapter of Isaiah  Buy  1657

*** “Precious and practical.  Just what the title would lead us to expect–marrow and fatness; honey from the Rock, Christ Jesus.” – Spurgeon

Culver, Robert Duncan – The Sufferings and Glory of the Lord’s Righteous Servant  Buy  1958

Durham, James – Christ Crucified, 72 Sermons on Isa. 53, vols. 12  Buy

***“This is marrow indeed.  We need say no more: Durham is a prince among spiritual expositors.” – Spurgeon

Hengstenberg, E.W. – See under Messianic Predictions in Isaiah below

Manton, Thomas  †1677

A Practical Exposition upon the 53rd Chapter of Isaiah  307 pp. in Works, vol. 3, pp. 187-494

*** – “Manton needs no praise from us.  Whatever he does is done in a style worthy of a chief among theologians.  He is, however, seldom too brief, and his own bulk hinders his being read.  Preachers of long sermons should take a hint from this.”

ed. MacDonogh, T.M. – Manton Abridged on Isaiah’s Report of the Messiah, as revealed in the 53rd chapter of his Prophecy, expounded in a series of lectures  1858  410 pp.

** – “This is a serving up of the [previous] work in the form of lectures.  We do not admire abridgments, and especially those which make alterations and additions; still it is likely that many have read Macdonogh’s Manton who might never have fallen in with Manton’s Manton.” – Spurgeon

Margoliouth, Moses – An Exposition of the 53rd Chapter of Isaiah, being a course of Six Lectures  1846

**“Well worth a careful reading.” – Spurgeon

Young, E.J. – Isaiah 53: a Devotional and Expository Study  Buy  1952

Jewish Expositions of Isaiah 53

Neubauer, Adolph & S.R. Driver – The 53rd Chapter of Isaiah According to the Jewish Interpreters, vol. 1 (Primary sources in Foreign Languages), 2 (Translated into English)  Here is the table of contents to vol. 2. 

This is a nearly exhaustive collection of Jewish commentaries on Isa. 53, in chronological order.

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Isaiah 55

Stewart, James Haldane – Lectures upon Isaiah 55  1846

**  “Nine sweet evangelical discourses, in a lively, impressive style.” – Spurgeon

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On the Messianic Interpretation and Portions of Isaiah

Galloway, William Brown –Isaiah’s Testimony for Jesus: The Scope, Spirit, and Leading Connexion of His Prophecies, with an Historical Appendix  1863  615 pp.

**  “A congregation which would listen to such lectures as these must be a very select one indeed.  The writer goes most thoroughly and learnedly into his subject.” – Spurgeon

Hengstenberg, E.W. – ‘Messianic Predictions in Isaiah’  1856  354 pp.  in The Christology of the Old Testament, vol. 2, pp. 1-354  Hengstenberg comments on chs: 2-4, 7, 8:23-9:7, 11-14, 17-19, 23-33, 35, chs. 40-66 generally, 42:1-9, 49:1-9, 50:4-11, 51:16, 52:13-53:12, 55:1-5, 61:1-3

Smith, R. Payne – The Authenticity and Messianic Interpretation of the Prophecies of Isaiah Vindicated, in Sermons before the Univ. of Oxford  1862  

Payne (1818-1895) was the Dean of Canterbury.  The work examines Isa. 7:14; 9:6; 11:1-2; 40:1; 42:1-4; 52:13; 53:4; 65:17 in 9 lectures.

** – “A work which would be invaluable in a discussion with Jews.  It meets their objections, and also those advanced by neologians, and by the writers of ‘Essays and Reviews’.” – Spurgeon

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On the Authenticity of Isaiah

1800’s

Douglas, George C.M. – Isaiah One and his Book One: an Essay  1895?  117 pp.  The title means that there was only one Isaiah (not two), and he only had one book (not two), contra liberalism (and many evangelicals).

Douglas (1826-1904) was a Hebraist in the Free Church of Scotland, having studied under Thomas Chalmers and came to be a Principle of the Free Church College.  “He was a scholarly conservative, skeptical of higher critical views.” – DoSCH&T

Forbes, John – The Servant of the Lord in Isaiah 40-66 Reclaimed to Isaiah as the Author from Argument, Structure and Date  1890  280 pp.

Stuart, Alexander Moody – The Old Isaiah  1880

Stuart was of the Free Church of Scotland.

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1900’s

Allis, O.T. – The Unity of Isaiah; a study in Prophecy  Preview  Buy  1950

Allis (1880-1973) was one of the renowned, conservative scholars of early Westminster Seminary.

‘A valuable rebuttal to the Deutero-Isaiah theory [that there were two Isaiahs].’ – Cyril J. Barber

Payne, J. Barton – “The Unity of Isaiah: Evidence From Chapters 36-39,” Bulletin of the Evangelical Theological Society 6.2 (May 1963): 50-56

Young, E.J.

“The Authorship of Isaiah,”  Themelios 4.3 (1967): 11-16

Who Wrote Isaiah?  Buy  1958  88 pp.

‘A vigorous apologetic for the unity of Isaiah’s prophecy.’ – Cyril J. Barber

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“Isaiah I take to be the most Pauline of the Old Testament men; Ezekiel the most Petrine.”

John ‘Rabbi’ Duncan

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Related Pages

Whole Bible Commentaries

Old Testament Commentaries

New Testament Commentaries