Some thoughts on Isaiah Chapter 56.


The Cairngorms from Nethybridge, with Castle Roy in the foreground left and the old parish church of Abernethy in the middle distance.

At the reading the title of this post your first thought would no doubt be – “Have you not got the wrong chapter?” expecting it to be about one of the more famous chapters that are always quoted in the New Testament. But bear with me, in the middle of this chapter in verse 4 and 5 states:- “For this is what the Lord says: To the eunuchs who keep my Sabbaths, who chooses what pleases me and hold fast to my covenant- to them I will give within my temple and its walls a memorial and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that will not be cut off.” So why is this important. Firstly, because priests were not allowed to be eunuchs because of the necessity of the heredity of the priestly line it would have been unthinkable to Isaiah’s original hearers. But come the start of the exile in Babylon this passage would have given hope to those taken into the service of Nebuchadnezzar and his descendants and successors. Daniel and his three friends would have had to become eunuchs in order to enter the king’s service. The rich food they declined to eat was meant as compensation for their loss. Daniel’s memorial, it could be argued, was to have a book of the Bible named after him. You can imagine him regarding these verses as a promise to which he clung to throughout his long life as an exile. The same could be applied to Nehemiah, for it is almost certain that as he held the position of cupbearer to the king that he was also a eunuch. Nehemiah was zealous during his period as governor in shutting the gates of Jerusalem during the Jewish Sabbaths. He was always saying “remember me” as if he was trying to remind God of His promise of a memorial. Having a book of the Bible after is a memorial that has lasted centuries.

David Rose, 2018.

About davidgrose

I am a Bible believing Christian, brought up in the Brethren Movement, and now find myself associating with charismatics even though I do not always agree with them. I am in full-time employment. I have interests in history and photography amongst others.
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