Comfort you, comfort you my people,
says your God.
Read Chapter 40
Cyril of Alexandria
Hezekiah was at a loss for a defense. Since he could offer no excuse for his crimes, he said that God’s word was good, even though it foretold things that should have made him shed tears. Then he asks for peace in his own days, bidding goodbye, as it were, to those who were to come after him and thereby neglecting his native land, his own city and his own race. But it would have been better for him to be sorry for the things that had been predicted and to ask God for mercy and happiness (not temporary and restricted) on behalf of those to come after him. - "Commentary on Isaiah 22.214.171.124"
Hezekiah offered prayers to God because he had been told that death was imminent, but he failed to pray that evil should be averted from his descendants. Hence Isaiah says, “Comfort, comfort my people, you priests.” - "Commentary on Isaiah 40.1"
God did not approve of Hezekiah’s proposal. The fact that he mentioned only himself in his prayer and not the people was blameworthy. That is why the prophet says in what follows, “Comfort my people, says the Lord.” - "Commentary on Isaiah 2.15"
Be. Septuagint, "comfort my people. "Let them not be dejected. (Haydock)
The end of the captivity, and still more the coming of the Messias, afford consolation, (Calmet) and to this the prophet chiefly alludes. (Worthington)
Observe, you who are our beloved sons, how merciful yet righteous the Lord our God is; how gracious and kind to me. And yet most certainly “he will not acquit the guilty,” although he welcomes returning sinners and revives them, leaving no room for suspicion to those who wish to judge sternly and reject offenders entirely, refusing to promise exhortations to them that might otherwise bring them to repentance. In contradiction to people like this, Isaiah says to the bishops, “Comfort, comfort my people, you priests. Speak comfortably to Jerusalem.” It therefore behooves you, on hearing those words of his, to encourage those who have offended and lead them to repentance. Give them hope that it is not in vain that you enter into their situation of sin, because you love them. Readily receive those who are penitent and rejoice over them. Judge the sinners with mercy and compassion. For if somebody was walking beside the river and ready to stumble, and you pushed him and threw him into the r...