Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
Messiah, as the ideal Israel
states the object of His mission, His want of success for a time, yet
His certainty of ultimate success.
1. O isles--Messiah is here regarded as having been rejected by the
(Isa 49:4, 5),
and as now turning to the Gentiles, to whom the Father hath given Him
"for a light and salvation." "Isles" mean all regions beyond
from the womb--
from . . . bowels . . . mention of my name--His
name "Jesus" (that is, God-Saviour) was designated by God before His
2. my mouth . . . sword--
The double office of the Word of God, saving and damnatory, is implied
"Polished," that is, free from all rust, implies His unsullied purity.
in . . . quiver . . . hid me--Like a sword in its scabbard, or a shaft
in the quiver, Messiah, before His appearing, was hid with God,
ready to be drawn forth at the moment God saw fit
always protected by God, as the arrow by the quiver
3. Israel--applied to Messiah, according to the true import of the
name, the Prince who had power with God in wrestling in behalf
of man, and who prevails
Ho 12:3, 4).
He is also the ideal Israel, the representative man of the nation
with Ho 11:1).
in whom . . . glorified--
(Joh 14:13; 17:1-5).
in vain--comparatively in the case of the greater number of His
own countrymen. "He came unto His own, and His own received Him not"
Joh 1:11; 7:5).
Only a hundred twenty disciples met after His personal ministry was
yet . . . my judgment . . . with the Lord--Ultimately, God will do
justice to My cause, and reward (Margin for "work," compare
Isa 40:10; 62:11)
My labors and sufferings. He was never "discouraged"
(Isa 42:4; 50:7, 10).
He calmly, in spite of seeming ill success for the time, left the
result with God, confident of final triumph
So the ministers of Christ
5. The reason why He was confident that His work would be
accepted and rewarded, namely, because He is "glorious in the eyes of
to bring Jacob again to him--
Though Israel be not gathered--metaphor from a scattered flock which
the shepherd gathers together again; or a hen and her chickens
Instead of the text "not," the Keri has the similar
Hebrew word, "to Him," which the parallelism favors: "And that
Israel may be gathered to Him."
yet--rather, parenthetically. "For I am glorious, &c., and My
God is My strength." Then
resuming the words from the beginning of
"He saith" (I repeat), &c. HORSLEY explains,
"Notwithstanding the incredulity of the Jews, Messiah shall be
glorified in the conversion of the Gentiles," reading as English
Version: but if the Keri be read, "Israel shall at one time
or other be gathered, notwithstanding their incredulity during
Messiah's sojourn on earth."
6. It is a light thing--"It is too little that Thou shouldest,"
[HENGSTENBERG], that is, It is not enough honor
to Thee to raise up
Jacob and Israel, but I design for Thee more, namely, that Thou
shouldest be the means of enlightening the Gentiles
(Isa 42:6, 7; 60:3).
the preserved--namely, those remaining after the judgments of God
on the nation--the elect remnant of Israel reserved for mercy.
with a slight but needless change of the Hebrew, translates for
"tribes" and "preserved," the "scions"--the "branches."
7. whom man despiseth--Hebrew, "the despised of soul," that is,
by every soul, by all men
(Isa 52:14, 15; 53:3; 50:6-9;
LOWTH translates, "whose person is
abhorreth--literally, "who is an abomination to the nation"
The Jews contemptuously call Him always Tolvi, "the crucified."
I prefer, on account of Goi, the Hebrew term for
nation being usually applied to the Gentiles, and that
for people to the Jews
so the Greek terms respectively also Laos and
to take "nation" here collectively for the Gentile world, which
also spurned Him
servant of rulers--
He who would not exert His power against the rulers
(Mt 26:52, 53).
shall see--namely the fulfilment of God's promises
(Isa 49:3, 6),
"when He (shall be) a light to the Gentiles."
arise--to reverence Thee
(Ps 72:10, 11;
princes also--rather, for the parallelism, supply the ellipsis, thus,
"Princes shall see and shall worship."
faithful--namely, to His promises.
choose thee--as God's elect
8. Messiah is represented as having asked for the grace of God in
behalf of sinners; this verse contains God the Father's favorable
an acceptable time--"In a time of grace"
[HENGSTENBERG]. A limited
The time judged by God to be the best fitted for effecting the purposes
of His grace by Messiah.
day of salvation--when "the fulness of time"
shall have come. The day of salvation is "to-day"
helped--given Thee the help needed to enable Thee, as man, to
accomplish man's salvation.
preserve--from the assaults and efforts of Satan, to divert Thee
from Thy voluntary death to save man.
covenant of the people--(See on
"The people," in the singular, is always applied exclusively to
establish the earth--rather, "to restore the land," namely, Canaan
to Israel. Spiritually, the restoration of the Church (the spiritual
Israel) to the heavenly land forfeited by man's sin is also included.
cause to inherit . . . desolate heritages--image from
the desolate state of Judea during the Babylonish captivity.
Spiritually, the Gentile world, a moral waste, shall become a garden of
the Lord. Literally, Judea lying desolate for ages shall be possessed
again by Israel (compare
"in their land"). Jesus, the antitype of, and bearing the same
name as Joshua
shall, like him, divide the land among its true heirs
(Isa 54:3; 61:4).
prisoners--the Jews bound in legal bondage.
them . . . in darkness--the Gentiles having no light as to the one
true God [VITRINGA].
Show yourselves--not only see but be seen
Come forth from the darkness of your prison into the light of the Sun
in the ways, &c.--In a desert there are no "ways," nor "high places,"
with "pastures"; thus the sense is: "They shall have their pastures, not
in deserts, but in cultivated and inhabited places." Laying aside the
figure, the churches of Christ at the first shall be gathered, not in
obscure and unknown regions, but in the most populous parts of the Roman
empire, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, &c.
[VITRINGA]. Another sense
probably is the right one. Israel, on its way back to the Holy Land,
shall not have to turn aside to devious paths in search of necessaries,
but shall find them in all places wherever their route lies; so
ROSENMULLER. God will supply them as if He
should make the grass grow in the trodden ways and on the barren
10. Messiah will abundantly satisfy all the
wants, both of literal Israel on
their way to Palestine, and of the spiritual on their way to heaven, as
also in heaven
(Re 7:16, 17).
11. my--All things are God's.
mountains a way--I will remove all obstructions out of the way
exalted--that is, cast up
(Isa 57:14; 62:10);
for instance, over valleys. VITRINGA explains
"mountains" as great kingdoms, Egypt, Syria, &c., subjected to
Rome, to facilitate the spreading of the Gospel; "highways," the
Christian doctrine wherein those who join the Church walk, and
which, at the time of Constantine, was to be raised into prominence
before all, and publicly protected
(Isa 35:8, 9).
12. Sinim--The Arabians and other Asiatics called China Sin, or
Tchin; the Chinese had no special name for themselves, but either
adopted that of the reigning dynasty or some high-sounding titles. This
view of "Sinim" suits the context which requires a people to be meant
"from far," and distinct from those "from the north and from the west"
God will have mercy on the afflicted, because of His compassion;
on His afflicted, because of His covenant.
14. Zion--the literal Israel's complaint, as if God had forsaken her
in the Babylonian captivity; also in their dispersion previous to their
future restoration; thereby God's mercy shall be called forth
Ps 77:9, 10; 102:17).
16. Alluding to the Jews' custom (perhaps drawn from
of puncturing on their hands a representation of their city and temple,
in token of zeal for them [LOWTH],
17. Thy children--Israel
(Isa 49:20, 21;
JEROME reads, for "Thy children," "Thy builders";
they that destroyed thee shall hasten to build thee.
haste--to rebuild thy desolate capital.
shall go forth--Thy destroyers shall leave Judea to Israel in
18. As Zion is often compared to a bride
so the accession of converts is like bridal ornaments ("jewels,"
Her literal children are, however, more immediately meant, as
the context refers to their restoration; and only secondarily to her
spiritual children by conversion to Christ. Israel shall be the
means of the final complete conversion of the nations
Ro 11:12, 15).
as a bride--namely, binds on her ornaments.
19. land of thy destruction--thy land once the scene of destruction.
(Isa 54:1, 2;
20. children . . . after . . . other--rather, "the children of thy
widowhood," that is, the children of whom thou hast been bereft during
their dispersion in other lands
give place--rather, "stand close to me," namely, in order that we
may be the more able to dwell in in the narrow place
Compare as to Israel's spiritual children, and the extension of the
Ro 15:19, 24;
shows that her literal children are primarily meant. GESENIUS translates, "Make room."
21. Who, &c.--Zion's joyful wonder at the unexpected restoration of
the ten tribes. Secondarily, the accession of spiritual Israelites
to the mother church of Jerusalem from the Gentiles is meant. This
created surprise at first
(Ac 10:45; 14:27; 15:3, 4).
lost . . . am desolate, a captive, and removing to and
fro--rather, "bereaved of . . . have been barren, an
exile and outcast" [HORSLEY]. She had been "put
away" by Jehovah, her husband
hence her wonder at the children begotten to her.
22. lift . . . hand--that is, beckon to (see on
bring . . . sons in . . . arms--The Gentiles shall aid in restoring
Israel to its own land
(Isa 60:4; 66:20).
Children able to support themselves are carried on the shoulders in the
East; but infants, in the arms, or astride on one haunch
"Thy sons" must be distinct from "the Gentiles," who carry them;
and therefore cannot primarily refer to converts among the
23. lick . . . dust--that is, kiss thy feet in token of humble
for they . . . not . . . ashamed . . .
wait for me--The restoration of Israel shall be in answer to their
prayerful waiting on the Lord
(Isa 30:18, 19;
Ps 102:16, 17;
Zec 12:10; 14:3).
24. the prey--Israel, long a prey to mighty Gentile nations, whose
oppression of her shall reach its highest point under Antichrist
(Da 11:36, 37, 41, 45).
lawful captive--the Jews justly consigned for their sins
as captives to the foe. Secondarily, Satan and Death are "the mighty"
conquerors of man, upon whom his sin give them their "lawful" claim.
Christ answers that claim for the sinners, and so the captive is set
(Job 19:25; 14:14;
shows the primary reference is to Israel's restoration,
to which the resurrection corresponds;
Heb 2:14, 15).
Others not so well translate, "the captives taken from among the
contend with him, &c.--
26. feed . . . own flesh--a phrase for internal strifes
own blood--a just retribution for their having shed the blood of God's
sweet wine--that is, must, or new wine, the pure juice which
flows from the heap of grapes before they are pressed; the ancients
could preserve it for a long time, so as to retain its flavor. It was
so mild that it required a large quantity to intoxicate; thus the idea
here is that very much blood would be shed
(Re 14:10, 20).
all flesh shall, &c.--the effect on the world of God's judgments
(Isa 66:15, 16, 18, 19;
Re 15:3, 4).