Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
COMING AS THE
Messiah, approaching Jerusalem after having avenged His people on His
and their enemies, is represented under imagery taken from the
destruction of "Edom," the type of the last and most bitter foes of God
and His people (see
1. Who--the question of the prophet in prophetic vision.
dyed--scarlet with blood
(Isa 63:2, 3;
travelling--rather, stately; literally, "throwing back the head"
speak in righteousness--answer of Messiah. I, who have in faithfulness
given a promise of deliverance, am now about to fulfil it. Rather,
speak of righteousness
(Isa 45:19; 46:13);
salvation being meant as the result of His "righteousness"
save--The same Messiah that destroys the unbeliever saves the
2. The prophet asks why His garments are "dyed" and "red."
winefat--rather, the "wine-press," wherein the grapes were trodden
with the feet; the juice would stain the garment of him who trod them
(Re 14:19, 20; 19:15).
The image was appropriate, as the country round Bozrah abounded in
grapes. This final blow inflicted by Messiah and His armies
shall decide His claim to the kingdoms usurped by Satan, and by the
"beast," to whom Satan delegates his power. It will be a day of
judgment to the hostile Gentiles, as His first coming was a day of
judgment to the unbelieving Jews.
3. Reply of Messiah. For the image, see
He "treads the wine-press" here not as a sufferer, but as an
inflicter of vengeance.
will tread . . . shall be . . . will stain--rather preterites, "I
trod . . . trampled . . . was sprinkled . . . I stained."
blood--literally, "spirited juice" of the grape, pressed out by
4. is--rather, "was." This assigns the reason why He has thus destroyed
my redeemed--My people to be redeemed.
day . . . year--here, as in
Isa 34:8; 61:2,
the time of "vengeance" is described as a "day"; that of grace and of
"recompense" to the "redeemed," as a "year."
5. The same words as in
except that there it is His "righteousness," here it is
His "fury," which is said to have upheld Him.
6. Rather, preterites, "I trod down . . .
made them drunk." The same image occurs
Isa 51:17, 21-23;
Jer 25:26, 27.
will bring down . . . strength to . . . earth--rather, "I spilled their life-blood (the same Hebrew words as in
on the earth" [LOWTH and Septuagint].
7. Israel's penitential confession and prayer for restoration
(Ps 102:17, 20),
Isa 63:7 to 64:12.
loving-kindnesses . . . praises . . . mercies . . . loving-kindnesses--The plurals and the repetitions imply that language is inadequate to
express the full extent of God's goodness.
us--the dispersed Jews at the time just preceding their final
house of Israel--of all ages; God was good not merely to the Jews
now dispersed, but to Israel in every age of its history.
8. he--Jehovah "said," that is, thought, in choosing them as His
covenant-people; so "said"
Not that God was ignorant that the Jews would not keep faith with Him;
but God is here said, according to human modes of thought to
say within Himself what He might naturally have expected,
as the result of His goodness to the Jews; thus the enormity of their
unnatural perversity is the more vividly set forth.
lie--prove false to Me (compare
so--in virtue of His having chosen them, He became their
Saviour. So the "therefore"
His eternal choice is the ground of His actually saving men
(Eph 1:3, 4).
9. he was afflicted--English Version reads the
Hebrew as the Keri (Margin), does, "There was
affliction to Him." But the Chetib (text) reads, "There
was no affliction" (the change in Hebrew being only of
one letter); that is, "In all their affliction there was no (utterly
overwhelming) affliction" [GESENIUS]; or, for
"Hardly had an affliction befallen them, when the angel
of His presence saved them" [MAURER]; or, as best
suits the parallelism, "In all their straits there was no straitness in
His goodness to them" [HOUBIGANT],
angel of his presence--literally, "of His face," that is, who stands
before Him continually; Messiah
(Ex 14:19; 23:20, 21;
language applicable to no creature
(Ex 32:34; 33:2, 14;
(Isa 46:3, 4; 40:11;
De 32:11, 12).
(Ps 78:40; 95:10;
Heb 3:10, 17).
he fought--rather, "He it was that fought," namely, the angel of His
11. remembered--Notwithstanding their perversity, He forgot not
His covenant of old; therefore He did not wholly forsake them
(Le 26:40-42, 44, 45;
Ps 106:45, 46);
the Jews make this their plea with God, that He should not now forsake
saying--God is represented, in human language, mentally speaking of
Himself and His former acts of love to Israel, as His ground for pitying
them notwithstanding their rebellion.
shepherd--Moses; or if the Hebrew be read plural, "shepherds,"
Moses, Aaron, and the other leaders (so
put . . . Spirit . . . within him--Hebrew, "in the inward parts
of him," that is, Moses; or it refers to the flock, "in the midst of his
(Nu 11:17, 25;
12. The right hand of Moses was but the instrument; the arm of God was the real mover
(Ex 15:6; 14:21).
dividing the water--
13. deep--literally, "the tossing and roaring sea."
wilderness--rather, the "open plain"
[HORSLEY], wherein there is no
obstacle to cause a horse in its course the danger of stumbling.
14. As a beast . . . rest--image from a herd led
"down" from the hills to a fertile and well-watered "valley"
so God's Spirit "caused Israel to rest" in the promised land after
their weary wanderings.
to make . . . name--(So
15. Here begins a fervent appeal to God to pity Israel now on the
ground of His former benefits.
habitation of . . . holiness--
Ps 33:14; 80:14).
zeal . . . strength--evinced formerly for Thy people.
sounding of . . . bowels--Thine emotions of
Jer 31:20; 48:36;
16. thou . . . father--of Israel, by right not merely of creation,
but also of electing adoption
though Abraham . . . Israel--It had been the besetting temptation of
the Jews to rest on the mere privilege of their descent from faithful
Abraham and Jacob
Joh 8:39; 4:12);
now at last they renounce this, to trust in God alone as their Father,
notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary. Even though Abraham,
our earthly father, on whom we have prided ourselves, disown us,
Thou wilt not
Isaac is not mentioned, because not all his posterity was
admitted to the covenant, whereas all Jacob's was; Abraham is specified
because he was the first father of the Jewish race.
everlasting--an argument why He should help them, namely, because of
His everlasting immutability.
17. made us to err--that is, "suffer" us to err and to be hardened
in our heart. They do not mean to deny their own blameworthiness, but
confess that through their own fault God gave them over to a reprobate
(Isa 6:9, 10;
18. people of . . . holiness--Israel dedicated as holy unto God
possessed--namely, the Holy Land, or Thy "sanctuary," taken from the
following clause, which is parallel to this (compare
Isa 64:10, 11;
thy--an argument why God should help them; their cause is
19. thine . . . never--rather, "We are Thine from
of old; Thou barest not rule over them"
[BARNES]. LOWTH translates,
"We for long have been as those over whom Thou hast not ruled, who are
not called by Thy name"; "for long" thus stands in contrast to "but a
But the analogy of
makes it likely that the first clause in this verse refers to the Jews,
and the second to their foes, as English Version and BARNES translate it. The Jews' foes are aliens who have
unjustly intruded into the Lord's heritage.