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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 63

Verses 1-6

The Divine Warrior

1.The prophet asks who is this warrior coming from Edom? The Warrior replies, He is the Divine Deliverer.

2. The prophet asks why is His raiment red?

3-6. The Warrior explains, He is returning from vengeance upon the enemies of His people.

1. Travelling] lit. ’bending,’ denoting movement in marching (RV). In righteousness] i.e. in faithfulness to promises. Speak, etc.] cp. Isaiah 45:19.

3. The winepress is the symbol of slaughter in battle (Joel 3:13; Revelation 14:18-20).

Alone, etc.] i.e. no human agent assisted.

People] RV ’peoples.’ I will tread, etc.] RV ’trod.. trampled.. is sprinkled.. have stained.’

4. Is] RV ’was.’ Year] see Isaiah 61:2.

5. The absence of human aid (Isaiah 63:3) further emphasised (Isaiah 50:2; Isaiah 59:16).

6. Will tread.. make] RV ’trod.. made.’

People] RV ’peoples.’ The divine vengeance falls upon the nations in general, but upon Edom in particular (Isaiah 63:1), the prophet fixing his thoughts upon this nation because of the long-remembered hostility of Edom in the day of Jerusalem’s calamity (see prefatory note to Isaiah 34). Drunk] a figure for stupefying disaster (Isaiah 51:17). Will bring, etc.] RV ’poured out their lifeblood on the earth.’ The imagery of Christ’s final triumph and judgment is taken from this passage (Revelation 19:13), which is thus shown to be a prophecy that will receive its full fulfilment in the punishment of the enemies of God’s Church at the last day. The Warrior, who in Isaiah 63:3 is represented as treading the winepress alone, thus stands for the Son of God, to whom alone the Father has committed all judgment (John 5:22). The prophecy is also sometimes applied by analogy to Christ’s victory over the powers of evil in His Passion (John 12:31-32), wherein He contended alone (Matthew 27:46).

Verses 1-19

The Glorious Future of the Jewish Race

This concluding group of chapters is chiefly distinguished by glowing pictures of the future of Jerusalem, when the Jews shall be restored to their land again. A glorious restoration is promised (Isaiah 60:1-2; Isaiah 61:4, Isa 61:10-11), all nations are tobe members of the restored city (Isa 60:3-5), the glories of which are vividly pictured (Isa 60:6), the crowning glory being the holiness of the citizens (Isa 60:21). The fulfilment of the prophet's utterances may be traced in the spiritual glories of the new Jerusalem above, which is the mother of us all.

Isaiah 58:1-7. Mere outward service of Jehovah is vain; He desires mercy rather than sacrifice.

8-12. They who thus serve Him in a right spirit shall be wonderfully rewarded, and shall restore Jerusalem;

13, 14. as also shall they who duly observe the sabbath.

Isaiah 59:1. But why is Jehovah's help so long delayed?

2-8. Because of the depravity of the leaders of Israel,

9- 15a. and because of the sins of the people, which they recognise and confess.

15b-21. No human aid can suffice to right matters, but Jehovah will interpose to vindicate and deliver His oppressed people.

Isaiah 60:1-9. Then shall the dispersed Israelites be gloriously restored.

10-13. Jerusalem shall be rebuilt with splendour, and 14-22. her people shall be dominant and prosperous.

Isaiah 61:1-3. The prophet is commissioned to announce the restoration of exiled Israel.

4-9. The rebuilding of Jerusalem and the coming glory of her people.

10-12. Jerusalem's song of praise.

Isaiah 62:1-7. The great change that is imminent in the fortunes of Jerusalem, and 8-12. in the lot of her afflicted people.

Verses 7-12

Past Deliverances and Present Needs

Isaiah 63:7-14. Commemoration of Jehovah’s mercies to Israel in the past.

Isaiah 64:5 a. Prayer that He will interpose to deliver His people from their present calamities.

Isaiah 64:5-12. Acknowledgment that these are due to their sins. Appeal to Jehovah that He will look upon the pitiable state of His people and sanctuary.

Verses 7-19

8. Lie] RV ’deal falsely.’

9. He was afflicted] so Heb. traditional reading, meaning that He felt His people’s pains as His own (Judges 10:16). But Heb. written text ’he was no adversary’ (RM), but, on the contrary, their deliverer. The angel] see Exodus 23:20; Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:2.

Bare them] see Deuteronomy 1:31; Deuteronomy 32:11.

10. Cp. Psalms 78:40.

11. He (Israel) remembered] The thought of past mercies evoked penitence (Psalms 78:35). Shepherd] RV ’shepherds.’ Within him] i.e. Israel, e.g. Exodus 35:31; Numbers 11:25.

12. RV ’That caused his glorious arm to go at the right hand of Moses.’ Arm] see Isaiah 51:9 (also in connexion with the exodus).

13. In the wilderness] i.e. in a grassy plain.

14. RV ’As the cattle that go down.’ This refers to the settlement in Canaan.

15. Strength] RV ’mighty acts.’ Sounding of thy bowels] stands for sympathetic pity (Isaiah 16:11). Read, ’the sounding.. and thy mercies toward me are restrained.’

16. The patriarchs might disown their descendants, but Jehovah’s love is sure. The thought is similar to Isaiah 49:15. The passage is remarkable as one of the very few in OT. where God is addressed as Father (Isaiah 64:8). 17f. A bold expostulation. Hardened, etc.] Have their sins caused God to give them up and become their adversary, as in Pharaoh’s case?

18. A little while] whereas Jehovah had promised them an everlasting inheritance!

19. RV ’We are become as they over whom thou never barest rule; as they that were not called’ etc.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 63". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.