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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 42

Everett's Study Notes on the Holy ScripturesEverett's Study Notes

Verses 1-4

The Lord’s Servant - Isaiah 42:1 prophecies that the Lord’s servant is going to “bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.” How is God’s servant going to judge the Gentiles? The Table of Nations in Genesis 10:1-32 lists the seventy Gentile nations to whom Isaiah’s prophecy is directed, and to whom all of Bible prophecy is generally directed. Normally, a leader rises up among a people and begins to conquer nations and kingdoms. This conquering king then imposes his laws and judgments upon the nations. The “servant of the Lord’ will not execute judgment in such a manner, as the next verses reveal.

Isaiah 4:1-4 is quoted in Matthew 12:17-21 as a prophetic fulfillment of one aspect of Jesus’ public ministry, which reveals that He withdrew from any physical conflicts of the Jewish leaders. The Pharisees met to devise a way to kill Jesus (Matthew 12:13) after He publicly denounced their traditions (Matthew 12:1-13). Rather than rally a group of zealous rebels to conquer the Pharisees, Jesus quietly retreats and ministers to the sick. Jesus Christ did not come to destroy, but rather, to heal and to redeem mankind.

Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

Isaiah 42:2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

Isaiah 42:3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.

Isaiah 42:3 Comments - In her book Caught Up Into Heaven Marietta Davis sees a vision of Mercy contending with Justice. She sees how Justice was about to descend upon a frail human and condemn his soul to hell, but Mercy came and pleads for this poor soul, saying:

“‘Here, O God, is a fallen being. Sin is the violation of Your law. This sinner has presumed upon Your government and has touched the flaming sword (Genesis 3:24 ) with impious hands; he has dared vengeance, trifled with Your will, and contended with eternal and irrevocable justice. He has fallen. He lies bruised, mangles, and dying. Yet, Ol God, You have created him an immortal being. His is intellectual and therefore accountable. He is spiritual, and because of sin he lies on the verge of a bottomless abyss, where, if he falls, he will feel immortal pangs and dwell in unremitting woe. The reed is bruised, but not entirely broken; the flickering blaze of the smoking flax, though expiring, still exists . (Isaiah 42:3 ) Mercy is my name. Mercy is an attribute of Your throne. To You, O God, belong Justice and Mercy. Let Your love descend, O Eternal One! And you, Justice, spare this fallen being! Spare him, though he has sinned and has traded his eternal good for a morsel!’ (Hebrews 12:16-17 )” [60]

[60] Marietta Davis, Caught Up Into Heaven (New Kensington, Pennsylvania: Whitaker House, 1982), 110-1.

She says the phrase “a bruised reed He will not break” means that He will not harm the helpless and “the smoking flax He will not quench” means that He will not extinguish the life or hope of man. This verse implies that Jesus Christ will come to man who is at the edge of his own destruction, weak and unable to help himself, and in His mercy He will rescue him. Jesus did not turn down anyone who came to him with a need. He welcomed all of suffering humanity.

Isaiah 42:4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

Verses 1-25

God’s Sovereignty Over the Nations - God created the nation of Israel, the children of Abraham, to be a light unto the world, to be a messenger of God’s salvation (Isaiah 42:19). God had placed this nation at the crossroads of civilizations, at the crossroads of travel where three continents meet, of Europe, Asia and Africa. All who passed through the land of Israel would have seen God’s blessings and would have heard of God’s glorious salvation to His people. Israel had seen God’s glorious miracles (Isaiah 42:20) in the past and their obedience would have exalted the Law as great and glorious (Isaiah 42:21) because their nation would have abounded with divine blessings. Instead, Israel rebelled and became deaf and blind (Isaiah 42:18). Therefore, God turned them over to divine judgment (Isaiah 42:22-25). Yet, because of God’s unfailing love for His people (Isaiah 43:3), He has redeemed them (Isaiah 43:1-4). He will gather them back as a nation from the four corners of the earth (Isaiah 43:5-9) so that they can become the witnesses that He created them to be (Isaiah 43:10-13). God reminds them of their past deliverance through the Red Sea (Isaiah 43:16-17) and tells them to forget their past sins (Isaiah 43:18-28) because He will blot them out forever (Isaiah 43:25). Israel is God’s chosen (Isaiah 44:1-5) and He is their Redeemer (Isaiah 44:6-8). Thus, idols are nothing (Isaiah 44:9-11) and those who follow them know nothing (Isaiah 44:12-20). Israel has been redeemed (Isaiah 44:21-23). Therefore, all creation rejoices (Isaiah 44:23).

Verses 5-11

Isaiah 42:5 Thus saith God the LORD, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:

Isaiah 42:5 “he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein” - Comments - These words are similar to those used to describe how God created Adam in Genesis 2:7, “And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;

Isaiah 42:7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Isaiah 42:8 I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.

Isaiah 42:9 Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them.

Isaiah 42:9 Comments - Isaiah 42:9 and Isaiah 48:3-5 are excellent verses to refute the idea that any prophetic Scripture of the book of Isaiah was written after it happened.

Isaiah 48:3-5, “I have declared the former things from the beginning; and they went forth out of my mouth, and I shewed them; I did them suddenly, and they came to pass. Because I knew that thou art obstinate, and thy neck is an iron sinew, and thy brow brass; I have even from the beginning declared it to thee; before it came to pass I shewed it thee : lest thou shouldest say, Mine idol hath done them, and my graven image, and my molten image, hath commanded them.”

Isaiah 42:11 Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.

Isaiah 42:11 “let them shout from the top of the mountains” Comments - The Lord quickened this phrase to me in November 2003 within the context of Lighthouse Television. Its antenna has been placed upon the highest hill in Kampala and its signal was shouting the Gospel from the mountaintop 24-hours per day.

Isaiah 42:19 Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the LORD'S servant?

Isaiah 42:19 Comments - The Israelites were blind to the ways of God. The judgment of God was sent so that they might see. The Babylonian captivity was able to open the eyes of this nation.

Jesus warned the Pharisees that they, too, were blind and needed to see (John 9:39-41).

John 9:39-41, “And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind. And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also? Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.”

Saul of Tarsus was struck blind so that he might see. The light of God's presence simply revealed Saul's inner condition of blindness.

Bibliographical Information
Everett, Gary H. "Commentary on Isaiah 42". Everett's Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/ghe/isaiah-42.html. 2013.
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