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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 42

Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New TestamentsSutcliffe's Commentary

Verses 1-25

Isaiah 42:1 . Behold my servant. In the Chaldaic, the Messiah; and so the whole passage is cited from the LXX. Matthew 12:17-20. All other applications of the word “servant” are superseded. Christ took upon him the form of a servant, as the great minister of his Father’s kingdom, which kingdom he must deliver up at the end of time.

Isaiah 42:4 . He shall not fail till he hath set judgment in the earth. The LXX, He shall shine out; that is, the Messiah shall proceed with his work, till he has filled the earth with righteousness; or according to St. Matthew, till he has sent forth judgment unto victory. This is very encouraging to weak believers; the tender reeds shall grow, and the smoking flax shall kindle to a flame. The LXX use the word isles and gentiles as synonimous. The isles of Chittim or Greece, and nations wide as the world, shall wait for the gospel-law. Moses gave laws to the Hebrews, Lycurgus to the Lacedemonians, Solon to the Athenians, but Christ is the lawgiver of the world.

Isaiah 42:6 . I the Lord have called thee, my servant, the Holy One of Israel, to declare my covenant, to publish righteousness to the heathen, and to fill the world with the light and glory of the gospel.

Isaiah 42:8 . I am JEHOVAH, that is my name. The Almighty; the same to-day as in ages past, and in years to come. Exodus 3:14. The worship of an idol is, by consequence, the last of insults offered to his glory; a forfeiture of life, and of all covenant favours.

Isaiah 42:9 . Before they spring forth, I tell you of them. See on Isaiah 41:23.

Isaiah 42:10 . Sing a new song in all the earth, for the grace and glory of the Messiah’s kingdom. JEHOVAH will march as a hero at the head of armies, to accomplish all the mercy promised to his church. When the time is come, he will no longer hold his peace: Isaiah 42:13-14.

Isaiah 42:15-16 . I will dry up the pools; will exhaust the power of Babylon, and of all hostile kingdoms. Here the prophet casts an intermediate glance at his captive countrymen in Babylon. They were blind, as to any future hopes of deliverance. Ezekiel 37:11. They had neither idea nor prospect of its being effected by such extraordinary means especially as the interference of a foreign prince like Cyrus. But the allseeing and allgracious Lord made darkness and afflictions light before them. The kings of Media became their protectors and fathers, and they came back loaded with all their once hallowed vessels of gold and silver.

Isaiah 42:19 . Who is blind, but my servant? The grace and mercy manifested to the Jewish and Christian church is so great, that ministers are here reproved for being slow of heart to believe. The Jews were robbed and spoiled by the Chaldeans for their unbelief, as in Isaiah 42:24; and eventually by the Romans for their unbelieving rejection of Christ.

Isaiah 42:24 . Who gave Jacob for a spoil. The Lord sent the Assyrians against the Hebrews, because of their idolatries, their unbelief, and contempt of his prophets: Isaiah 10:5.


The enraptured prophet still continues to pour consolation into Zion’s cup; and this is the greatest of comforts, to see all her affairs in the hands of the Messiah, the elect, the anointed, the beloved of the Father. The Messiah, in whom his soul delighteth; the Messiah, whom he upheld with all the fulness of the Godhead. Proceeding with his great work of redemption, he shall not rest till he hath established judgment, righteousness, and truth in the earth.

But his kingdom not being of this world, he shall not come with armies, nor the sound of the trumpet; he shall gradually unfold his glory in the character of a servant, though Lord of all. A preacher and a prophet, he shall call in humble silence his great ambassadors from the dust, converted men to preach conversion. He shall be meek and tender, as a shepherd over the weak of the flock. He shall not break the bruised reed, nor quench the smoking flax. Matthew 12:20. He shall conquer; truth shall combat error, love shall consume enmity and war, and the glory of the gospel shall chase before its beams all the darkness of the gentile world.

He shall open the eyes of the blind to see the light, and walk in the new and living way. He shall unstop the ears of the deaf, to hear the joyful sound; he shall liberate the prisoners, and proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and give us back our lost inheritance. He will not give his glory to graven images, but will chase away the former things. Sing then, oh Zion, a new song to thy God; and let the winds blow the mariners with the glad tidings to the ends of the earth.

He has long held his peace, while idols receive the homage due only to his holy name, while infidels blaspheme, and while enmity sheds the blood of his saints. But at length he wilt cry like a woman in travail, and make the mountains waste, and dry up the pools of water. Neither the walls of Babylon, nor the strength of hoary idolatry, nor the bloody domination of Rome, shall be any defence against an angry God. His sun shall for ever shine on Zion, while clouds of darkness and flames of fire shall envelope all his foes.

Bibliographical Information
Sutcliffe, Joseph. "Commentary on Isaiah 42". Sutcliffe's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/jsc/isaiah-42.html. 1835.
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