Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, May 21st, 2024
the Week of Proper 2 / Ordinary 7
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 61

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal and HomileticalLange's Commentary

Verses 1-11


The Personal Centre of the Revelation of Salvation

Isaiah 61, 62 and Isaiah 63:1-6

Great works are never accomplished without great men. After reading chapter 60,sone involuntarily asks himself: Who will be the instrument in God’s hand of performing this great work? This question is answered by the Prophet in the three chapters, 61–63, in which he speaks of Him who will bring complete salvation to Israel, but will judge the heathen. Most modern interpreters (with the exception of Stier, Hengstenberg, Delitzsch, Rohling) are of opinion that the Prophet here speaks of himself. I approve in general of the reasons adduced by Delitzsch in favor of the view that the Saviour of Israel is the subject of the prophecy.—[Delitzsch alleges the following grounds in support of his view: 1) Nowhere has the Prophet hitherto spoken of himself as such in detail; rather he has, with the exception of the close of Isaiah 57:21 (saith my God), purposely kept his own person in the background. 2) On the other hand, where another than Jehovah has spoken of the work to which he was called, and of what he had experienced in the fulfilment of his calling, Isaiah 49:1 sqq.; Isaiah 1:4 sqq., that person was the very Servant of Jehovah, of whom and to whom Jehovah speaks, Isaiah 42:1 sqq.; Isaiah 52:13-15, not the Prophet, but He who is destined to be the Mediator of a new covenant, to be a light to the Gentiles, and the Salvation of Jehovah for the whole world, and who by self humiliation unto death ascends to this full glory of His calling. 3) Everything that the Prophet here says of himself is found in the picture of that Servant of Jehovah, who stands alone and unapproachable, highly exalted above the Prophet; He is endowed with the Spirit of Jehovah, Isaiah 42:1; Jehovah has sent Him and with Him His Spirit, Isaiah 48:16 b; He has the tongue of the learned, to help the weary with words, Isaiah 1:4; He spares and delivers those who are almost despairing and destroyed, the bruised reed and the dimly burning wick, in order, 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,”—this is what above all He has in word and deed to do to His people, Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 49:9. Isaiah 49:4) After the Prophet has once so dramatically set forth the Servant of Jehovah of whom he prophesies, and has made Him appear as the speaker in Isaiah 49:1 sqq.; Isaiah 1:4 sqq. (and also Isaiah 48:16 b), we cannot suppose that he will now put himself in the foreground, and ascribe to himself such official attributes as he has made to be characteristic features of that unique Personage predicted by him.”—D. M.]—To the reasons mentioned by Delitzsch, I add what Hengstenberg and Rohling have called attention to, that much which the speaker here says of himself is far too great to be ascribed to a mere man. The Prophet can indeed announce, but he cannot himself effect and bestow what he has announced. And if chapter 63, as cannot be denied, stands in closest connection with chaps, 61 and 62, is He, we ask, who there performs the negative side of the work of salvation, the Prophet? Does not the Prophet most clearly distinguish himself from Him, as the questioner from the person interrogated?



1. A distant view of him who, as Prophet, King and Priest is the founder of Salvation

s Isaiah 61:1-11

1          The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;

Because the Lord hath anointed me
To preach good tidings unto the meek;
He hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives,
And 1the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

2     To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,

And the day of vengeance of our God;
To comfort all that mourn;

3     To2 appoint unto them that mourn in Zion,

To give unto them beauty for ashes,
The oil of joy for mourning,
The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness;
That they might be called 3trees of righteousness,

The planting of the Lord, that he might be glorified.

4     And they shall build the old wastes,

They shall raise up the former desolations,
And they shall repair the waste cities,
The desolations of many generations.

5     And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,

And the 4sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vinedressers.

6     But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord:

Men shall call you the ministers of our God:

Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles,
And in their glory shall ye 5boast yourselves.

7     For your shame ye shall have double;

And for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion:

Therefore in their land they shall possess the double:
Everlasting joy shall be unto them.

8     For I the Lord love judgment,

I hate 6robbery for burnt offering;

And I will 7direct their work in truth,

And I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

9     And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles,

And their offspring among the people:
All that see them shall acknowledge them,
That they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed.

10     I will greatly rejoice in the Lord,

My soul shall be joyful in my God;
For he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation,
He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,
As a bridegroom8 decketh himself with ornaments,

And as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.

11     For as the earth bringeth forth her bud,

And as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth;
So the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise

To spring forth before all the nations.


Isaiah 61:1. The expression פְקַח־קוֹחַ is to be written as one word without Maqqeph; for there is in Hebrew no word קוֹהַ (on the form see Ewald, § 157, c). As פָקַח is employed only of the opening of the eyes and ears, the LXX. in rendering τυφλοῖς�are in part right, inasmuch as even prisoners who sit in darkness and the shadow of death are brought by deliverance from prison to see again the light. However the Septuagint is wrong in taking the expression to mean healing of the blind.

Isaiah 61:6. The ἅπ. λεγ. תִּתְיַמָּ‍ֽרוּ is either from יָמַר=מוּר (of which there is besides only the Hiphil הֵימִיר permutavit Jeremiah 2:11), or from יָמַר=אָמַר (from which is the Hithpael הִתְאַמַּר Psalms 94:4, extulit se). The former derivation seems to be the more appropriate, because הִתְאַמַּר Psalms 94:4, is evidently used in a bad sense.

Isaiah 61:10. יְעָטַנִי (on account of the pause יְעָטָֽנִי) is, if correctly pointed, to be derived from יָעַט which occurs only here, but is identical with עָטָה. תַּעְדֶּה is Kal as Hosea 2:15; Jeremiah 4:30; Jeremiah 31:4.


1. The middle triad (chaps, 61, 62 and 63) of the third Ennead (an aggregate consisting of nine) sets Him again before our eyes by whom the great salvation promised in chap. 60 is to be accomplished. Much of what the Prophet sees done by this great Personage whose name is withheld, bears a prophetic character, such as the bringing of glad tidings and comforting (Isaiah 61:1). But the setting free of the prisoners (ibid.), the proclaiming of the time of grace and of vengeance (Isaiah 61:2), and the real communication of ornament and joy for ashes and mourning (Isaiah 61:3), seem to indicate kingly might. Of like significance is the new order of things spoken of in Isaiah 61:4-7. In Isaiah 61:8-9 Jehovah ratifies the work of His Servant by declaring of it, that it is conformable to justice, and that He intends to make an everlasting covenant with Israel, by which the Israelites shall be known by all nations as the people blessed by Him. Finally, He, who had spoken from Isaiah 61:1-7, speaks again. He rejoices that He is clothed with the garments of salvation, which make Him appear as priestly bridegroom in wonderful union with His bride, to whom His righteousness and glory are by a vital and organic relation communicated (Isaiah 61:10-11). It almost seems as if the Prophet lets us have a glimpse of the three offices which have their common root in the unction of the Spirit.

2. The Spirit of the Lord God——shall be unto them.

Isaiah 61:1-7. With the words, The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon me, the Subject of the prophecy attributes to Himself what Jehovah Isaiah 42:1 declared of His Servant, and what had been already, Isaiah 11:2, declared of the root of Jesse. [Three times in Isaiah is Messiah described as endued with the Spirit of the Lord. First the Prophet affirms this of Him, Isaiah 11:2, “the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him.” Next, Isaiah 42:1, Jehovah Himself declares of the Messiah: “I have put My Spirit upon Him.” Here, lastly, One, whose appointed work marks Him as the Messiah, declares: “The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is upon Me.” Does not this parallelism speak in favor of the identity of person in all three passages? It serves, too, to mark the unity of the whole book. D. M.]. The speaker affirms that He has the Spirit of Jehovah, that all He speaks and does may be known to be wrought by God. The Spirit of the Lord is upon Him because (יַעַן comp. Isaiah 30:12; Isaiah 65:12; Isaiah 66:4) Jehovah has anointed Him. [“מַשַׁח אֹתִי is more emphatic than מְשָׁחַנִי. In the choice of the word משׁח we may find an intimation that the Servant of Jehovah and the Messiah are one person.” Delitzsch. “Anointing, whether it occurs as an outwardly performed symbolical action, or as a mere figure, is always used to designate the gifts of the Holy Ghost, comp. 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 16:13-14; Daniel 9:24. As the anointing is identical with the imparting of the Spirit, we cannot isolate the words: because the Lord has anointed me, but must closely connect them with all that follows. He has endued Me with His Spirit to preach good tidings, etc.Hengstenberg.—D. M.] בִּשַּׂר occurs only in the second part of the book, and is rendered everywhere, with the exception of Isaiah 41:27, in the Septuagint by εὐαγγελίζω. It is here, as frequently, connected with the accusative of the person. עָנָו is found further in Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 29:19. [“עָנָו as עָנִי from עָנָה to bow down; the latter is one bowed down through adversity, the former one inwardly bowed down, emptied of all self-confidence.” Delitzsch. “עני and עני are never confounded. In this world of sin the meek are at the same time the suffering; and that especially here the meek are at the same time to be regarded as suffering, is shown by the glad tidings which stand in contrast to their misery. The ענוים in opposition to the wicked, appear as the people of the Messiah in Isaiah 11:4 also.” Hengstenberg.—D. M.]. The binding up of the broken-hearted can be conceived as wrought by words of consolation. [But comp. Psalms 147:3 where this work is ascribed to Jehovah as His own; and Vitringa truly remarks that the speaker here appears non praeco tantum, sed et dispensator of the rich blessings that are mentioned.—D. M.]. On the year of liberty comp. Leviticus 23:8 sqq. [“The proclaiming of perfect liberty to the bounden, and the year of acceptance with Jehovah, is a manifest allusion to the proclaiming of the year of Jubilee by sound of trumpet. This was a year of general release of debts and obligations, of bond men and women, of lands and possessions, which had been sold from the families and tribes to which they belonged. Our Saviour, by applying this text to Himself, Luke 4:18-19, a text so manifestly relating to the institution above- mentioned, plainly declares the typical design of that institution.” Lowth. “The Servant of God proclaims nothing which He does not at the same time bestow, as Isaiah 61:3 clearly shows.” Hengstenberg.—D. M.]. The expressions, captives and bound point to, first of all. Israel’s deliverance from the Exile. For the Israelites in exile were indeed prisoners of war and captives. [But they were freed from the Babylonish exile before the mission of the Messiah. How then could He be sent to them?—D. M.]. The Prophet here comprehends in his view the whole time of salvation beginning with the liberation from exile. In all that the Prophet here says of the healing of the sick, of the freeing of prisoners, of the rejoicing of the sorrowful, or the honoring of the despised (Isaiah 61:7), and of the rebuilding of what was laid waste, he has evidently in his mind the getting rid of the misery of the old time, and the commencement of the new, glorious era. To this commencement he reckons also the time of the establishment of a new covenant (Isaiah 61:8). It is hard to say where he sees the boundary which marks the beginning of this time. It may not have been clearly perceived by him (1 Peter 1:11). Yet comp. on Isaiah 62:2. The expression שְׁנַת־רָצוֹן is not an official term, but a rhetorical variation for דּרְוֹר and is intended to designate a time of glory and blessing such as that of the Messiah will be. It will have in its train a day of vengeance, one day of judgment, for wrath is short (comp. Psalms 30:6; Isaiah 10:25; Isaiah 54:8, etc.), grace long. In Isaiah 34:8; Isaiah 63:4 we have the same kind of representation; for “the year of recompenses or redemption” [my redeemed] is just the long time of grace granted to Israel, Chaps. 61 and 62 correspond to the year of grace, chap. 63 to the day of vengeance. In regard to the expression נָקָם see remarks on Isaiah 34:8. [It is manifestly with allusion to the year of jubilee that the time of grace here predicted is called an acceptable year of the Lord,i.e., a year of favor or of grace. This allusion explains the employment here of the definite time year. The time of grace is elsewhere spoken of as a day; “In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee,” comp. 2 Corinthians 6:2. The New Testament speaks, too, of the day of redemption and of days of vengeance, Luke 21:22; Ephesians 4:30. The time of wrath towards the church is a comparatively short time, and is frequently contrasted with God’s everlasting mercy to her. But the day of vengeance here predicted has respect to obdurate enemies of the Lord, and on them God’s wrath abideth,John 3:36.—D. M.]. In Luke 4:16 sqq. it is related that Jesus Christ read the commencement of this chapter in the synagogue of Nazareth, and declared Himself as the person by whom this prophecy is fulfilled. We see from this that He did not apply it merely to the deliverance from the Exile, and that He regarded it as a genuine prophecy given by God, and not as the work of a deceiver. [“Our Lord ended His reading in the synagogue at ‘the acceptable year of the Lord’ (Luke 4:19); but at the close of His ministry (Luke 21:22) He spoke of the ‘days of vengeance.’ ” Kay.—D. M.] They who mourn are Zion’s mourners, Isaiah 61:3, and on them shall be put on, or to them shall be given (the Prophet substitutes the word תֵּת for שׂוּם because this word is applicable only to clothes) the head-ornament [E. V. beauty] for ashes.פְּאֵר is the name of the female turban (Isaiah 3:20) and of the priest’s cap, Exodus 39:28; Ezekiel 44:18. Note the paronomasia here. Putting ashes on the head was a sign of mourning, 2 Samuel 13:19. The expression שׁמן שׂשׂון is found besides only in Psalms 45:5, in that Psalm which typically represents a King of Israel as a bridegroom, and which has manifold points of contact with our chapter. There shall be the oil of joy given instead of mourning, and a magnificent robe, as symbol of exaltation, instead of a heavy, oppressed spirit. [Dr. Naegelsbach takes תְּהִלּה in the sense of glory, honor, in which view he follows Delitzsch. Alexander considers a garment of praise to be a garment which excites praise or admiration. But Hengstenberg best explains the meaning of these mourners having a garment of praise put on them as denoting that “they shall be clothed with praise, the praise of a divine goodness which has been manifested to them.” Comp. Psalms 109:18, He clothed himself with cursing like as with his garment.—D. M.] מַֽעֲטֶהamictus, is found only here. The same remark applies to רוּחַ כֵּהָה (comp. Isaiah 42:3). The Prophet proceeds now to speak of those who are blessed by Him whose work had been described. They shall be called, what they really are, Terebinths of righteousness. What this name signifies, the Prophet immediately explains in words repeated from Isaiah 60:21. [“The gifts of God, although described by material figures, are spiritual, inwardly efficacious, renewing and sanctifying the inner man, sap and strength and marrow and motive power of a new life. The church becomes thereby Terebinths of righteousness,i.e., possessors of a righteousness wrought by God, approved by God, in such force, constancy and fulness as Terebinths with their strong stems, their luxuriant verdure, their perennial [?] foliage—a planting of Jehovah to the end that He may get honor thereby.” Delitzsch. D. M.]. We see from Isaiah 61:4 that the Prophet is thinking of exiles who have returned to their own country. But here again he sees everything together which will in the future prove to be a return from exile; for he cannot possibly have before his mind only the return under Zerubbabel and Ezra, as this poor beginning in no way corresponds to the grandeur of the picture here drawn. Having reached their home the exiles will build again the places that have lain waste for an incalculably long time, and restore the ruins of the habitations built by their ancestors. Comp. Isaiah 58:12 and Isaiah 44:26. They will be assisted in this work by foreigners as their servants. For these will feed their flocks, and be their husbandmen and vinedressers, while they themselves shall be called Priests of Jehovah, ministers of our God. As a privileged, ruling caste they shall live on the wealth of the heathen, and in regard to honor and glory shall come into their place (תתימרו. Israel appears here as the priestly nobility (comp. Exodus 19:6), and the Gentiles as the misera contribuens plebs, that has to perform the hard work. When the Prophet, Isaiah 66:21, says of the Gentiles that Priests and Levites shall be taken from them also, he rises above his Old Testament stand-point, and speaks purely and entirely as the Evangelist of the Old Covenant. [The future conversion of Israel, instead of reducing the Gentiles to the condition of menials, will conduce exceedingly to their riches, Romans 11:12. Believing Gentiles can never be considered and treated as ‘aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise’ Ephesians 2:12. On the contrary, they are ‘fellow heirs and of the same body,’ Ephesians 3:6. The Prophet is speaking here not of Israel after the flesh, but of the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16), and does not contradict what he elsewhere states in regard to the equal privileges of converted Gentiles, Isaiah 19:24-25; Isaiah 66:21 sqq. Even in connection with the new heavens and the new earth our Prophet speaks of the people of Jerusalem themselves planting vineyards and eating their fruit, Isaiah 65:17-23,and so not confining themselves to the exercise of priestly functions. Literally understood, these places are mutually exclusive and contradictory. They must be taken figuratively. Barnes extracts the kernel from the shell in saying: “The whole idea is, that it would be a time of signal prosperity, a time when foreigners would embrace the true religion; and when the accession would be as great and important as if they were to come in among a people, and take the whole labor of attending their flocks and cultivating their fields.” I append Abarbanel’s comment on Isaiah 61:5-6. “He (the Prophet) mentions also that the Lord anointed him to announce to the Israelites that the nations shall be subjected unto them so that foreigners will stand and feed their flock, and aliens will cultivate their fields and vineyards, so that the children of Israel shall not be employed in any coarse work, but shall serve the glorious God with their law and prayer alone. Therefore he says: Ye shall be called Priests of the Lord, as if he would say, ye shall not feed flock, nor till the ground, but shall serve the Most High and be Priests of God and servants of the Most High, and so this will be your name. And that ye may have time for the service of the blessed God, ye shall eat the wealth of the Gentiles.” D. M.]. Isaiah 61:0:7מִשְׁנֶה is plainly duplum, double. I do not think that we can understand this of twofold in land. This interpretation puts into the text something not contained in it. The direct antithesis of shame is honor. משׁנה can therefore mean nothing else than double compensation in honor for the lost honor, which is explained when Israel enters into the glory of the Gentiles. We have to supply תַּחַת before כְּלִמָּה as in many other cases. [We have here an enallage of persons, the second giving place to the third. Dr. Naegelsbach renders: On their inheritance they shall sing for joy. But he admits that חֶלְקָם can be the accusative of the object as in Psalms 51:18, which is evidently the construction adopted by the translators of the E. V. D. M.]. Israel’s land is not become larger, nor is the separate inheritance of individuals. But there are added to their own honor and to their own possession the wealth and honor of the heathen. Therefore the inheritance of each Israelite has become double, and therefore they shall have everlasting joy. If we consider what has been mentioned from Isaiah 61:3 b as the fruit of the agency of Him who speaks, we must say that the Israelites shall be called Terebinths of righteousness as a fruit of prophetic work. [He who produces trees of righteousness is more than a prophet.] But that they can build again their cities, make the heathen to be their servants, and live in prosperity and honor, has been brought about by their King.

3. For I the Lord——hath blessed.

Isaiah 61:8-9. These two verses confirm what the Accomplisher of the divine will set in prospect before the people of Israel from Isaiah 61:1-7. Jehovah Himself now speaks in order to sanction the word of His Anointed. Was such a sanction necessary, or does the person of Him who designated Himself, Isaiah 61:1, as the Anointed of Jehovah, pass over into the person of Jehovah Himself? I do not venture to decide. The latter would not be impossible. Comp. the remarks on Isaiah 9:5. Injustice and iniquitous robbery (עוֹלָה=עַוְלָה59:3, here as Job 5:16; Psalms 58:3; Psalms 64:7 with quiescent wav comp. Ps. 92:16), such as was perpetrated on Israel, challenges the justice of God. He makes good, then, for the past the injury which Israel suffered, while he renders to Israel uprightly and fairly (באמת comp. Isaiah 10:20; Isaiah 16:5; Isaiah 38:3; Isaiah 48:1) the merited פְּעֻלָּהi.e., labore partum, reward, indemnification, (Comp. Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 49:4; Isaiah 62:11; Isaiah 65:7), [Translate not: I will direct their work, E. V., but I will give their reward in truth], and makes for the future an everlasting covenant with them, which shall guarantee to them protection against such evil. I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Comp. Jeremiah 32:40, where also the expressions נְטַעְתִּים 61:44 (comp. Isaiah 61:3), and באמת are reminiscences from our place. The ninth verse speaks of one glorious result of that everlasting covenant: It unfolds its effects in such fulness and intensity, that a character (character indelebilis) is imprinted upon the Israelites which distinguishes them from all nations. They will bear the opposite of the mark of Cain, the sign of blessing on their forehead; כִּי הֵם וגו׳ is not causal, but states the object of יכירום (the subject of the dependent sentence is attracted by the governing verb, comp. Isaiah 3:10). “All that see them will know them that they are,” etc., is for “all that see them will know that they are,” etc. This everlasting covenant cannot possibly be any other than the “new covenant,” spoken of in Jeremiah 31:31 sqq. (comp. Hebrews 8:8; Hebrews 8:13). We see, hence, that the Prophet has here in his eye the time following that of the old covenant, the time of the new covenant. [“The true application of this verse is to the Israel of God in its diffusion among all the nations of the earth, who shall be constrained by what they see of their spirit, character, and conduct, to acknowledge that they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed. The glorious fulfilment of this promise in its original and proper sense, may be seen already in the in- fluence exerted by the eloquent example of the missionary on the most ignorant and corrupted heathen, without waiting for the future restoration of the Jews to the land of their fathers.”—Alexander.—D. M.]

4. I will greatly rejoice——before all the nations. Isaiah 61:10-11. The speaker here is the Servant of Jehovah; for who else could be compared at the same time with the priestly Bridegroom and with the bride? He expresses his holy joy in God, because Jehovah has clothed Him with garments of salvation, and covered Him with the robe of righteousness (comp. Isaiah 59:17). Garments of salvation are not such as signify salvation received, but such as cause salvation, for the Servant of Jehovah is the bringer of salvation, not the receiver of it, Redeemer, not redeemed. [Yet נוֹשָׁע is predicated of Him, Zechariah 9:9.—D. M.] How the garments of the Redeemer cause salvation, is shown by the צְדַקָה which follows the יֶשַׁע. The Redeemer covers those who are redeemed by Him with His garment. Because His garment is pure and holy and unexceptionable before God, all who present themselves before God in this garment appear righteous, and so are redeemed. Or is it, perhaps, more correct and more accordant with what follows (Isaiah 61:11) to say that the Lord’s garment, as a living power, germinates and multiplies itself [?], and that, therefore, the wedding garment spoken of in Matthew 22:11 sqq., and the white robes of Revelation 3:4-5; Revelation 4:4; Revelation 6:11; Revelation 7:9; Revelation 7:13, are, as it were, shoots from the living garment of the Saviour? The מְעִיל is not the outer garment, the שִׂמְלָה but a tunica superior, “an over undergarment, or under overgarment”(Leyrer in Herzog,R. Enc. 7, p 725), which was worn only by distinguished persons, such as kings and princes, and by the high-priest (Exodus 28:31 sqq.; Leviticus 8:7). Comp. the nearer description in JosephusAntiqq. 3, 7, 4. In the second part of the verse some interpreters (Hitzig, Hahn), after the LXX. and Vulg., would take כִּהֵן simply in the sense of כּוֹנֵן or הֵכִין But כִּהֵן nowhere has this meaning; and the expressions מְעִיל and פְּאֵר seem to indicate priestly ornament. פְּאֵר is not in itself the priestly covering of the head. But in two places it is brought into connection with the priestly head-ornament; Exodus 39:28, and Ezekiel 44:18. כִּהֵן is not=to act priestly, i.e., gloriously, with pomp, in the tropical sense; but it is “Sacerdotem agere, sacerdotio fungi.” Whatever its radical, etymological signification may be, the word means in the Old Testament never anything but to act priestly, to attend to the priesthood. פְּאֵר stands in the accusative of modality, or of nearer definition: the bridegroom is priest, not in general, but in relation to his head-ornament. For this characterizes him as priest. The glorified Servant of God here spoken of, is compared with a priestly bridegroom, because He has purchased the bride by His priestly work, i.e., by the sacrifice which He offered for her (53), and because He still executes the office of a priest for her by intercession and blessing. But why the comparison with the bride with her ornaments on her? Why is not the comparison rather with a bridal pair?—What means this distinction of bride and bridegroom? It seems to me that this question can be answered from only one stand-point, and this one on which the Prophet himself cannot yet have consciously stood. There hovers over this whole chapter a sort of vail which was riot raised till its fulfilment. The words of 1 Peter 1:10-11, are fully applicable to our Prophet in regard to this place. The fulfilment makes known to us that the Lord comprehends the bride with Himself as one. He is the Head, she is the body (Ephesians 1:23). The life of Christ, His Spirit, His salvation, His righteousness, are in the church. Therefore is He who wears the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness compared both with the priestly bridegroom and the bride כַכַּלָּה recalls Isaiah 49:18, as כֶּחָתָן recalls Psalms 19:6. Under the כֵּלִים the whole apparatus of female finery is to be understood (comp. Genesis 24:53; (Deuteronomy 22:5) Isaiah 61:11 is and must remain enigmatical, if it is not taken, as it has been by us, as an explanation of the thought that the garments of righteousness and salvation, which the Servant of God wears, can, as a living principle, propagate themselves, and so become the ornament of the bride. Isaiah 61:11 is therefore connected with Isaiah 61:10 by כִּי. I accordingly regard Isaiah 61:11 as explaining why He who compared Himself with the priestly bridegroom, compares Himself also with the bride. This can be done because the righteousness which the bridegroom as priest has acquired, and consequently the glory, too, which He has obtained, must appear in His body, the bride, just as the seed committed to the ground must appear in the field or in gardens. [Alongside of this explanation I place that of Delitzsch: “The word in the mouth of the Servant of Jehovah is the seed, from which a grand thing unfolds itself before all the world. The field and soil (ארץ) of this development is the human race, the enclosed garden of the same is the church, and the grand thing itself is צְדָקָה as the actual inward nature of His church, and תְּהִלּה glory, as its actual outward appearance. He who makes the seed to grow is Jahve, but the bearer of the seed is the Servant of Jahve, and to be permitted to scatter the seed of a future so full of grace and glory is the ground of His nuptial jubilation.” While Christ and His bride the church are one, and while He does for her all our author states, more is evidently drawn from the similes in Isaiah 61:10 than they were intended to teach.—D. M.]


1. On Isaiah 61:1. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.—Old writers found in this statement the three persons of the Holy Trinity.

2. On Isaiah 61:1. Because Jehovah has anointed me. It is beyond question that the Saviour had the triple office of Prophet, Priest and King. Nor can it be questioned that in the old covenant priests, kings and prophets were anointed, although we must say of the prophets, that they, in accordance with the peculiar nature of their office, were not anointed by men, but were anointed solely and immediately by God with the Holy Spirit. There is, then, a threefold theocratic office, and what is common to them all is anointing. As each of the three offices has different duties, so different qualifications are needed for each. A different χρῖσμαand therefore a different χάρισμα also is imparted to the Prophet, a different one to the priest, a different one to the king. This does not prevent a king from being also prophet, or a prophet from being also priest, or a priest from being also prophet in certain special cases. But He who has the anointing in full measure, who has the Spirit not merely ἐκ μέτρου (John 3:34, comp. 1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 4:7), but the whole Spirit, He is eo ipso King, Priest and Prophet, He is the מָשִׁיחַ κατ’ εξοχήν.

3. [On He hath sent me.—Christ when fulfilling His ministry delighted to speak of Himself as the sent of God. It is remarkable with what frequency He so describes Himself in the Gospel of John. In that Gospel He makes mention of the Father’s sending Him about forty times. He always acted under a sense of His responsibility as commissioned by the Father. We can reason backwards, and establish the divine mission of Jesus Christ from His corresponding to the Servant of God here described, more perfectly than any person who has ever appeared in the world. Mark how every trait in the picture was fulfilled in Him.—D. M.].

4. [On to proclaim liberty to the captives.—“Whereas by the guilt of sin we are bound over to the justice of God, are His lawful captives, sold for sin till payment be made of that great debt, Christ lets us know that He has made satisfaction to divine justice for that debt, that His satisfaction is accepted, and if we will plead that, and depend upon it, and make ourselves over and all we have to Him, in a grateful sense of the kindness He has done us, we may by faith sue out our pardon, and take the comfort of it; there is, and shall be, no condemnation to us. And whereas by the power of sin in us we are bound under the power of Satan, sold under sin, Christ lets us know that He has conquered Satan, has destroyed him that had the power of death, and his work, and provided for us grace sufficient to enable us to shake off the yoke of sin, and to loose ourselves from those bands of our neck. The Son is ready by His Spirit to make us free.” Henry.—D. M.].

5. On Isaiah 61:2-3. “The year of Jubilee in the prophecy Isaiah 61:1-3, as whose fulfiller Christ presents Himself, Luke 4:21, is regarded as a type of the Messianic time of salvation, in which, after all the conflicts of the kingdom of God are victoriously passed through, the discords of the world will lose themselves in the harmony of the divine life, and with the σαββατισμὸςof the people of God (Hebrews 4:9) the acts of history will be concluded.” Œhler.

6. On Isaiah 61:2. On this passage Clement of Alexandria (Strom. Isaiah 1:21) and other cotemporary fathers founded the view that Christ’s public ministry lasted only one year, a view which Gerh. Joh. Vossius took up afterwards on other grounds.

7. [On Isaiah 61:2. The day of vengeance of our God.—“It is a great truth manifest everywhere that God’s coming forth at any time to deliver His people is attended with vengeance on His foes. So it was in the destruction of Idumea—regarded as the general representative of the foes of God (34–35); so it was in the deliverance from Egypt—involving the destruction of Pharaoh and his host; so in the destruction of Babylon and the deliverance of the captives there. So in like manner it was in the destruction of Jerusalem; and so it will be at the end of the world, (Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). The coming of the Redeemer to save His people involved heavy vengeance on the inhabitants of guilty Jerusalem, and His coming to judgment in the last day will involve the divine vengeance on all who have opposed and hated God.” Barnes.—D. M.]

8. On Isaiah 61:3. “Christ in coming to preach the Gospel confers many benefits: He binds up, He sets free, He opens, He comforts, He gladdens, He adorns, He anoints, He clothes. In Him we have every thing, so that we can say with Ambrosius: ‘We have every thing in Christ, and Christ is every thing in us. Wilt thou that thy wounds be healed, He is the physician; art thou in a burning fever, He is the cool fountain of water; art thou burdened with sins, He is righteousness; dost thou need aid, He is strength; dost thou fear death, He is the life; dost thou desire heaven, He is the way; dost thou fear darkness, He is the light; dost thou crave nourishment, He is food. Therefore taste and see that the Lord is good. Blessed is the man who trusteth in Him (Psalms 34:9).’ ” Cramer.

9. On Isaiah 61:4. [“The setting up of Christianity in the world repaired the decays of natural religion, and raised up those desolations both of piety and honesty, which had been for many generations the reproach of mankind. An unsanctified soul is like a city that is broken down, and has no walls, like a house in ruins; but by the power of Christ’s gospel and grace it is repaired, it is put in order again, and fitted to be an habitation of God through the Spirit. And they shall do this, they that are released out of captivity; for we are brought out of the house of bondage, that we may serve God, both in building up ourselves to His glory, and in helping to build up His church on earth.” Henry,—D. M.] When hereafter the city will be on earth in which there will be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, in which, too, there will be no temple, for the Lord God Almighty is Himself its temple—then will the earth itself, which is the oldest ruin, be restored to what it originally was, to be the soil and ground which bears the tabernacle of God with men (Revelation 21:3).

10. On Isaiah 61:5-6. Weber is of the opinion that the Israelites will fulfil the priestly office only in so far as it related to teaching, and that they will receive for this as fair compensation “the bodily services” of the Gentiles. But that the office of teachers is not here in question is shown by the words משׁרתי אלהינו Teaching is not the essential function of the priesthood, but sacrificial and sacramental mediation. [We have not far to look to find the animal sacrifices (see Isaiah 60:7), if we find here a prophecy of the literal conversion of Israel after the flesh into a nation of priests. Ezekiel, however, tells us (Isaiah 45:15-16) that not even all the Levites, but only the priests the Levites, the sons of Zadok, should perform the proper functions of priests in the house of the Lord in that city whose name is Jehovah-Shammah. The New Testament and the providence of God have sufficiently shown that this prophecy was not designed to confer on the Jews a patent of nobility among the nations. In the exposition of Isaiah 61:5-6 we have pointed out its true interpretation. How the Jews understood this passage may be seen in Eisenmenger’s Entdecktes Judenthum, Vol. 2, p. 758 sqq. It will not be every nation that will be allowed the privilege of serving the Jews. Some will perish utterly. But every Jew will have two thousand eight hundred servants. And this number of servants is determined by Zechariah 8:23 : “In. those days it shall come to pass that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.” Now there are according to the Jews seventy nations, and ten men from each would make seven hundred, but as the garment of every Jew will have four wings (כנף not skirts), each of which will be seized by a Gentile, it follows that four times seven hundred persons, i.e., two thousand eight hundred, will be the servants of one Jew. How so many could take hold of the garment of one man is not explained. But Peter, the Jewish Christian, may be supposed to have understood in what sense we should take the prophecies in Isaiah 60, 61. Yet he would not suffer the Gentile Cornelius to bow down at the soles of his feet, and he thought that no human being should permit a fellow-man to do so. Acts 10:25-26. And those words of his (Acts 10:34-35), “God is no respecter of persons: But in every nation he that feareth Him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with Him,” should have prevented Christian expositors of the Old Testament from adopting the carnal interpretation of the Jews. Dr. Charles Hodge has truly said that in the didactic portions of the New Testament “there is no intimation that any one class of Christians, or Christians of any one nation or race, are to be exalted over their brethren; neither is there the slightest suggestion that the future kingdom of Christ is to be of earthly splendor. Not only are these expectations without any foundation in the teachings of the Apostles, but they are also inconsistent with the whole spirit of their instructions. … It is as much opposed to the spirit of the Gospel that pre-eminence in Christ’s kingdom should be adjudged to any man or set of men on the ground of natural descent, as on the ground of superior stature, physical strength, or wealth.”—D. M.].

11. On Isaiah 61:9. “Omnis, qui viderit eos, prima fronte cognoscet, quia semen sit, cui benedixerit Dominus. Quis enim ex ordine vitae, mansuetudine, continentia, hospitalitate, cunctisque virtutibus non intelligai populum Dei?” Hieronymus.

12. On Isaiah 61:11. [“So that the whole world is become Eden: reclaimed for ever out of the hand of the unrighteous spoiler. In, this year of Jubilee the earth is restored to its proper heirs, the righteous seed. For all those weary ages of wrong, compensation shall be made. The Priestly King will re-consecrate shame-stricken men, and they shall now be ‘kings and priests unto God.’ ” Kay, D. M.].


1. On Isaiah 61:1-3. The announcement of the coming Saviour by Himself—It tells 1) the Person who sends Him; 2) His equipment for His work; 3) the design of His mission. It is a) to promise and bestow all consolation for the godly; b) to announce judgment for the wicked.

2. [The Lord hath anointed me.—“Aaron wag anointed to be high-priest by Moses (Exodus 40:13; Leviticus 8:12). The Lord Himself has anointed Messiah Psalms 45:7, ‘God thy God, hath anointed Thee.’ So we know that when Jesus was baptized (amidst crowds who were confessing their sins, Matthew 3:6, as on a great Day of Atonement), the heavens were ‘rent’ (Mark 1:10), as if the veil which separated God and man were torn asunder, and ‘God anointed Him with the Holy Ghost’ (Acts 10:38), declaring Him to be “His beloved Son, in whom He was well pleased.” Shortly afterwards Jesus publicly applied this prophecy to Himself (Luke 4:17); and then went forth to proclaim the world’s Jubilee (Luke 4:43; Luke 8:1).” Kay, D. M.].

3. On Isaiah 61:6-7. The Spiritual Priesthood of Christians.—1) Their office (ministers of God), a) by spiritual sacrifices (Romans 12:1; 1 Peter 2:5; Hebrews 13:16); 6) by interceding and blessing; 2) Their present shame; 3) Their future glorification.

4. On Isaiah 61:9. How are Christians known among other men? 1) By their confession, which does not agree with that of the world; 2) By their walk, which differs most decidedly from that of the children of the world.

5. On Isaiah 61:10-11. The mutual relation between Christ and His Church.—1) Christ as the priestly bridegroom puts His Church in possession of righteousness and salvation; 2) The church, arrayed in her bridal ornament, brings forth righteousness and praise to the Lord.


[1]opening of the eyes.

[2]put on.



[5]enter, substitute yourselves.

[6]robbery by iniquity.

[7]give their reward.

[8]Heb. decketh as a priest.

Bibliographical Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 61". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/lcc/isaiah-61.html. 1857-84.
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