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Wednesday, May 29th, 2024
the Week of Proper 3 / Ordinary 8
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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 42

Wesley's Explanatory NotesWesley's Notes

Verse 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.

Behold — The prophet having given one eminent instance of God’s certain fore-knowledge, in the deliverance of the Jews by Cyrus, now adds another more eminent example of it, by foretelling the coming of the Messiah. This place therefore is expressly interpreted of Christ, Matthew 12:18, etc. And to him, and to him only, all the particulars following, truly and evidently belong.

Whom — Whom I will enable to do and suffer all those things which belong to his office.

Elect — Chosen by me to this great work.

Delighteth — Both for himself and for all his people, being fully satisfied with that sacrifice, which he shall offer up to me.

Bring forth — Shall publish or shew, as this word is translated, Matthew 12:18.

Judgment — The law, and will, and counsel of God, concerning man’s salvation.

Gentiles — Not only to the Jews, but to the Heathen nations.

Verse 2

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

Cry — In a way of contention, or ostentation.

Lift — His voice.

Heard — As contentious and vain-glorious persons frequently do.

Verse 3

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

Break — Christ will not deal rigorously with those that come to him, but he will use all gentleness, cherishing the smallest beginnings of grace, comforting and healing wounded consciences.

Quench — That wick of a candle which is almost extinct, he will not quench, but revive and kindle it again.

Judgment — The law of God, or the doctrine of the gospel, which he will bring forth, unto, with, or according to truth, that is, truly and faithfully.

Verse 4

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

’Till — ’Till he has established his law or doctrine, among the nations of the earth.

Isles — The countries remote from Judea, shall gladly receive his doctrine.

Verse 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:

He — This description of God’s infinite power, is seasonably added, to give them assurance of the certain accomplishment of his promises.

Verse 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;

Called thee — To declare my righteousness, or faithfulness.

With-hold — Will give thee counsel and strength for the work.

Give thee — To be the mediator in whom my covenant of grace is confirmed with mankind.

The people — Of all people, not only of Jews but Gentiles.

A light — To enlighten them with true and saving knowledge.

Verse 8

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

The Lord — Heb. Jehovah: who have all being in and of myself, and give being to all my creatures. The everlasting, and unchangeable, and omnipotent God, who therefore both can, and will fulfil all my promises.

Verse 9

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

I tell you — That when they come to pass, you may know that I am God, and that this is my work.

Verse 10

Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.

Sing — Upon this new and great occasion, the salvation of the world by Christ.

From the end — All nations from one end of the earth to another.

Ye — You that go by sea carry these glad tidings from Judea, where Christ was born, and lived, and died, and published the gospel, unto the remotest parts of the earth.

Verse 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.

The wilderness — Those parts of the world which are now desolate and forsaken of God, and barren of all good fruits.

Kedar — The Arabians: who were an Heathen and barbarous people, and are put for all nations.

Mountains — Who are commonly more savage and ignorant than others.

Verse 12

Let them give glory unto the LORD, and declare his praise in the islands.

The islands — In the remotest parts of the world, as well as in Arabia, which was near to them.

Verse 13

The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.

Go forth — To battle.

Stir up — He shall stir up his strength, and anger against the obstinate enemies of his Son and gospel.

Roar — As a lion doth upon his prey, and as soldiers do when they begin the battle.

Verse 14

I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once.

Long — I have for many ages suffered the devil and his servants, to prevail in the world, but now I will bring forth and accomplish that glorious work which I have long conceived in my mind; yea, I will suddenly destroy the incorrigible enemies of my truth.

Verse 15

I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools.

Hills — My most lofty and flourishing enemies.

Dry up — I will remove all impediments out of the way.

Verse 16

And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

The blind — The Gentiles.

By a way — By the way of truth, which hitherto has been hidden from them, yea, I will take away all hindrances; I will direct then in the right way; I will enlighten their dark minds, and rectify their perverse wills and affections, until I have brought theirs to the end of their journey.

Verse 18

Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see.

Hear — O you, whosoever you are, who resist this clear light.

Verse 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?

My servant — The Jews, who will not receive their, Messiah.

Messenger — My messengers, the singular number being put for the plural, namely the priests and other teachers whom I have appointed to instruct my people.

The Lord’s servant — As the most eminent teachers and rulers of the Jews, who were called and obliged to be the Lord’s servants, in a special manner.

Verse 20

Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not.

Heareth not — Thou dost not seriously consider the plain word, and the wonderful works of God.

Verse 21

The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.

Well pleased — Altho’ God might justly destroy thee suddenly, yet he will patiently wait for thy repentance, that he may be gracious; and that not for thy sake, but for the glory of his own faithfulness, in fulfilling that covenant, which he made with thy pious progenitors.

Magnify — He will maintain the honour of his law, and therefore is not forward to destroy you, who profess the true religion, lest his law should upon that occasion be exposed to contempt.

Verse 22

But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore.

But — But not withstanding this respect which God hath to his people, he hath severely scourged you for your sins.

Hid — They have been taken in snares made by their own hands, and by God’s just judgment cast into dungeons and prisons.

None — None afforded them help.

Verse 25

Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

Fury — Most grievous judgments.

Yet — They were secure and stupid under God’s judgments.

Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 42". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/wen/isaiah-42.html. 1765.
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