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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible
Isaiah 63



Verse 1

Isaiah 63:1-19. Messiah coming as the avenger, in answer to His people‘s prayers.

Messiah, approaching Jerusalem after having avenged His people on His and their enemies, is represented under imagery taken from the destruction of “Edom,” the type of the last and most bitter foes of God and His people (see Isaiah 34:5, etc.).

Who — the question of the prophet in prophetic vision.

dyed — scarlet with blood (Isaiah 63:2, Isaiah 63:3; Revelation 19:13).

Bozrah — (See on Isaiah 34:6).

travelling — rather, stately; literally, “throwing back the head” [Gesenius].

speak in righteousness — answer of Messiah. I, who have in faithfulness given a promise of deliverance, am now about to fulfil it. Rather, speak of righteousness (Isaiah 45:19; Isaiah 46:13); salvation being meant as the result of His “righteousness” [Maurer].

save — The same Messiah that destroys the unbeliever saves the believer.

Verse 2

The prophet asks why His garments are “dyed” and “red.”

winefat — rather, the “wine-press,” wherein the grapes were trodden with the feet; the juice would stain the garment of him who trod them (Revelation 14:19, Revelation 14:20; Revelation 19:15). The image was appropriate, as the country round Bozrah abounded in grapes. This final blow inflicted by Messiah and His armies (Revelation 19:13-15) shall decide His claim to the kingdoms usurped by Satan, and by the “beast,” to whom Satan delegates his power. It will be a day of judgment to the hostile Gentiles, as His first coming was a day of judgment to the unbelieving Jews.

Verse 3

Reply of Messiah. For the image, see Lamentations 1:15. He “treads the wine-press” here not as a sufferer, but as an inflicter of vengeance.

will tread … shall be … will stain — rather preterites, “I trod … trampled … was sprinkled … I stained.”

blood — literally, “spirited juice” of the grape, pressed out by treading [Gesenius].

Verse 4

is — rather, “was.” This assigns the reason why He has thus destroyed the foe (Zephaniah 3:8).

my redeemed — My people to be redeemed.

day … year — here, as in Isaiah 34:8; Isaiah 61:2, the time of “vengeance” is described as a “day”; that of grace and of “recompense” to the “redeemed,” as a “year.”

Verse 5

The same words as in Isaiah 59:16, except that there it is His “righteousness,” here it is His “fury,” which is said to have upheld Him.

Verse 6
made them drunk.” The same image occurs Isaiah 51:17, Isaiah 51:21-23; Psalm 75:8; Jeremiah 25:26, Jeremiah 25:27.

will bring down … strength to … earth — rather, “I spilled their life-blood (the same Hebrew words as in Isaiah 63:3) on the earth” [Lowth and Septuagint].

Verse 7

Israel‘s penitential confession and prayer for restoration (Psalm 102:17, Psalm 102:20), extending from Isaiah 63:7 to Isaiah 64:12.

loving-kindnesses … praises … mercies … loving-kindnesses — The plurals and the repetitions imply that language is inadequate to express the full extent of God‘s goodness.

us — the dispersed Jews at the time just preceding their final restoration.

house of Israel — of all ages; God was good not merely to the Jews now dispersed, but to Israel in every age of its history.

Verse 8

he — Jehovah “said,” that is, thought, in choosing them as His covenant-people; so “said” (Psalm 95:10). Not that God was ignorant that the Jews would not keep faith with Him; but God is here said, according to human modes of thought to say within Himself what He might naturally have expected, as the result of His goodness to the Jews; thus the enormity of their unnatural perversity is the more vividly set forth.

lie — prove false to Me (compare Psalm 44:17).

so — in virtue of His having chosen them, He became their Savior. So the “therefore” (Jeremiah 31:33). His eternal choice is the ground of His actually saving men (Ephesians 1:3, Ephesians 1:4).

Verse 9

he was afflictedEnglish Version reads the Hebrew as the Keri (Margin), does, “There was affliction to Him.” But the Chetib (text) reads, “There was no affliction” (the change in Hebrew being only of one letter); that is, “In all their affliction there was no (utterly overwhelming) affliction” [Gesenius]; or, for “Hardly had an affliction befallen them, when the angel of His presence saved them” [Maurer]; or, as best suits the parallelism, “In all their straits there was no straitness in His goodness to them” [Houbigant], (Judges 10:16; Micah 2:7; 2 Corinthians 6:12).

angel of his presence — literally, “of His face,” that is, who stands before Him continually; Messiah (Exodus 14:19; Exodus 23:20, Exodus 23:21; Proverbs 8:30), language applicable to no creature (Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:2, Exodus 33:14; Numbers 20:16; Malachi 3:1).

bare them — (Isaiah 46:3, Isaiah 46:4; Isaiah 40:11; Exodus 19:4; Deuteronomy 32:11, Deuteronomy 32:12).

Verse 10

vexed — grieved (Psalm 78:40; Psalm 95:10; Acts 7:51; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 3:10, Hebrews 3:17).

he fought — rather, “He it was that fought,” namely, the angel of His presence [Horsley], (Lamentations 2:5).

Verse 11

remembered — Notwithstanding their perversity, He forgot not His covenant of old; therefore He did not wholly forsake them (Leviticus 26:40-42, Leviticus 26:44, Leviticus 26:45; Psalm 106:45, Psalm 106:46); the Jews make this their plea with God, that He should not now forsake them.

saying — God is represented, in human language, mentally speaking of Himself and His former acts of love to Israel, as His ground for pitying them notwithstanding their rebellion.

sea — Red Sea.

shepherd — Moses; or if the Hebrew be read plural, “shepherds,” Moses, Aaron, and the other leaders (so Psalm 77:20).

put … Spirit … within himHebrew, “in the inward parts of him,” that is, Moses; or it refers to the flock, “in the midst of his people” (Numbers 11:17, Numbers 11:25; Nehemiah 9:20; Haggai 2:5).

Verse 12

The right hand of Moses was but the instrument; the arm of God was the real mover (Exodus 15:6; Exodus 14:21).

dividing the water — (Nehemiah 9:11; Psalm 78:13).

Verse 13

deep — literally, “the tossing and roaring sea.”

wilderness — rather, the “open plain” [Horsley], wherein there is no obstacle to cause a horse in its course the danger of stumbling.

Verse 14
rest — image from a herd led “down” from the hills to a fertile and well-watered “valley” (Psalm 23:2); so God‘s Spirit “caused Israel to rest” in the promised land after their weary wanderings.

to make … name — (So Isaiah 63:12; 2 Samuel 7:23).

Verse 15

Here begins a fervent appeal to God to pity Israel now on the ground of His former benefits.

habitation of … holiness — (Isaiah 57:15; Deuteronomy 26:15; 2 Chronicles 30:27; Psalm 33:14; Psalm 80:14).

zeal … strength — evinced formerly for Thy people.

sounding of … bowelsThine emotions of compassion (Isaiah 16:11; Jeremiah 31:20; Jeremiah 48:36; Hosea 11:8).

Verse 16
father — of Israel, by right not merely of creation, but also of electing adoption (Isaiah 64:8; Deuteronomy 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10).

though Abraham … Israel — It had been the besetting temptation of the Jews to rest on the mere privilege of their descent from faithful Abraham and Jacob (Matthew 3:9; John 8:39; John 4:12); now at last they renounce this, to trust in God alone as their Father, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary. Even though Abraham, our earthly father, on whom we have prided ourselves, disown us, Thou wilt not (Isaiah 49:15; Psalm 27:10). Isaac is not mentioned, because not all his posterity was admitted to the covenant, whereas all Jacob‘s was; Abraham is specified because he was the first father of the Jewish race.

everlasting — an argument why He should help them, namely, because of His everlasting immutability.

Verse 17

made us to err — that is, “suffer” us to err and to be hardened in our heart. They do not mean to deny their own blameworthiness, but confess that through their own fault God gave them over to a reprobate mind (Isaiah 6:9, Isaiah 6:10; Psalm 119:10; Romans 1:28).

Return — (Numbers 10:36; Psalm 90:13).

Verse 18
holiness — Israel dedicated as holy unto God (Isaiah 62:12; Deuteronomy 7:6).

possessed — namely, the Holy Land, or Thy “sanctuary,” taken from the following clause, which is parallel to this (compare Isaiah 64:10, Isaiah 64:11; Psalm 74:6-8).

thy — an argument why God should help them; their cause is His cause.

Verse 19
never — rather, “We are Thine from of old; Thou barest not rule over them” [Barnes]. Lowth translates, “We for long have been as those over whom Thou hast not ruled, who are not called by Thy name”; “for long” thus stands in contrast to “but a little while” (Isaiah 63:18). But the analogy of Isaiah 63:18 makes it likely that the first clause in this verse refers to the Jews, and the second to their foes, as English Version and Barnes translate it. The Jews‘ foes are aliens who have unjustly intruded into the Lord‘s heritage.


Copyright Statement
These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 63:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, October 29th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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