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Bible Commentaries

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged
Isaiah 63

 

 

Verse 1

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

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 (is) this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? - the question of the prophet in prophetic vision.

Dyed - scarlet with blood (Isaiah 63:2-3; Revelation 19:13).

Bozrah - (note, Isaiah 34:6.)

This (that is) glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? "Traveling" [ tso`eh (Hebrew #6808)]. So the Syriac and Vulgate, marching majestically, stately-literally, throwing back the head (Gesenius).

I that speak in righteousness mighty to save - answer of Messiah. I who have in faithfulness given a promise of deliverance am now about to fulfill it. Not as Maurer (in opposition to the Vulgate, Septuagint, Chaldaic Arabic, and Syriac, which support the English version), 'I that speak of righteousness' (Isaiah 45:19; Isaiah 46:13): salvation being meant as the result of His "righteousness."

Save. The same Messiah that destroys the unbeliever saves the believer.


Verse 2

Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?

Wherefore (art thou) red in thine apparel? ... The prophet asks why His garments are "dyed" and "red."

Winefat - rather, the wine-press, wherein the grapes were trodden with the feet, from which the juice would flow off into the wine vat: the juice would stain the garment of him who trod them (Revelation 14:19-20; 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

I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people (there was) none with me - 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.

For I will tread them in mine anger ... and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment - rather, preterites, after the waw conversive succeeding "I have trodden:" 'I trode ... trampled ... was sprinkled ... I stained.' So the Septuagint, Vulgate, Syriac, and Arabic. But the Chaldaic as the English version.

Their blood ( neetsach (Hebrew #5332)); literally, spirited juice of the grape pressed out by treading; akin to an Arabic root (Gesenius). The word in Hebrew usually means victory or perpetuity: hence, the "strength" (as Isaiah 63:6 translates the same Hebrew) whereby victory or perpetuity is ensured-the life-blood.


Verse 4

For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

For the day of vengeance (is) in mine heart. "Is" - rather, was. This assigns the reason why He has thus destroyed the foe (Zephaniah 3:8).

The year of my redeemed - of my people to be redeemed.

Day ... year - here, as in Isaiah 34:8; Isaiah 41:2, the time of "vengeance" is described as a "day" - that of grace and of 'recompence' to the "redeemed," as a "year." God delights in grace, rather than in vengeance.


Verse 5

And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

I looked, and (there was) none to help ... therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me. 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

And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury - rather, preterites, 'I trod down ... made them drunk.' The same image occurs, Isaiah 51:17; Isaiah 51:21-23; Psalms 75:8; Jeremiah 25:26-27.

And I will bring down their strength to the earth - rather, 'I spilled their life-blood (the same Hebrew word as in Isaiah 63:3) on the earth, (Lowth, the Arabic, and Septuagint) Hebrew, nitschaam (Hebrew #5332). The Syriac, Vulgate, and Chaldaic translate as the English version.


Verse 7

I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

Israel's penitential confession and prayer for restoration (Psalms 102:17; Psalms 102:20), extending from this verse to the end of Isaiah 64:1-12.

Loving-kindnesses ... the praises ... according to his mercies ... to the multitude of his loving-kindnesses

- the plurals and the repetitions imply that language is inadequate to express the full extent of God's goodness.

According to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us - the dispersed Jews, at the time just preceding their final restoration.

And the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them - in all ages. God has been good not merely to the Jews now dispersed, but to Israel in every age of its history.


Verse 8

For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.

For he said, Surely they are my people. "He" - Yahweh "said," i:e., thought, in choosing them as His covenant-people; so "said," Psalms 95:10. Not that God was ignorant that the Jews would not keep faith with Him; but God is here represented according to human modes of thought, as saying 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.

Children (that) will not lie - prove false to me, and my covenant (cf. Psalms 44:17).

So he was their Saviour - in virtue of His having chosen them as "His people." He became their Saviour. So the "therefore" (Jeremiah 31:3). His eternal choice is the ground of His actually saving men (Ephesians 1:3-4).


Verse 9

In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

In all their affliction he was afflicted. The English version reads the Hebrew as the Qeri' (Hebrew margin) does, 'There was affliction to Him' [ low (H3807a)]. But the Kethibh (text) reads, 'There was no affliction' (the change in Hebrew being only of one letter) [ lo' (Hebrew #3808)] - i:e., 'In all their afflictions 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 ( tsaaraataam (Hebrew #6869)) there was no straitness ( tsar (Hebrew #6862)) in His goodness to them' (Houbigant). (Judges 10:16; Micah 2:7; 2 Corinthians 6:12.)

And the angel of his presence saved them - literally, the angel of His face; i:e., who stands before Him continually; Messiah (Exodus 14:19; Exodus 23:20-21; Proverbs 8:30): language applicable to no creature (Exodus 32:34; Exodus 33:2; Exodus 33:14; Numbers 20:16; Malachi 3:1).

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


Verse 10

But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Vexed - grieved (Psalms 78:40; Psalms 95:10; Acts 7:51; Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 3:10; Hebrews 3:17; Ezekiel 16:43).

He fought against them - `He it was that fought,' namely, the angel of His presence (Horsley). (Lamentations 2:5.) Or, 'and Himself [ huw' (Hebrew #1931)] (the very God who had fought for them against their enemies) fought against them.'


Verse 11

Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?

Then he remembered the days of old, Moses (and) his people - Notwithstanding their perversity, He forgot not His covenant of old; therefore He did not wholly forsake them (Leviticus 26:40-42; Leviticus 26:44-45; Psalms 106:45-46): 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.

Where (is) he that brought them up out of the sea - Red Sea.

With the shepherd of his flock? - Moses. [ Ro`eeh (Hebrew #7462)]; or, if the Hebrew be read plural, shepherds [ ro`eey (Hebrew #7462), as the Vulgate] - Moses, Aaron, and the other leaders (so Psalms 77:20). The Septuagint, Chaldaic, Syriac, and Arabic read singular.

Where (is) he that put his Holy Spirit within him? - Hebrew, the Spirit of His holiness in the inward parts of him ( b


Verse 12

That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?

That led (them) by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm. The right hand of Moses, 'stretched out over the Red Sea,' was but the instrument: the arm of God was the real mover (Exodus 15:6; Exodus 14:21).

Dividing the water before them - (Nehemiah 9:11; Psalms 78:13.)


Verse 13

That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?

Deep - literally, the tossing and roaring sea.

As an horse in the wilderness - the open plain (Horsley), wherein there is no obstacle to cause a horse in its course the danger of stumbling.


Verse 14

As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.

As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest - image from a herd led "down" from the hills to a fertile and well-watered "valley" (Psalms 23:2); so God's Spirit 'caused Israel to rest' in the premised land after their weary wanderings.

To make thyself a glorious name - (so Isaiah 63:12; 2 Samuel 7:23.)


Verse 15

Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?

Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where (is) thy zeal and thy strength? Here begins a fervent appeal to God to pity Israel now, on the ground of His former benefits.

The habitation of thy holiness - (Isaiah 57:15.) The original source of the prayer is Deuteronomy 26:15; 2 Chronicles 30:27; Psalms 33:14; Psalms 80:14.

Thy zeal and strength - evinced formerly for thy people.

The sounding of thy bowels - thine emotions of compassion (Isaiah 16:11; Jeremiah 31:20; Jeremiah 48:36; Hosea 11:8).


Verse 16

Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

Doubtless thou (art) our 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 be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not. 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; Psalms 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.

Thy name (is) from everlasting - an argument why He should help them; namely, because of His everlasting immutability.


Verse 17

O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, (and) hardened our heart from thy fear? - i:e., suffered 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 6:9-10; Psalms 119:10; Romans 1:28).

Return - Numbers 10:36; Psalms 90:13.)


Verse 18

The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.

The people of thy holiness Israel dedicated as holy unto God (Isaiah 62:12; Deuteronomy 7:6) The people of thy holiness - Israel, dedicated as holy unto God (Isaiah 62:12; Deuteronomy 7:6).

Have possessed (it) but a little while - namely, the Holy Land; or, thy "sanctuary" taken from the following clause, which is parallel to this (cf. Isaiah 64:10-11; Psalms 74:6-8).

Our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary - "thy," an argument why God should help them: their cause is His cause.


Verse 19

We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.

We are (thine): thou never barest rule over them - rather, 'We are thine from of old (Hebrew, mee`owlaam (Hebrew #5769)); thou barest not rule over them.' So the Chaldaic and Syriac, and seemingly the Septuagint and Vulgate. 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 the English version and Barnes translate it. The Jews' foes are aliens who have unjustly intruded into the Lord's heritage.

Remarks: This is another of the prophecies which, while bearing partial features of the first advent of Christ, mainly looks on to the grand consummation at His second advent. He plainly appears here, not so much in His character of the suffering Messiah, as in that of the glorified Messiah, coming to take vengeance on His enemies and to reign. Having trodden down the Antichristian faction represented by Edom, He is represented as returning to Jerusalem, His royal capital, in triumph. As here He describes Himself as 'speaking in righteousness,' so in the parallel passage of Revelation He appears as "the Word of God;" and it is said of Him "in righteousness He doth judge and make war." As here He is seen 'red in His apparel' (Isaiah 63:2), so John says, "He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood." As here He says, "I have trodden the wine-press alone" (Isaiah 63:3), so there it is written of Him, "He treadeth the wine-press of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God." As here "He treads the people in His anger, and tramples them in His fury," so there it is said of Him, 'out of His mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it He should smite the nations, and He rules them with a rod of iron.'

 


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Bibliography Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 63:4". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-63.html. 1871-8.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, October 13th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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