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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 61

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 61:1 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 brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to [them that are] bound;

Ver. 1. The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me.] Christ had graciously promised to accomplish his people’s happiness in its due time. [Isaiah 60:22] Here he showeth how and when he will do it - viz., by himself, anointed and appointed by his heavenly Father to be "Messiah the Prince"; [Daniel 9:25] "Christ the Lord"; [Acts 4:26] Priest, prophet, and king of his Church; a Saviour ex professo, consecrated as the priests of old were, first with oil, and then with blood. So was he (1.) By the Holy Spirit, invisibly at the first instant of his conception, and visibly, at his baptism; (2.) By his own blood sprinkled upon him at his circumcision, but especially at his Passion, which was another baptism. [Matthew 20:23 Luke 12:50]

Because the Lord hath anointed me.] Prae, consortibus et pro consortibus [Psalms 46:7] "Above thy fellows," and also for thy fellows, as some render that text. See John 1:33; John 3:34, Luke 4:18, Acts 10:38, Hebrews 1:8, Psalms 105:15, 2 Corinthians 1:21-22, 1 John 2:20; 1 John 2:27. "Only unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gifts of Christ"; [Ephesians 4:7] "but God gave not the Spirit unto him by measure," [John 3:34] he had it in an abundant and transcendent manner, "good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over," even as much as his human nature was capable of. Let the saints love him for this, [Song of Solomon 1:2] and labour to be more and nmre made partakers of his holiness, for "of his fulness we all receive grace for grace"; [John 1:16] a perfection in some sort answerable to Christ’s own perfection. There are those who observe in this text, and not amiss, the mystery of the Holy Trinity - viz., God the Father anointing his Son Christ with the Holy Ghost. See the like at Christ’s baptism. [Matthew 3:16] [See Trapp on "Matthew 3:16"}

To preach good tidings unto the meek.] "To preach." This referreth to Christ’s prophetic office; as doth "binding up the broken hearted" to his priestly, and "proclaiming liberty to the captives," to his kingly office. To these three offices as God he was consecrated - set apart for a mediator; {as Exodus 30:30} and as man he was qualified, as before. That which Christ came to preach was good tidings, goodspel or gospel, as we call it, the best news that ever came into the world. [Luke 2:10] This he came and preached not in his own person only, but by his prophets and apostles, [Ephesians 2:17] in whom he spake, [2 Corinthians 13:3] and before all whom himself preached the first gospel to our first parents, [Genesis 3:15] even the gospel of grace.

Unto the meek.] Or, Lowly; for humility and meekness are sorores collectaneae, twin sisters. There are those poor that are gospelised - viz., the poor in spirit, sensible of their utter indigence and nothingness; [Matthew 5:3] whereby also our Saviour proveth himself to John’s disciples, sent unto him for the purpose, to be the true Messiah foreshown by Isaiah, and foreshadowed in him. [Matthew 11:5 Luke 7:22]

He hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted.] This Christ doth as a fit high priest, sensible of our miseries. [Hebrews 4:15] He hath manum medicare, hand of healing, he is the true Samaritan; not the physician only, but the surgeon of his people, cataplasmans et obligans, (a) plastering and binding up their wounds given them by the devil, that wicked thief, then when the priest and the Levites - the law - had passed them by, and yielded them no help at all.

The broken hearted.] Broken with the sense of sin and fear of wrath; so broken as if all their bones were rattling within their skin. This was David’s case, [Psalms 51:8] and this he pleads, as one in case and capacity for mercy. [Psalms 51:17] He knew well enough that God poured not the oil of his mercy, save only into broken vessels; for whole vessels are full vessels, and so this precious liquor would run over, and be spilt upon the ground.

To proclaim liberty to the captives.] Liberty from the tyranny of sin, and terror of hell. This Christ doth as a king, with great power. [John 8:32; John 8:34; John 8:36 Romans 6:17-18 Colossians 1:13 2 Timothy 2:26]

And the opening of the prison,] i.e., Of hell, called here koach from lakach, to receive, because it is capacious, and still taking in more company; sic infernus dicitur ab inferendo, ut aliqui volunt.


Verse 2

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

Ver. 2. To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.] The new and true jubilee, or year of releasement, called here in the Hebrew the year of good will, like as the elect are called the men of God’s good will. [Luke 2:14] This year is now, [2 Corinthians 6:2] and the present now must be embraced and improved, since God is but a while with men in the opportunities of grace; which opportunities are headlong, and, once past, irrecoverable.

And the day of vengeance of our God.] Tribulation to them that trouble his people. [2 Thessalonians 1:6-7] Gog and Magog shall down in that day; all humans be hanged up at that royal feast, at the last day especially. [Luke 19:27]

To comfort all that mourn.] This Christ did both by word and deed, and this must all his ministers do: "Comfort the feebleminded"; [1 Thessalonians 5:14] not burdening men’s consciences with human traditions and merit of works. Popery is a doctrine of desperation.


Verse 3

Isaiah 61:3 To 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 trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

Ver. 3. To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion.] (a) Here is showed how it is that Christ comforteth his people, sc., by clearing up their consciences from the stain and sting of sin, and by healing their natures, causing them to grow in grace as trees of righteousness, well rooted and well fruited.

To appoint unto them,] sc., Comfort. {as Isaiah 61:2}

To give unto them beauty for ashes.] (b) Cidarim pro cinere, lusum pro luctu, risum pro rictu, &c., to turn all their sighing into singing, all their musing into music, all their sadness into gladness, all their tears into triumphs. But then those that would rejoice with "joy unspeakable," must stir up sighs that are unutterable, for even Christ himself favos post fella gustavit, tasted first of the sour, and then of the sweet.

That they may be culled.] Have the comfort and the credit of growing Christians, full of goodness, and filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another, as were those Romans, [Romans 15:14] to their eternal commendation. See John 15:5-8, Philippians 1:11.

That he might be glorified.] As indeed he is by one gracious action performed by a fruitful Christian, more than by all his works of creation and providence.


Verse 4

Isaiah 61:4 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.

Ver. 4. And they shall build the old wastes.] Desolationes saeculi, the Gentiles that have long lain forlorn and desolate, as ruined houses; or the wild waste, shall, by the apostles and other doctors of the Church, be brought to Christ, and built up in holiness.

And they shall repair.] The same thing is four different times said over for better assurance, and to set forth the miracle.


Verse 5

Isaiah 61:5 And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien [shall be] your plowmen and your vinedressers.

Ver. 5. And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,] i.e., Shall be very well pleased to serve you, so they may serve the true God with you: yea, being proselyted, they shall become eminent pastors and teachers of the gospel; such as were Justin Martyr, Cyprian, Augustine, &c.

Shall be your ploughmen.] See 1 Corinthians 3:9.


Verse 6

Isaiah 61:6 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 boast yourselves.

Ver. 6. But ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord.] Or, Princes of the Lord, as the word is used 2 Samuel 8:18. See Exodus 19:6, Revelation 1:6, 1 Peter 2:9, Romans 12:1, Hebrews 13:15.

Ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles.] Ye shall have the double honour of countenance and maintenance.


Verse 7

Isaiah 61:7 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.

Ver. 7. For your shame ye shall have double,] i.e., Plentiful reparation, double damages, as Job had. [Isaiah 42:10; Isaiah 42:12]

And for confusion they shall rejoice.] Your grief shall be turned into joy, as our Saviour somewhere saith. See Matthew 5:12.

Everlasting joy shall be unto them.] They shall be everlastingly merry; not so much for the double honour done to themselves, as for the enlargement of God’s kingdom, and the increase of his people, with whom they shall spiritually rejoice and reign for ever.


Verse 8

Isaiah 61:8 For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

Ver. 8. For I the Lord love judgment, &c.] One rendereth it roundly thus, For I the Lord love right; I hate rapine by iniquity - q.d., therefore I will right and repay the wrongs and damages done to my people. Neither is it for any one to think to expiate his bad deeds by his good, to set off with God, and to make him amends. In the times of Popery, indeed, men were taught so to do; they were persuaded that God would accept rapinam in holocaustum, and they practised accordingly: as did the French fury Brunbildis, who founded many colleges; and our King Stephen, who built many monasteries: eo scilicet beneficio maleficia sun expiaverunt, saith mine author. How much better Selymus, the great Turk, who, being on his death bed moved by Pyrrhus, his favourite, to bestow the great wealth taken from the Persian merchants in various places of his empire upon some notable hospital for relief of the poor, refused so to do, and forthwith commanded restitution thereof to be made to the rightful owners. (a)

And I will direct their work in truth,] i.e., In sincerity: there shall be good actions and good aims; which two make a good Christian. Some render the words thus, And I will give them according to their work in truth; making "in truth" to be God’s oath - q.d., truly and without all doubt, I will perform my promises: you have mine oath and my covenant both for your better assurance.


Verse 9

Isaiah 61:9 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.

Ver. 9. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles,] i.e., Shall be noted and noticed for eximious and exemplary: non aliunde noscibiles quam ex vitae emendatione, (a) as it was said of the primitive Christians, famous among the very heathens for their holy conversation. Pliny giveth a very honourable testimony of their innocence in his second epistle to Trajan. Those that stood with the Lamb had his Father’s name in their foreheads; [Revelation 14:1] they led convincing lives, so that their friends could never sufficiently praise them, nor their foes justly find any fault with them. Such a one was Luther, Bucer, Bradford, &c. Christians should shine as lamps, show forth the power of godliness in their whole practice, do more than others possibly can do, [Matthew 5:47] that all may see and say, "These are the seed that the Lord hath blessed," these are his darlings, his earthly angels. What a shame was it to those flagitious Jews that it should be asked, "Are these the people of Jehovah?" [Ezekiel 36:20] And the like to profligate professors, that Papists should say, Are these your new gospellers? For certain, said one, (a) when he had read Christ’s sermon in the mount, either this is not gospel, or we are not right gospellers.


Verse 10

Isaiah 61:10 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 bridegroom decketh [himself] with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth [herself] with her jewels.

Ver. 10. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.] Me beatam! quare dolerem? Oh happy am I, said the Church; why should I be troubled at ought: why should not I over abounding exceedingly with joy who have such rich and precious promises? gaudium in re, gaudium in spe; gaudium de possessione, gaudium de promissione, &c. - i.e., Joy in hope and joy in hand, joy in possession and joy in reversion, &c., as Bernard sweetly. When once a soul enjoyeth God, it is quiet, as a bee that is got into her hive, or a bird got into her nest, or the dove into the ark; nay, it is triumphant, as "more than a conqueror."

For he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation.] By salvation and righteousness, Jerome here understandeth Christ our Saviour and Justifier, whom we are bidden also to put on. [Romans 13:14 Galatians 3:27 Revelation 12:1]

As a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments.] Tanquam sponsum qui sacerdotem refert ornatu, so Piscator rendereth it: as a bridegroom bravely arrayed; like a priest, os humerosque Deo similis. (a)

And as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.] Mundo suo, With her ornaments, habiliments. Heb., Implements. The Church is here compared to a bridegroom for her strength and constancy, saith Cyril; and again, to a bride for her fruitfulness, beauty, and glory, here begun, and hereafter to be perfected. There is in this verse a double elegance in the Hebrew that cannot be translated.


Verse 11

Isaiah 61:11 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.

Ver. 11. For as the earth bringeth forth her bud.] Hic rursum loquitur Christus, saith Piscator: here Christ speaketh again, giving us to understand that piety is planted by God in the hearts of his people. We are God’s husbandry, saith the apostle; see Mark 3:26-28. The Church is Christ’s garden. [Song of Solomon 5:1] Howbeit it is with holy affections as with exotic noble plants; this country is not so kindly for them, being but a stepmother to them; therefore must they be much watered and cherished, &c. We have a gracious promise that our hearts shall be like watered gardens, [Isaiah 58:11] and that if we quench not the Spirit, but quicken and cherish it, there shall flow out of our belly, that is, out of the bosom and bottom of our souls shall flow rivers of living water, [John 7:38] better than those that watered the garden of Eden; so that we shall be filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ unto the glory and praise of God. [Philippians 1:11]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 61:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-61.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Tuesday, November 19th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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