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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 63

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 63:1 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.

Ver. 1. Who is this that cometh from Edom?] It had been said, in Isaiah 62:11, "Behold, thy salvation (thy Saviour) cometh." Here, therefore, by an elegant hypotyposis, (a) the Sionidae, or saints, are brought in wondering at his coming in such a garb, and asking, Who is this? What gallant conqueror have we here? Edom, or Idumaea, signifieth red; Bozrah, (the chief city of Idumaea), a vintage. {compare Isaiah 63:2} It may very well be also that this prophecy was uttered in vintage time, and therehence haply might grow the comparison here used. John the divine, representing to us Christ’s coming to judgment, useth the same simile. [Revelation 19:13] Some also of good note, do understand this prophecy of Christ’s triumphing over all his and our enemies (the Romish Edomites especially), at the last day.

With dyed garments.] Heb., Leavened, i.e., drenched, (b) besmeared.

This that is glorious in his apparel.] Which is the more glorious, because laced or embroidered with the blood of his enemies.

Walking in the greatness of his strength.] Fortiter grassans, walking and stalking, going in state, gressu grallatorio, emperor like, so as Epaminondas marched before his army; which, when Agesilaus, king of Spartans beheld, he cried out, O virum magnificum! (c) O that is a gallant man! "Ye shall see the Son of man coming with great power!" saith Christ.

I that speak in righteousness.] Christ’s answer, q.d., " Fear not, little flock"; this strange garb and gait of mine portendeth no hurt but good to you; to whom whatsoever I have faithfully promised, I will powerfully perform. As King of Zion, I will

Parcere subiectis et debellare superbos.

At the last day also I will "come to be glorified in my saints, and to be admired in all them that believe." [2 Thessalonians 1:10] See Revelation 19:11.

Mighty to save.] Suficiens ad salvandum, sive Magister ad salvandum, a Master to save. This those lepers had learned, and therefore cried, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." [Luke 17:13]


Verse 2

Isaiah 63:2 Wherefore [art thou] red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat?

Ver. 2. Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel?] The wondering Church had proposed two questions in Isaiah 63:1 - viz., Who that was? and why so bloodied? To the first she bad an answer in few, but very full in Isaiah 63:1. To the second, she here again presseth for an answer; and the rather because, candor magis quam cruor, clemency would better beseem a Saviour than cruelty. (a)


Verse 3

Isaiah 63:3 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.

Ver. 3. I have trodden the winepress alone.] I, the sole and all-sufficient Saviour of my Church, have executed God’s just vengeance upon all her enemies, spiritual and corporal; {compare Lamentations 1:15 Revelation 14:19-20; Revelation 19:15} and this with as much ease as men tread grapes in a winepress.

And of the people there was none with me.] Christ maketh use of men for the beating down of Satan’s strongholds; but the power whereby it is done is from Christ alone. [2 Corinthians 10:4-5; 2 Corinthians 4:7] Papists, who will needs share with Christ and make him but a half Saviour, have no share in his salvation.

For I will tread them in mine anger.] I have already done it; and I will much more at that great "day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God." [Romans 2:5] See Revelation 19:20-21.

And their blood shall be sprinkled.] Or, Was sprinkled. Their blood; not his own. The Fathers, therefore, and others who interpret this text of Christ’s passion, were mistaken. There is one among the rest who thus descants upon this verse, but not so well. The wild bull, saith he, of all things cannot abide any red colour. Therefore the hunter, for the time being standing before a tree, puts on a red garment; whom, when the bull seeth, he runs hard at him, as hard as he can drive. But the hunter slipping aside, the bull’s horns stick fast in the tree; as when David slipped aside, Saul’s spear stuck fast into the wall: such a hunter is Christ. Christ standing before the tree of his cross, putteth on a red garment dipped and dyed in his own blood, as one that cometh with red garments from Bozrah. Therefore the devil and his angels, like wild bulls of Bashan, run at him; but he, saving himself, their horns stick fast in the cross; as Abraham’s ram, by his horns, stuck fast in the briers. Thus he.

Stain my raiment.] Heb., Pollute it; for other blood polluteth, [Isaiah 59:3 Lamentations 4:14] but "the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." [1 John 1:7]


Verse 4

Isaiah 63:4 For the day of vengeance [is] in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

Ver. 4. For the day of vengeance is in mine heart.] Or, Was in mine heart. Hence I made such havoc. Christ is the "Lord God of recompenses," [Jeremiah 51:56] and the "Lord God of revenges"; [Psalms 94:1] he is "jealous and furious," [Nahum 1:2; see the note there} his feet, wherewith he treadeth down his enemies, are "like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace." {Revelation 1:15] Oh, "it is a fearful thing to fall into the punishing hands of this living God." [Hebrews 10:31]

And the year of my redeemed is come.] Their joyful jubilee. It is hail with the saints when ill with the wicked. The deliverance of those is oft the destruction of these.


Verse 5

Isaiah 63:5 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.

Ver. 5. And I looked, and there was none to help.] See on Isaiah 59:16.


Verse 6

Isaiah 63:6 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.

Ver. 6. Make them drunk in my fury.] I will give them large draughts of my displeasure. {as Psalms 75:9} I will infatuate and utterly disable them to rebel and resist; yea, I will make them drunk with their own blood, as with new wine. [Isaiah 49:26 Revelation 16:6] {See Trapp on "Revelation 16:6"} The perverse Jews, at the last destruction of their city, became a famous instance, being buried, as it were, in a bog of blood.

And I will bring down their strength.] Or, Their blood, as it is rendered Isaiah 63:3, eo quod vita et virtus hominis in sanguine, (a) because life and strength is in the blood.


Verse 7

Isaiah 63:7 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.

Ver. 7. I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord,] (a) scil., As an aggravation of Israel’s great unkindness and unthankfulness to so liberal a Lord, so bountiful a benefactor. Good turns exaggerate unkindness; and men’s offences are increased by their obligations. See Deuteronomy 32:7; Deuteronomy 32:14.

According to his mercies, &c.] Which are such as words are too weak to utter; hence this Copia verborum, and all too little. See the like, Ephesians 2:5; Ephesians 2:7.


Verse 8

Isaiah 63:8 For he said, Surely they [are] my people, children [that] will not lie: so he was their Saviour.

Ver. 8. For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie,] q.d., I presume they will not; it were a foul shame for them if they should deceive my expectation, deal disloyally, show themselves deceitful in the covenant. The officers of Merindol, in France, answered the Popish bishop that moved them to abjure, that they marvelled much that he would offer to persuade them to lie to God and the world. And albeit that all men by nature are liars; yet they had learned by the Word of God that they ought diligently to take heed of lying in any matter, be it never so small. Also that they ought diligently to take heed that their children did not accustom or use themselves to lie, and therefore punish them very sharply when they took them with any lie, even as if they had committed a robbery; for the devil is a liar, &c. Here the bishop rose up in a great anger, and so departed. (a)


Verse 9

Isaiah 63:9 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.

Ver. 9. In all their afflictions he was afflicted.] See Exodus 3:7; Exodus 3:9, 10:16, Zechariah 2:8, Acts 9:4, Jeremiah 31:20. O God, we may better say, than the poet did of Augustus -

Est placidus, facilisque parens, veniaeque paratus:

Et qui fulmineo saepe sine igne tonat.

Qui rum triste aliquid statuit, fit tristis et ipse:

Cuique fere poenam sumere poena sua est. ”{a}

And the angel of his presence saved them,] i.e., Jesus Christ, who is called the "face of God"; [Exodus 33:14-15] "the image of the invisible God"; [Colossians 1:15] whom whoso "hath seen, hath seen the Father also"; [John 14:9] he "who is in the bosom of the Father"; [John 1:18] and as an everlasting priest mediateth and ministereth in the presence of his Father, making request for us; [Hebrews 9:24 Revelation 8:3] that "angel of the covenant." [Malachi 3:1]

And he bare them.] As parents do their young children.

And carried them.] As eagles do their young. See Exodus 19:4, Deuteronomy 32:11. {See Trapp on "Deuteronomy 32:11"}


Verse 10

Isaiah 63:10 But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit: therefore he was turned to be their enemy, [and] he fought against them.

Ver. 10. But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit.] By sinning against light, checks of conscience, motions of the Spirit, mercies without measure, &c. Junius thinketh this a clear place for proof of the Trinity in unity.

So he was turned to be their enemy.] This was an ill turn for them; abused mercy turneth into fury; with the froward God will wrestle. [Psalms 18:26]


Verse 11

Isaiah 63:11 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?

Ver. 11. Then he remembered,] i.e., Israel remembered the days of old; Heb., Of antiquity, the days of yore, as some old translations have it. See Psalms 89:50, &c.

Saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea?] q.d., How is it that he is not now to be found, as then he was for the succour of his poor people? They had "vexed his Holy Spirit," and therefore he withdrew himself. See Hosea 5:6.

With the shepherd of his flock.] Or, Shepherds - as some ancient copies had it - viz., Moses and Aaron. [Psalms 77:20]

Where is he that put his Holy Spirit within him?] But this Holy Spirit they had vexed, [Isaiah 63:10] and now they sorrowfully inquire after. Delicata res est Spiritus Sanctus; ita nos tractat, sicut tractatur, saith a father - i.e., The Spirit of God is a delicate thing; he deals with us, as we deal by him.


Verse 12

Isaiah 63:12 That led [them] by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm, dividing the water before them, to make himself an everlasting name?

Ver. 12. That led them by the right hand of Moses with his glorious arm.] Or, That made his gallant arm to go at Moses’ right hand.

Dividing the water before them.] So that pseudo Moses - the devil likely - made many overly credulous Jews of Crete believe that he would do for them whom he beguiled into the midst of the sea, to their destruction, 434 AD. (a) Some are of the opinion that this affectionate prayer was purposely penned by the prophet, for the use of those poor Jews, who, after the coming of Christ, and manifestation of the gospel, should see themselves to be rejected by God and his Church, and should now beg to be owned again; Cui sane instituto omnia, magis quam dici queat, conveniunt, saith Hyperius; the ensuing petitions suit very much.


Verse 13

Isaiah 63:13 That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, [that] they should not stumble?

Ver. 13. That led them through the deep.] Which threatened to swallow them, but indeed preserved them; so doth every main affliction.

As a horse in the wilderness.] Or, As a horse goeth in the plain, when led by his rider, in qua non est lutum vel lapis, where there is neither mire to stick in, nor stone to stumble at. See Psalms 106:9-11


Verse 14

Isaiah 63:14 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.

Ver. 14. As a beast goeth down into the valley,] i.e., Gently and leisurely, (a) according to that known saying -

Ascendente tuo, vel descendente caballo,

Vox ait ista, Fave; vox ait illa, Cave. ”

The Spirit of the Lord caused him to rest.] Or, Led them until he brought them to rest. - scil., in the promised land.

To make thyself a glorious name,] q.d., So thou mayest do again, if thou please to show mercy unto us. Name is here put for fame or renown.


Verse 15

Isaiah 63:15 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?

Ver. 15. Look down from heaven.] Affectus dolentium atque ardenter petentium scite exprimuntur, a pathetic and pithy prayer.

And behold from the habitation of thy holiness, &c.] They pray otherwise now than when the temple stood; [Psalms 121:1] now they look higher, and oh that they would do so! The modern Jews pray thus daily; but because not from a right principle, they are not heard.

Where is thy zeal?] Thine ancient fervour and forwardness in vindicating thy people, and being avenged of their enemies.

The sounding (rumbling or yearning) of thy bowels, &c.] Sometimes God seemeth to lose his mercy, and then we must find it for him, as here; sometimes to sleep or delay, and then we must waken, quicken him. [Psalms 40:17 Isaiah 62:7]

Are they restrained?] Chrysostom (a) exhorteth people, whether God grant or not, to pray still; for when God denies, it is as good as if he grants. And if we pray for any temporal mercy, the very ability to pray is better than the thing we pray for; for "whosoever calleth upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."


Verse 16

Isaiah 63:16 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.

Ver. 16. Doubtless thou art our Father.] Though thou frownest and withdrawest. The people of God saw that he was angry, that their hearts also were hard; yet they thought they should know him amidst all his austerities, and they make to him for help. And, doubtless, help the Jews might yet have, could they seriously say, as here, "Certainly thou art our Father," and would no longer rest upon carnal things, boasting of Abraham their father, circumcision, and other external privileges.

Though Abraham be ignorant of us.] Ipsi nunc sua quiete fruuntur; they are at rest, and know nothing of our affairs. The monks tell us that the saints departed see things done here in the face of God as in a glass. But this is a mere fiction of theirs. See Psalms 27:10, 2 Kings 22:20. Augustine (a) saith of his mother Monica, deceased, that she did now no longer yield him comfort, because she knew not what befell him. The greatest Popish clerks themselves confess that the invocation of saints departed had neither precept, promise, nor precedent in the book of God. Moreover, they cannot determine how the saints know our hearts and prayers, whether by hearing, or seeing, or presence everywhere, or by God’s relating or revealing men’s prayers and needs unto them. All which ways some of them hold as possible or probable, (b) and others deny and confute them as untrue. (c) The Syriac and Arabic render the text thus: Thou art our Father, we are ignorant of Abraham, and we acknowledge not Israel. Thou, O Lord, art our Father, &c. Agreeable whereunto is that of the heathen, Contemno minutos istos Deos, modo Iovem mihi propitium habeam, I care not for those petty gods, so that Jupiter will stand my friend. And that better saying of a devout Christian,

Una est in trepida mihi re medicina, Iehovae

Cor patrium, os verax, omnipotensque manus. ”

- Nathan. Chytraeus.

It hath been well observed that the defeat given to the Spanish fleet, A.D. 1588, happened to be on St James’s day, whom the Spaniards pray to as their patron or saint tutelar.

Thy name is from eternity,] i.e., This name of thine, "Our Redeemer." Some read the text thus: Our Redeemer is from of old thy name. Our redemption was not of yesterday, but verily foreordained before the foundation of the world. [1 Peter 1:20]


Verse 17

Isaiah 63:17 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.

Ver. 17. O Lord, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways? &c., ] i.e., Given us up to error and obstinace? Why dost thou thus punish sin with sin, for the illustration of thy justice and jealousy against us, who have rebelled and vexed thine Holy Spirit? [Isaiah 63:10] Oh, be pleased to deal with us rather according to thy mercy. "Return for thy servants’ sake," the good people that are yet left among us; give us hearts of flesh, and lead us in the way everlasting. Here observe that God’s best children may find in themselves hardness of heart, [Hosea 4:16] yet not total, but mixed with softness and tenderness in every part, so that though they resist, neglect, profit not as they might do - through pride, worldliness, voluptuousness, [Matthew 13:22 Luke 21:34] hypocritical hiding of any sin, [Psalms 32:3-4 Proverbs 28:14] letting fall the watch of the Lord [2 Chronicles 32:25] - yet it is not done with full consent, but with reluctance now, and repentance afterwards.

The tribes of thine inheritance,] q.d., Wilt thou abhor thy people in covenant with thee, and abandon thine own inheritance? How few are there that thus urge the seal, and enter a suit with the Lord!


Verse 18

Isaiah 63:18 The people of thy holiness have possessed [it] but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.

Ver. 18. The people of thine holiness have possessed it but a little while,] viz., In respect of that perpetuity promised them by thee; [Genesis 17:8; Genesis 26:3; Genesis 28:13 Exodus 32:13] besides the many calamities that have befallen us, whereby we have had small enjoyment of this thine inheritance. All the days of the afflicted are evil, [Proverbs 15:15] their life lifeless, and not to be reckoned on.

Our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.] This they did in the days of Antiochus, but especially about the time of our Saviour’s incarnation; when the sceptre departed from Judah, Pompey with his army entered into the sanctuary; Herod got the government, the Romans set up their ensigns and statues in the holy of holies, &c. This desolation of the second temple the Jews do here bewail; but we have cause to rejoice, for that by Christ the whole world is now become a temple, and every place a goodly oratory. [1 Timothy 2:8]


Verse 19

Isaiah 63:19 We are [thine]: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.

Ver. 19. We are thine.] And shouldst thou then deal with us as some profane, idolatrous nation? See here the holy boldness of faith standing upon interrogatories, [1 Peter 3:21] and filling her mouth with arguments of all sorts.

Thou never barest rule over them.] No such reason or relation is there of children, servants, subjects, wherefore they should thus be favoured and we disowned. [Amos 3:2 Isaiah 63:17]

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 63:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-63.html. 1865-1868.

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