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Bible Commentaries

Lange's Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical
Isaiah 42

 

 

Verses 1-25

III.—THE THIRD DISCOURSE

The third chief figure: The personal servant of God in the contrastive, principal features of his manifestation

Isaiah 42

1. THE MEEK SERVANT OF GOD

Isaiah 42:1-4

1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold;

Mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth;

I have put my spirit upon him:

He shall [FN1]bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.

2 He shall not cry, nor lift up,

Nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

3 A bruised reed shall he not break,

And the [FN2]smoking flax shall he not [FN3]quench:

He shall bring forth judgment [FN4]unto truth.

4 He shall not fail nor be [FN5]discouraged,

Till he have set ajudgment in the earth:

And the isles shall wait for his law.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

See List for the recurrence of the words: Isaiah 42:1. הֵן רָצָה–בָּחִיר–תָּמַךְ– Isaiah 42:3. כֵחָה–פִּשׁתָּה Isaiah 42:4. יָחַל–תּוֹרָה

Isaiah 42:1. With רצתה נפשׁי one looks for בּוֹ (comp. Micah 6:7, etc). Evidently the preceding בּוֹ continues in force.

Isaiah 42:4. אל יכהה corresponds to the second clause of Isaiah 42:3; לא ירוץ to the first clause. From this it appears that יָרוּץ is not from רוּץ, but from רָצַיץ. The pronunciation of the imperf. Kal with u occurs also in other ע֨ע֨verbs (יָרוּן Proverbs 29:6. יָשׁוּד Psalm 91:6), and it is remarkable that the imperfect forms of רצץ occur only with the pronunciation u, Psalm 18:30; 2 Samuel 22:30; Ecclesiastes 12:6.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. As in chap 41 the form of Cyrus, who is servant of Jehovah without being called Song of Solomon, and the form of Israel, who is servant of Jehovah and is so called, have their roots, so the form of Him who is servant of Jehovah in the highest sense, the form of the Messiah has its root in chap24. Thus the Prophet allows the types of his prophetic forms to appear in succession, and in a way that sketches them for us at first only in general outline. Here now he lets a servant of Jehovah appear, whom, after the first strokes that draw his form, we might regard as identical with the servant of Jehovah mentioned Isaiah 41:8. For all that is said in our Isaiah 42:1, applies well enough to the people of Israel. But can Isaiah 42:2-3 be said of them? Here is mentioned One, who could, if He would, but He will not. He could cry, and break the bruised reed, and quench the glimmering wick, for He had the right and the might to do it. That is the Lord Himself, that comes to visit His people in meekness and lowliness. And yet He does appear as a Judges, loud and terrible, as appears from Isaiah 42:13. For this chapter is full of contrasts. Isaiah 42:1-4 contrast with Isaiah 42:10-17; Isaiah 42:5-9 with Isaiah 42:18-21. Contrasts appear, too, within the individual strophes; e. g., Isaiah 42:4 a. contrasts with4 b.

2. Behold my servant—for his law.

Isaiah 42:1-4. תָּמַךְ in itself can mean “to seize, hold fast.” Here, however, it is not an act of violence that is spoken of, but an act of love. The Servant of Jehovah supports Himself on Jehovah, and Jehovah supports, holds and bears His Servant (comp. Isaiah 42:6; John 8:29). The words “in whom I am well pleased,” Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; 2 Peter 1:17, heard at the baptism and the transfiguration of Christ, seem to connect with our רצתה וגו׳ and also with חָפֵץ ver21. The idea of anointing seems to underly the expression I have put My Spirit upon Him. (The expression occurs only here in Isaiah; for Isaiah 37:7 belongs in another category; still comp. Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 61:1). The use of the holy anointing oil (also of incense) is often signified by נתן על in Leviticus 2:1; Leviticus 2:15; Leviticus 14:17-18; Leviticus 14:28-29. This construction is confirmed by Isaiah 61:1. By the anointing with the Holy Spirit, the Servant of God is qualified to bring right to the nations. משׁפט here can mean neither judicial transaction, nor judicial sentence; it can only mean standard of right. But what sort appears partly from the nature of the thing itself, partly from the parallel passages. The heathen, too, had standards of right in general. But they lacked the true source of right, the knowledge of Him who alone is truth; they lacked the νόμος τη̄ς ἀληθείας . Not merely the juridical norm of right in the absolute sense, i. e., religion (HengstenbergChristol. on our text, Delitzsch, Reinke) is to be understood. This absolute standard of right, hitherto the prerogative of Jehovah and His people, the Servant of Jehovah will carry forth to all nations (comp. Isaiah 2:3; Micah 4:2; Isaiah 51:4; Psalm 147:19-20). Thus הוֹצִיא signifies the publishing of what has hitherto been hid, revelation ( Habakkuk 1:4).

In Isaiah 42:2-3 it is added in praise of the Servant of the Lord that He will not cry in the streets, nor break the bruised reed. If He is to be praised for this, then He must have been able to do what He abstained from doing. Evidently a contrast presents itself here. It is not that the Servant of the Lord cannot do what He would even like to do. But the contrary: He could; but He will not. He abstains from the use of His power; He divests Himself. By this even it is intimated that His power must be great. Otherwise there would not be so much made of His refraining from using it. Is it credible that such humble abstinence from the use of power that they enjoyed could ever be mentioned to the praise of Isaiah, or of the prophets generally, or of the people of Israel generally, or of the spiritual Israel, or of Cyrus, or of Uzziah, or Hezekiah or Josiah [the various persons supposed by different commentators to be meant by the Servant of Jehovah.—Tr.]? When did Israel ever have great power in reference to the heathen, and in humble love abstain from its use? Or when had ever a prophet or king of Israel the high position of a teacher of mankind, and filled it with humble self-denial? And of Cyrus it cannot be said that he was called to give to the heathen the νομος τη̄ς ἀληθείας. There is only One, that stood as Teacher of all nations, and who, spite of His great dignity, could say of Himself: “Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly of heart, and ye shall find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy, and My burden is light” ( Matthew 11:28-30). It is as if the Lord had our passage in mind when He spoke these words. For not only do His words: “I thank Thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth” (ibid, Isaiah 42:29) recall Isaiah 42:5 of our chapter, that describes God as the One “that created the heavens, and stretched them out.” But, what is still more important, we find there the same contrast as the basis of Christ’s words, that rules over also our passage. The almighty Lord of heaven and earth does not ask after the wise and prudent, He has revealed Himself to those under age. And Christ Himself! How significant that He introduces the words to the weary and heavy laden quoted above, with the words: “All things are delivered unto Me of My Father: and no man knoweth the Song of Solomon, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Song of Solomon, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him” (ibid. Isaiah 42:27). Does He not say here in a most emphatic way, that He is a meek, lowly and patient teacher although the greatest power and the highest knowledge are delivered to Him? Besides the evident connection of our passage with Matthew 11:25-30, that we have thus remarked, the evangelist Matthew himself declares expressly in what immediately follows ( Matthew 12:15-21) that he saw in the conduct of the Lord at that time the fulfilment of the words of our Prophet. That He healed the sick, and yet forbad to have it published, that He would only serve (comp. Matthew 20:28), and sought not His honor and His advantage ( John 8:50; John 5:30), that seems to Matthew to correspond to the picture of the Servant of the Lord that Isaiah drew in our chapter.

The expression נָשָׂא meaning נשׁא קיל occurs Numbers 14:1; Job 21:12, and in Isa. in part first ( Isaiah 3:7) and in part second ( Isaiah 42:2, 41). The omission being idiomatic, it need not be supplied from the following קוֹלוֹ. The statement that the Servant of Jehovah shall not cry nor lift up His voice is understood in various ways. It is said, on the contrary, Isaiah 42:13-14, that He will cry. This belongs to the contrasts with which the chapter abounds. The meaning of Isaiah 42:2-3, Isaiah, therefore, not that the Servant of the Lord will in general not cry, and will break nothing whatever. Rather, as His anointing with the Spirit implies, He will only not roar and rage as do the powers of this world, nor do violence to the weak and wretched. On the contrary He will show Himself gentle and kind to the poor and weak, which is precisely the Old Testament meaning of צַדִּיק. What is already bruised (“nicked,” קָנֶה רָצוּץ comp. Isaiah 36:6; Isaiah 58:6; Deuteronomy 28:33) He will not finish by breaking, and the feebly glimmering wick He will not extinguish. פִשְׁתָּה is the wick made from linen (פִּשְׁתֶּה which however does not occur, comp. Gesen.Thes. p1136). The double statement of Isaiah 42:3 contains a λιτότης. For it is inconceivable that Hebrews, whose being is light and life, intends only the non-extinguishment of the wick or the non-fracture of the reed. Rather He intends both as the beginning of new life.

The clause לאמת יוציא מ׳ stands alone as a positive statement in antithesis to the foregoing negatives. The LXX. translates: είς ἀλ́θειαν ἐξοίσει κρίσιν. Matthew 12:20 reads:ἕως ἄν ἐκβάλη̣ εἰς νῖκος τήν κρίσιν . The latter translation seems to come from a confusion with Habakkuk 1:4. For there it reads:ולֹא יֵצֵא לָנֶצַח משׁפָט. But in Aramaic נְצַח means vicit;נֶצְחָנָא,נִצְחָנָא is victoria;נַצִיחָאvictor.לֶֽאֱמֶת which occurs no where else in the Old Testament, can only mean secundam veritatem (Vulg.inלְמִשְכָּט,לְצֶרֶק32:1. One might suppose that the expression meant the same as משׁפט יוציא לגוים Isaiah 42:1. But it is to be noticed that Isaiah 42:1 it is the nations to whom the Servant of Jehovah brings forth right, whereas Isaiah 42:3 it is to those compared to the bruised reed and glimmering wick. Moreover in Isaiah 42:1 the addition לאמת is wanting. Both considerations justify our assuming a modification of the sense in Isaiah 42:3. To the heathen, who do not know Him, God will reveal the standard of right, by the use of which they will find the right. But for the poor and wretched He will procure a right decree corresponding to the truth, He will help them to their rights; something that elsewhere also is made to be an essential part of the glory of the Messianic kingdom ( Isaiah 1:21; Isaiah 1:26 sq.; Isaiah 9:6). But הוֹצִיא expresses here the proceeding, issuing of the decree of a Judges, in which sense יָצָא occurs twice in Habakkuk 1:4. Per ducere, to carry into effect, to conduct to the end, cannot be the meaning of הוציא.

By Isaiah 42:4, the Prophet would obviate a misunderstanding, by preparing a transition that makes prominent a contrastive side of the Servant of Jehovah, which appears even in the second, but still more decidedly in the third strophe. For instance, it might perhaps be inferred from Isaiah 42:2-3 that the Servant of Jehovah were only meek and lowly, that thus He were made only of weak stuff, that His being would lack the firmness, the manly force, the ability to be angry and punish. To obviate this false inference the Prophet says, though the Servant of Jehovah will be such as described Isaiah 42:2-3, still He will Himself be no bruised reed, [ירוץ from רָצַץ see Text. and Gram]. Spite of his gentleness, He shall be firm as a rock ( Isaiah 17:10; Isaiah 26:4), on which all attacks of His enemies shall dash to pieces, and He shall carry out His counsel victoriously. The conjunction צר signifies here, as often ( Genesis 28:15; Psalm 112:8), continuance until the object is attained; the meaning of this form of expression being always that a ceasing will not take place till the end in view is attained (against Gesen.Thes. p992, and Hengstenberg,Authentie d. Daniel, p67). What follows does not enter into the consideration. The standard of right that the Servant of Jehovah will establish on the earth is the same mentioned Isaiah 42:1. It is afterwards called תּוֹרָה “law,” which is only nearer definition added on. That Isaiah, it is only made plainer that this standard of right will be a religious one, a counterpart of the law of Sinai. As Delitzsch remarks, the Servant of Jehovah will add to the Sinaitic the Zionitic Torah (comp. Isaiah 2:3). The position of ייחלו at the end of the clause indicates that we are not to consider it as dependent on עַד. But the Prophet would say: when the standard of right is established by the Servant of Jehovah as Torah, as religious law, then will the isles (meaning here the remotest regions of the heathen world) turn themselves to it in hope and trust (comp. Isaiah 51:4-5).

Footnotes:

FN#1 - reveal right.

FN#2 - Or, dimly burning.

FN#3 - Heb. quench it,

FN#4 - according to truth.

FN#5 - Heb. broken.

2. THE SERVANT OF GOD AS THE BEARER OF A NEW CONVENANT. THE THIRD APPLICATION OF PROPHECY AS PROOF OF DIVINITY

Isaiah 42:5-9

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:

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;

7 To open the blind eyes,

To bring out the prisoners from the prison,

And them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

8 [FN6]I am the Lord: that is my name:

And my glory will I not give to another,

Neither my praise to graven images.

9 Behold, the former things are come to pass,

And new things do I declare:

Before they spring forth I tell you of them.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

See List for the recurrence of the words: Isaiah 42:5. בורא—כה אמר. Isaiah 42:6. נצר—אחזק. Isaiah 42:7. כֶּלֶא.

Isaiah 42:5. On נטה שׁמים comp. Isaiah 40:22. The form נוטיהםwith י is to be explained, not indeed according to Isaiah 54:5, but after the analogy of those forms of לח׳ in which the original י reappears. On רָקַע comp. on Isaiah 40:19; Isaiah 44:24. As the word properly means to hammer out broad (comp. צאצאיה,( רָקִיעַ(τὰ ἔκγονα, כֹּל אֲשֶר תּוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ Genesis 1:12 sqq, a word that occurs only in Job and Isa.; comp. Isaiah 22:24) taken strictly does not suit it. But in רקצ there lies ideally the notion of spreading out and צאצאיה depends on that.

Isaiah 42:6. אַחְזֵק, the abbreviated jussive form, here exceptionally in the first person [See Green’s Gr. § 972 a]. In regard to its being joined with בּ see Isaiah 4:1; Isaiah 45:1; Isaiah 51:18; Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 56:4; Isaiah 56:6; Isaiah 64:6; comp. Isaiah 41:13).——That צָם and נגֹיִם have not the article, accords with the prophetic style, and is not to be pressed.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. This strophe consists of a preface, principal part, and conclusion. In respect to Isaiah 42:1-4 there is a climax. The introduction Isaiah 42:5 is a considerable leap. There the Prophet designates the Lord as the one that has created heaven and the earth, and all that is on it. This affords the basis for what follows. The same God that could do this, and He only, is able also to deliver them. Hebrews, too, can say of the redeemer His Servant: I have called Thee, will uphold, protect and make Thee the bearer of a new covenant, and a light to all nations ( Isaiah 42:6). This new covenant and enlightening the nations shall consist in opening blind eyes, and delivering prisoners from prison ( Isaiah 42:7), which is to be understood in both a spiritual and a physical sense. The strophe concluds ( Isaiah 42:8-9) by the emphatic statement that Hebrews, Jehovah announces this beforehand for the sake of His own honor, and especially to show ( Isaiah 42:8) the difference between Himself and idols. As He has fulfilled earlier prophecies, so now He gives new ones in order, by their eventual fulfilment, to prove His divinity.

2. Thus saith God——therein.

Isaiah 42:5. It seems to me that הָאֵל put first Isaiah, like Genesis 46:3, meant to designate emphatically the true God, who alone has power, in contrast with the powerless false gods ( Isaiah 42:8). האל placed before יהוה as here, does not occur elsewhere. Comp. Isaiah 5:16. בורא see List: except in Isaiah only twice: Amos 4:13; Ecclesiastes 12:1. בורא שׁמים, Isaiah 45:18 ( Isaiah 65:17). צַם, which has הלכים בה for parallel, signifies accordingly the people of the earth generally. The order of thought here makes it evident that the chief features of the Mosaic account of the creation float before the Prophet’s eye: creation of the heavens; spreading out the earth, the imparting of נְשָׁמָה (comp. Genesis 2:7) and רוּחַ ( Genesis 7:22) to men.

3. I the Lord——prison house.

Isaiah 42:6-7. Having reminded his hearers who God is as in Isaiah 42:5, the Prophet lets the Lord announce Himself as the one who will give the world a redeemer in His Servant. He that can create, etc., can also do this. One is reminded of those passages where Jesus Christ proves His power to forgive sins by pointing to His miracles: Matthew 9:2 sqq.; Mark 2:3 sqq.; Luke 5:18 sqq.). That the one called is the Servant of God, is evident from the context. קראתיך recalls Isaiah 41:2; Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 41:9. But the Lord has called His Servant בצדק. If the Old Testament צדקה “righteousness” has for its antithesis חָמָם or עשֶׁקּ, i.e., violence, unrighteousness, then a righteous Prayer of Manasseh, צַדִּיק, is one who in every respect wills only what is right and proper. He will neither do violence to the poor and weak, nor regard the person of the mighty and violent man; He will neither condemn the penitent and contrite, nor let the impenitent go unpunished. Thus His treatment of the penitent sinner is as just as it is of the impenitent. He could destroy the former if He would; for He has the power. Who would call Him to account? But is then grace, that dispenses pardon on the ground of a subjective or objective performance, not also just? That Isaiah, does not God in a higher sense exercise righteousness, when He forgives the contrite who implores grace on the ground of the atoning-sacrifice that even God Himself has made for him? Thus it is not at all partial favor, measuring with unequal measure, when God calls His Servant into the world as redeemer. Rather, in Him grace displays itself as combined in one with righteousness. Unrighteous grace there is not in God any way. Thus Isaiah can say of Cyrus that God has raised him up in righteousness ( Isaiah 45:13). By “I have called thee the appearance of the Servant is signified as something that has already taken place. The verbs that follow signify as future what the Lord purposes to do with His Servant. He will take Him by the hand and (which expresses the object of so doing) protect Him, and make Him for a covenant of the people, and for a light of the Gentiles.

When Hermann Schultz (Alttestamentl. Theol. II. p75) says, that there is here not the remotest mention of a future personality, I should like to know how he may reconcile that with Isaiah 42:9. One sees from the Futures אתנך,אצרך,אחזק and still more plainly from Isaiah 42:9, that the Prophet points away to a remote future that has not even begun to bud. And the “covenant of the people,” too, must be a new one, and not one in existence already. For were it an old, already existing one, how did the Lord come to say that He would make His Servant for this covenant? In fact it must be a very new covenant, vastly superior to the old one, since, according to Isaiah 42:7, it can “open blind eyes, and bring out the prisoners from prison,” which the old covenant could not do. Neither the total of Israel, nor the ideal Israel, nor the order of prophets can set in operation what is promised in Isaiah 42:7; or if this were something that they could do, then it does not belong here. we justly expect something great here, a work of salvation, an act of redemption, in fact something greater than is promised Isaiah 42:2-3, for the strophe Isaiah 42:5-9 forms the ladder to what follows, which presents to view the highest good. Either Isaiah does not speak of the Messiah at all, (which indeed Knobel maintains with entire consistency), or he speaks of Him already here. The opinion that Isaiah here does not yet understand the Messiah under “the Servant of Jehovah,” that the Servant of Jehovah appears as an individual only later, say from Isaiah 52:14 on, comes from the failure to observe the character of40–42which prepare the foundation for what follows. In Joshua 3:14 even the ark of the covenant is called הארון הברית. When even such an inanimate vessel is called the covenant, why may that not be said of the Lord Himself, who, in fact, is the sole living and personal bond that unites divinity and humanity. As Christ calls Himself the way ( John 14:6), or the resurrection ( John 11:25), Song of Solomon, too, He may be called the covenant. Thus, e.g., מַם“tributum” ( Joshua 16:10, etc.), signifies Him that tributum affert, שָׁלוֹם ( Psalm 120:7) Him that pacem agit. Thus ברית צם is He that mediates the covenant to the people. But this is no other than the Messiah. I do not comprehend how V. Fr. Oehler (D. Knecht Jehova’s, I. p50) can say: “Israel in the Messianic time needs no more an Abraham, a Moses as mediator of a covenant of the people with Jehovah, but the people as regenerated, as conscious of its destiny, as perfect servant of Jehovah is itself the covenant.” Israel has, indeed, no need of an Abraham or Moses; but Christ it does need, and without Him, too, it could never be “the perfect servant of Jehovah.”

By צָם is meant Israel, as appears both from the added ברית and from the antithetical גוים (comp. Isaiah 49:6). Salvation comes from the Jews ( John 4:22). The sunrise from on high ( Luke 1:78) appears in Israel and proceeds thence to the heathen. For the recurrence of the phraseology here see Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 49:8, comp. Isaiah 51:4. The covenant, that the Servant of Jehovah is to mediate is called Isaiah 54:10 a covenant of peace, and Isaiah 55:3; Isaiah 61:8, an everlasting covenant (comp. Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 61:4; Isaiah 61:6).

In Isaiah 42:7, the Prophet specifies the contents of the general notions “covenant of the people,” “light of the Gentiles.” If פקח ע׳ ע׳ (comp. Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 29:18) connects primarily with אור גוים, and appears attracted by this thought, so הוציא ממסגר אסיר relates primarily to עָם, thus to Israel. Why may one not think first of Israel in reference to the deliverance from imprisonment, seeing the entire second part of Isaiah is primarily a book of consolation for Israel in captivity? But to prevent our thinking that the opening of eyes refers only to the heathen, and the leading out of prison only to Israel, the Prophet adds a third clause, that combines both factors, and thus intimates that also those sitting in darkness shall be freed, and those languishing in prison be enlightened. From this appears how unjust to the text a rough, outward construction like Knobel’s is. For did the heathen, then, share Israel’s captivity in Babylon? Certainly not. But there is a blindness and a captivity under which both Israel and the heathen labored (comp. Acts 26:17-18). At the same time it must not be denied, that also acts of physical deliverance are to be regarded as degrees of the fulfilment of our prophecy, e.g., from the chains of prison and darkness, like the deliverance from the Babylonish Exile, and those acts of healing that the personal Servant of Jehovah did during His life on earth (comp. Isaiah 9:1; Matthew 4:14-16, with ibid. Isaiah 42:23). Light and freedom, therefore light and right (for freedom is his right whom the prison holds not or holds no longer) will the Servant of Jehovah bring to the world. Should not one think here of the Urim and Thummim of the High-Priest ( Exodus 28:30), and consequently construe this offering of light and right as the priestly activity of the Servant of Jehovah? The expression dwellers in darkness occurs only here and Psalm 107:10. Comp. Isaiah 9:1.

4. I am the Lord——of them.

Isaiah 42:8-9.The verses6, 7 form the pith of the strophe; which is prefaced ( Isaiah 42:5) by words that let us infer its significance, and is concluded by just such words ( Isaiah 42:8-9). The words אנֹי יהוה, that directly follow the pith of the strophe, seem to correspond to the words of similar meaning with which ( Isaiah 42:6) it immediately begins. They are therefore in apposition with אני יהוה at the beginning of Isaiah 42:6, and to be translated “I Jehovah” (not “I am Jehovah”). Verily it must be something great which the Lord twice announces with the words, “I, Jehovah, do it.” It must be something that only Jehovah can do; thus something far beyond the power of a man or of any other creature. Jehovah, however, can do it because He is called יהוה, i, e., according to Exodus 3:14, the eternally existent, the absolutely existent (in הוא שׁמי, appears even a reminiscence of זה שׁמי, Exodus 3:15), who just thereby is distinguished from all other beings, that either have no real existence at all, as idols, or that have not the source of their existence in themselves. Did the Lord not do what He has promised, Isaiah 42:6-7, His name would lie. He would not then be what He calls Himself; He were a liar and deceiver, like those that unjustly assume the name “god.” Thus He pledges the honor of His name for the fulfilment of what is promised, Isaiah 42:6-7. But the Lord must do this not only to be consistent with Himself; He does it also in order that His honor may not unlawfully be taken by another. Did He promise and not fulfil, He would not be distinguished from idols. Indeed, in a certain sense, He would be less than idols. For not to be able to prophesy at all ( Isaiah 41:21) were better than to prophesy and not fulfil. In a quite similar sense Isaiah 48:11. But, moreover the Lord may not risk the coming to pass of the great things spoken of, Isaiah 42:6-7, without His having previously foretold them, lest Israel say as in Isaiah 48:5, “mine idol hath done them,” etc. Thus, as in Isaiah 41:4; Isaiah 41:22 sqq, by prophesying them, He vindicates the future things as His plan and His work, and proves His divinity. But as He does not now first begin to prophesy, but had done it already in the remote past, so He can now point, not only to the future fulfilment of what is now prophesied, but also to the actual fulfilment of what was formerly prophesied. Thus present fulfilment is security for that which is to be. Accordingly, by הראשׁנות, Isaiah 42:9, I cannot, with Delitzsch and others, understand the immediate future, but only that foretold in the past. If the ראשׁנות were “the appearance of Cyrus and the movements of the nations connected therewith,” then instead of בָּאוּ it must read בָּאוֹת (comp. Isaiah 41:22). How can fulfilments still future, any way, be the pledge of others also future? I understand, therefore, by the former things the totality of prophecies made from the days of the Patriarchs to the catastrophe of Assyria, and in part fulfilled, and by new things (comp. Isaiah 48:6) all that the Prophet has to say concerning the future salvation that begins with Cyrus. These are the things which the Prophet, with the actual or the ideal present in view, designates as not recognizable even in their buds (comp. Isaiah 43:19).

Footnotes:

FN#6 - I the Lord.

THE SERVANT OF GOD AS A STRONG GOD

Isaiah 42:10-17

10 Sing unto the Lord a new Song of Solomon,

And his praise from the end of the earth,

Ye that go down [FN7] to the sea, and [FN8] all that is therein;

The isles, and the inhabitants thereof

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.

12 Let them give glory unto the Lord,

And declare his praise in the islands.

13 The Lord shall go forth as a mighty Prayer of Manasseh,

He shall stir up [FN9]jealousy like a man of war:

He shall cry, yea, roar;

He shall [FN10]prevail against his enemies.

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 [FN11]destroy and [FN12]devour at once.

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 [FN13]pools.

16 And I will bring [FN14]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 [FN15]crooked things [FN16]straight.

These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

17 They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed,

That trust in graven images,

That say to molten images,

Ye are our gods.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

See List for the recurrence of the words: Isaiah 42:10. מלאו –מקצה הארץ. Isaiah 42:11. צָוַח. Isaiah 42:13. צָרַח, Hiph.—גָבַר Hithp. Isaiah 42:14. —חָרַשׁ—חָשָׁה—מעולם שָׁאַף—אפעה—אָפַפ. Isaiah 42:15. Almost all the words. Ver16. מישׁור—מעקשׁים.

Isaiah 42:10. מקצה הארע depends on שִׁירוּ. But that Hebrew usage is to be noted which puts the terminus a quo where we put the terminus in quo. Comp. Isaiah 17:13; Genesis 1:7. Thus our way of expressing it would be “at the end of the earth.” But when even the furthest off praise the Lord, certainly those lying between are not excluded.——The words יורדי הים ומלאו strongly remind one of Psalm 96:11; Psalm 98:7, where it reads יִרְעַם הַיָם וּמְלֹאוֹ, which is the more remarkable seeing these Psalm belong to those that begin with שׁירו לי׳ שׁיר חדשׁ Lowth conjectures for this reason that we ought instead of יורדי to read here יִרְעַם (יָרֹן,יָרִיעַ or the like). But ירעם would not suit the following איים וישׁביהם.

Isaiah 42:12. The expression שִים כְּבוֹד, beside the present, occurs only Joshua 7:19; comp. Psalm 66:2.

Isaiah 42:14. הָשָׁה (compּ הָסָה) is more “to be quiet”, while חָרַשׁ agreeably to the fundamental meaning incidere, insculpere, means primarily “to be deaf and dumb” (comp. κωφός from κόπτω, obtusus, the dull, dumb), hence “to be silent.” The imperfects אחרישּׁ and אתאפק signify, (by reason of החשׁיתי that represents the silence generally as an accomplished fact), the single acts of keeping still that constantly followed each other in the past.——אֶפְּעֶה, ἄπ . λεγ. The root פָּעָה occurs only in the serpent-name אֶפְעֶה ( Isaiah 30:6; Isaiah 59:5; Job 20:16), in the substantive אֶפַע ( Isaiah 41:24 which see) and in the name of the midwife פּוּעָה ( Exodus 1:15). Both that serpent name and the kindred roots פָּאָה,פוּחַ involve the meaning “to breathe, blow.” In Chald, however, פָּעָה means directly “to cry,” and is especially used of the bleating of sheep. Thence come the substantives פְּעִיָהvociferatio,” and פָּעַיְתָא mulier clamosa. We will likely come nearest the truth if we take פָּעָה to mean the loud groaning, joined with lamentation, of the travailing woman, which, too, offers an admirable explanation of the name פּוּעָה for a midwife. There Isaiah, moreover, an assonance in אפעה and אתאפק, that continues in אשׁם and אשׁאף To derive אשּׁם from שָׁמֵם vastatem esse, because in Ezekiel 36:3 שַׁמּוֹת וְשָׁאֹף are found conjoined, is forbidden both by grammar and the context. It is rather derived from נָשַׁם, an unused root, indeed, but one that occurs in the substantive נְשָׁמַה.

Isaiah 42:17. With יבשׁו, instead of the inf. absol, we have a noun of the same stem as in Isaiah 22:17-18; Isaiah 14:19; Isaiah 14:22; Isaiah 29:14; Isaiah 33:4; Isaiah 46:10.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. Chapter 42 is evidently constructed as an ascending and descending climax. The present strophe forms the point of it; the two preceding ones lead up to it; the two that follow lead down from it. Why should Isaiah 42:10-17 not refer to the Servant of Jehovah, when both before and after (comp. Isaiah 42:19) He is the chief subject? True, He is not mentioned in the third strophe. But is not He that leads the blind the same as He that opens the eyes of the blind and liberates the prisoners ( Isaiah 42:7)? And is there not a manifest contrast presented between Him that does not cry ( Isaiah 42:2) and Him that cries and roars ( Isaiah 42:13)? And does not the negative, Isaiah 42:4, form the transition to the positive statement that the Servant of Jehovah will be also the opposite of one that does not cry, and that does not let His voice be heard in the streets? It must indeed be an exceeding glorious fact, for whose praise the whole earth ( Isaiah 42:12) is summoned. Yea, that is the wonder, that the one described in Isaiah 42:2-3 as quiet and meek, is at the same time Jehovah Himself, who goes forth as an angry warrior against His enemies ( Isaiah 42:13). He has long kept silence: did He not even suffer the whole heathen world to go its own way ( Acts 14:16). At last, however, He rouses Himself. Like a travailing woman, amid mighty sorrows He brings about a new order of things ( Isaiah 42:14). He makes heathendom wither; but the heathen that have preserved a susceptibility for the truth He leads, like blind men restored to sight, in new ways of salvation hitherto unknown ( Isaiah 42:15-16). He will certainly accomplish this to the confusion of those that continue to trust in false gods ( Isaiah 42:17).

2. Sing unto–—islands.

Isaiah 42:10-12. A new song is becoming for the new matter; like new skin bottles for new wine ( Matthew 9:17). The expression a new song occurs, Psalm 33:3; Psalm 40:4; Psalm 96:1; Psalm 98:1; Psalm 144:9; Psalm 149:1 : “sing unto the Lord a new song” occurs, Psalm 33:3; Psalm 96:1; Psalm 98:1. It is to be noted, too, that the more ancient of these Pss. ( Psalm 33, 96, 98) have all of them, I may say, an ecumenical character, in that all treat of the mutual relation of Jehovah and of all creation, i.e., of the power of Jehovah over all that is created, and of the duty of the latter to worship and praise the Lord. Psalm 40:4; Psalm 144:9 express only the author’s purpose to sing a new song to the Lord. But Psalm 149, certainly a late song and an imitation, has a very particularistic character. One may say, therefore, that here, like in chapter12, the author strikes up the psalm tone. He summons those to praise who are on the sea, and those that are in the sea, as immediately after he directs the same summons to the isles and their inhabitants, to the wilderness and its towns. The יורדי הים are not those that go down to the sea, but those that sail down the sea, as appears plainly from Psalm 107:23, the only other place where the expression occurs. For the sea, optically regarded, may be conceived as an elevation (comp. Luke 5:4); thus, as really seen, the sea presents itself as flowing. Flowing water, however, cannot mount up. It seems to me far fetched, when Delitzsch supposes that Ezion-Geber is the Prophet’s point of view in calling out. I rather think that by those sailing down the sea and isles, which he conceives as between his point of view and “the ends of the earth,” the Prophet would signify the west. Behind him lie the desert and the villages of the Arabs (בְּנֵי קֶדֶם) on the east; on the left he has the rock city (סלע), and on the right mountains, i.e., to the south the mountain of Edom, to the north Lebanon. Regarding יִשְׂאוּ see on Isaiah 42:2. It is well known that in the desert, too, there were and are cities (fortified places). Comp, e.g.. Joshua 15:61-62; Joshua 20:8. The תצרים(comp. Leviticus 25:31) are opposed on the one hand to cities, on the other to the mere tent encampments; like Hadaríje (stationary Arabs) are distinguished from Wabarîje (tent Arabs) (Delitzsch). On Kedar comp. at Isaiah 21:16. There were hardly dwellers in the rooks numerous enough, in an appellative sense, to make it worth while naming them here, where only grand genera are mentioned. But the Prophet might very well, in order to signify the South, think of the great rock city of Edom (Petra, comp. on Isaiah 16:1). But I do not think he intends by “mountains” only the mountains near Petra; for then the North would be entirely omitted. Hence I think we must understand the great mountains to the north of Palestine. As object of the crying out, Isaiah 42:12 again expressly mentions the honor and praise of Jehovah. The islands are named as representing the remotest regions.

3. The Lord shall go——forsake them.

Isaiah 42:13-16. As in the preceding strophe we distinguished a kernel, and a preface and conclusion, forming, so to speak, a shell for it, so we must do here. From the extent of the preface and its elevated tone, we observe that the kernel must be something highly significant. Isaiah 42:13-16 cease to speak of the Servant of Jehovah. But He reappears, Isaiah 42:22. Instead appears Jehovah Himself, Isaiah 42:13. And things are affirmed of Jehovah that partly agree, partly form a strange contrast with what before and after is imputed to the Servant of Jehovah. When it is said, Isaiah 42:7, that the Servant of Jehovah will open the eyes of the blind and free the prisoner, is that essentially different from what we read, Isaiah 42:16, of leading the blind, etc.? Do these blind remain blind? What, then, has the Lord to do with blind persons! Or are the ways that He leads them not ways of freedom and salvation? But if, Isaiah 42:2-3, the Servant of Jehovah appears as one that does not cry, but is meek and gentle, how comes it that, Isaiah 42:13-14, Jehovah is portrayed as an impetuous warrior, that cries and groans? And this appears in the climax-strophe of our chapter to which the preceding strophes lead up, and from which those following lead down I cannot believe that the third of the five strophes of our chapter can treat of a foreign subject. It must be the same, though the form makes it difficult to detect the unity. And in fact it was difficult for the Prophet himself, a very riddle, to comprehend the unity of Jehovah and His Servant, just as it must assuredly have been also an inexplicable mystery that the Son of David should at the same time be Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace ( Isaiah 9:5). I do not say, therefore, that Isaiah here produces a doctrine in an unhistorical way, that must remain hidden from himself. But I do say that the Spirit of God intimates here a relation of Jehovah to His Servant, which, of course, only presents itself to us in entire clearness in the New Testament history; but which, now we stand in this clear light, we can and ought thereby to detect in its Old Testament envelope. Oehler begins the article Messias in Herz,R-Enc., with these words: “According to the view of Old Testament prophecy, the completion of salvation is brought about by the personal coming of Jehovah in His glory. He Himself appears amid the rejoicing of the whole creation for the restoration of His kingdom on earth. Psalm 96:10 sqq.; Psalm 98:7 sqq,” etc. It is remarkable that Oehler, in support of his thought, cites precisely those Pss. which, as above shown, have such resemblance to our passage. It is admitted by expositors that these Pss. have generally a near relation to Isaiah 40-66 (comp. Moll on Psalm 96.sqq.). May we not have in Psalm 96, 98 the oldest commentary on our passage, a testimony that already in the time after the Exile our passage was referred to the Messiah, therefore that the unity of the Messiah and Jehovah was recognized?

The Prophet, then, here describes the Servant of Jehovah from another side. Hebrews, the quiet, and meek One, is at the same time El-Gibbor, and hence it may be said of Him: Jehovah goes forth like a mighty man.—But as being El-Gibbor he is no more called Servant of Jehovah; for the El Gibbor has laid aside the form of a servant. Further on this see below under Doctrinal and Ethical, p461, § 9. An אישׁ מלחמות is a man that carries on many wars (comp. 2 Samuel 8:10; 1 Chronicles 18:10). The expression He shall stir up jealousy (sc. in Himself) recalls passages like Psalm 78:38; Daniel 11:25; Haggai 1:14; Isaiah 59:17. The intensive אף, comp. Isaiah 43:7. The enemies against whom Jehovah goes forth are manifestly the same that as conquered, yet at the same time blessed, are to offer praise and thanks to the Lord ( Isaiah 42:10-12). The entire heathen world is meant. This is confirmed by Isaiah 42:17 that speaks of the confusion of those that persist in serving idols in spite of their knowledge of God.

It is quite preposterous, with Hahn, to assume a dividing line between Isaiah 42:13-14. Isaiah 42:14 sqq. first gives us light concerning what the Lord intends according to Isaiah 42:13. They contain the words that announce the object of the expedition of Him that goes forth. From everlasting the Lord had kept silence—Did the text treat only of the deliverance of Israel from exile, מעולם might then be referred to the beginning of it, and then the Exile would be represented as an immeasurable period during which the Lord had kept silence (comp. on Isaiah 62:11). But the reference is not merely to Israel’s deliverance, but to a deliverance in which all humanity, the heathen included, and even all nature, shall participate, as appears most plainly from the rejoicing of the same Isaiah 42:10-12. For the same reason the “for ever” cannot begin with the elevation of Israel into a nation, i.e., the departure out of Egypt. If the Lord has in mind the heathen world, then it must be in reference to them that He has so long kept silence. How long was this? Without doubt since in Abraham He separated a tiny little part of mankind to be a special sphere for a preparatory Revelation, while the great mass that was left He “suffered to walk in their own ways,” Acts 14:16. He had not, indeed, omitted now and then to remind the heathen of Himself, and the double exile of His servant, the people Israel, especially served this purpose. But, in general, the heathen world is that part of mankind that was actually to experience what must become of human nature when God surrenders it, uninfluenced by Revelation, wholly to the free unfolding of its natural powers. In reference to these, the Lord may well say: I kept silence from the remotest time. In contrast with this silence of milleniums will the Lord,i.e., the Servant of Jehovah identical with Jehovah, enter finally upon His conquest of the heathen world. By this He effects something quite new. He calls into being a new covenant with mankind. Hence He represents this new, hitherto unheard of deed as a birth that is accomplished only by means of great effort and acute pains. And may not, in fact, the spread of Christianity among the heathen, with all the pains, dangers and conflicts that attended it, be compared with the painful breaking forth of a fruit from the womb of a mother? This is one of the passages where to Jehovah is imputed action proper to women, and particularly a mother (comp. Isaiah 46:3 sq.; Isaiah 49:15).

If the heathen are intended here, then by I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up the rivers and pools, Isaiah 42:15, are meant heathen heights and heathen waters. Mountain heights are often enough representatives of the civilization of which they are the locality, and great waters representative of the populations that dwell about them. Therefore we must construe Isaiah 42:15-16 figuratively, just as we did Isaiah 42:13-14, and understand by mountains and rivers the heathen world. If by mountains and waters be understood the land of exile in a physical sense, would not that conflict with what was said Isaiah 41:18 sq.? Would not the people of God suffer by this drying up? But what is meant by the Servant of Jehovah drying up the heathen world? I think that by that the Lord means a spiritual drying up. At the time the Servant of Jehovah goes forth into the heathen world, the latter will have survived itself. It will have become inwardly powerless and sapless. It will exist like a withered tree, like the bed of a stream having water only in its deepest places, whereas the shallower parts appear like islands—like a dried up lake. Only call to mind utterances like Pilate’s “what is truth” ( John 18:38) for proof of this cheerless, dried up state of heathendom. I will make the rivers islands reminds of Psalm 107:33.

Isaiah 42:16. I cannot understand Israel to be intended by the blind here; for they are not such in either a physical or a spiritual sense. Nor would blindness alone be mentioned to describe a general condition of misery (comp. Isaiah 41:17; Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 29:18). I think, therefore, that those heathen are meant, whom the Lord leads out of the shrivelled up heathendom into the light which His Servant brings into the world.These are opposed to the ones ( Isaiah 42:17) that persist in idolatry. It Isaiah, therefore, spiritual and not physical blindness that is meant (comp. Isaiah 43:8). The same Servant of Jehovah whose office and calling are to open eyes in general, will do this for the heathen too, leading them ways they knew not: for the knowledge of the true God and of His salvation had been shut up from them. But those that are so led cease to be blind. Hence the Prophet continues: I will make darkness light before them,i.e., the previous darkness shall give place to light, consequently they will have gained powers of sight. To this corresponds what follows: and (I will make) crooked things (ways) (comp. Isaiah 59:8) to a flat field. When this is done, they will no more go astray in crooked roads, but will walk straight and right ways. What I may call the imposing introduction Isaiah 42:10-12 having prepared us for something great, the last clause of Isaiah 42:16 in turn testifies to the greatness and marvel of the things that have been held in prospect from Isaiah 42:13 on. Lest it be thought more has been promised than can be performed, the Lord gives an express assurance of the contrary. Notice the definite article. Not things in general: no, it is the things. It is His whole, great work in nuce, His entire plan of salvation that is drawn in its fundamental features from Isaiah 42:13 on. Both the Perfects and the positive affirmation followed by the negative (ולא עזבתים) are meant to confirm the certainty of the eventual fulfilment.

Isaiah 42:17. But this salvation will not be the portion of all blind heathen. Therefore it reads, too, Isaiah 42:16, עִוְרִים, not חָעִוְרִים. Many will remain blind. Of these it is said: They shall be turned back, etc.

Footnotes:

FN#7 - on.

FN#8 - Heb. the fulness thereof.

FN#9 - his zeal.

FN#10 - Or, behave himself mightily.

FN#11 - blind ones.

FN#12 - Heb. swallow, or, sup up.

FN#13 - lakes.

FN#14 - blind ones.

FN#15 - crooked ways to a flat field.

FN#16 - Heb. into straightness.

4. THE SERVANT OF THE LORD HIMSELF DEAF AND BLIND

Isaiah 42:18-21

18 Hear, ye deaf;

And look, ye blind, that ye may see.

19 Who is blind, but my servant?

Or deaf, as my messenger that I [FN17]sent?

Who is blind as he that Isaiah 18 perfect,

And blind as the Lord’s servant?

20 [FN19]Seeing many things, but thou observest not;

[FN20]Opening the ears, but he heareth not.

21 The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake;

He will magnify the law, and make[FN21] it honorable.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. Is then the Servant of Jehovah ever reproached? And if Israel is deaf and blind toward the word of the Lord, can it as deaf and blind be called the servant of the Lord? Indeed, according to his very being, the latter cannot shut himself up against the spirit and word of Jehovah. It was said, Isaiah 42:3, that the Servant of Jehovah will reveal the right and law of God by a discipline of lowliness and gentleness; according to Isaiah 42:7 He will open blind eyes and deliver from the fetters of sin and error. And shall, Isaiah 42:18 sqq, by the same expression “Servant of Jehovah,” be designated also Israel, that is even deaf and blind with respect to God’s revelation? Moreover how utterly disconnected an earnest complaint against the nation must appear here, after the glorious promise of Isaiah 42:13-17! Delitzsch supposes that the blind to whom, Isaiah 42:16, freedom is promised, provoked not only the compassion but also the displeasure of the Lord, because it was their own fault that they did not see. To them is the call to rid themselves of the ban that rests on them. But the blind of Isaiah 42:16 do not stay blind. According to16b the darkness becomes light before them. How does that accord with Isaiah 42:18-20?

In my opinion the two strophes Isaiah 42:18-25 present the reverse side or descending climax of the chapter, of which the other, or light side of the Servant of Jehovah, was given in Isaiah 42:1-17. It is a new contrast that we observe here. He that opens the eyes of others is Himself blind. The crying mighty- Prayer of Manasseh, Isaiah 42:13, corresponds to the quiet Servant of Jehovah, Isaiah 42:2; so here the Servant that is Himself blind, Isaiah 42:19, corresponds to Him that opens eyes for others, Isaiah 42:7. The strophes correspond crosswise; the first to the third, the second to the fourth, and each time it is contrasts that correspond. How entirely one misconceives the unity of this chapter who fails to recognize in the Servant of Jehovah Isaiah 42:18 the same that was already observed in Isaiah 42:1-9! The deaf and blind of the People of Israel, or rather the People Israel as consisting of deaf and blind, i.e., as one generally sick and wretched, is summoned ( Isaiah 42:18) to give heed for its salvation to a double wonder that happens with the Servant of Jehovah. He is Himself so blind and deaf that no one equals Him in blindness and deafness ( Isaiah 42:19)! He that had healed many blind eyes, Himself observes nothing ( Isaiah 42:20)! This is the first wonder. But in this one, apparently Himself so sick, the Lord has pleasure for His righteousness’ sake. By virtue of the same, He will give the world a new, glorious law ( Isaiah 42:21); and this is the second wonder.

2. Hear ye deaf—honorable.

Isaiah 42:18-21. The deaf and blind here are, any way, such as hear and see if they will. Otherwise how can they be summoned to see and hear. And when ( Isaiah 42:20) they are summoned to notice that He Himself does not hear, and yet opens ears, etc., and yet is an object of divine approval, and gives the world a new and more glorious law, then only those can be meant who should be witnesses of these marvellous contrasts in the life of the personal Servant of Jehovah. To these is intimated that in these contrasts is contained the mystery of their deliverance. But they are deaf and blind who will not see ( Isaiah 6:9-10; Matthew 13:13 sqq.). It is the hardened nation Israel which therefore fares as we read afterwards Isaiah 42:22.—לִרְאוֹת, Isaiah 42:18, is to be referred to both the foregoing verbs (zeugmatically) in the general sense of observing. As I find chapter42. draws the fundamental traits of the personal Servant of Jehovah in general, so here, as appears to me, those traits are especially sketched that are further developed in chapter53. We remarked at Isaiah 42:16 a difference between blindness mentioned alone, and mentioned with other deficiencies. In the latter case the deficiencies named may be regarded as representing distress and wretchedness generally. Such is the case here. It is not meant that the Servant of Jehovah will be only blind and deaf, just as at Isaiah 42:7 it was not meant that He would only heal the blind and free the prisoner. It is natural that those deficiencies should be named as attaching to the Servant of Jehovah, from which He is said to free others. Accordingly, to correspond with Isaiah 42:7, He should be described as blind and languishing in prison. But the latter trait the Prophet does not observe in the image of the future presented to him. Indeed, he describes the Servant of Jehovah, as blind and deaf: thus as a Prayer of Manasseh, as one on whom all heavy sorrows come down like a tempest, as a picture of grief, and beside as one who runs blindly into his destruction (comp. Matthew 16:22) and in the greatest danger remains dumb as a deaf man. He sees these defects attaching to the Servant of Jehovah in a degree unequalled by any other man. In a word: the Prophet beholds the Servant of Jehovah, not only as the one despised and forsaken of men, as the man of sorrows and acquainted with sickness ( Isaiah 53:3), but at the same time as the physician that can heal others and not Himself ( Luke 4:23; Luke 23:39; Matthew 27:40; Matthew 27:42). And the reason for this strange appearance? Isaiah indicates it Isaiah 53:4 sqq. Seb. Schmidt signifies it with the words: “coecus est atque surdus imputative.” Only here is the Servant of Jehovah called messenger, “angel of the Lord.” It calls to mind on the one hand “I will send my angel” Genesis 24:7; Genesis 24:40, and on the other Malachi 3:1. מְשֻׁלָּם, which occurs only here as participle (as nom. propr. it occurs often: 2 Kings 22:3; 2 Kings 21:19, etc.), must be construed according to the analogy of הָשְׁלַם ( Job 5:23), as in pacem, amicitiam receptus.

The words of Isaiah 42:20 are difficult. Those that understand the People of Israel to be meant by the Servant of Jehovah must take פָּקֹחַ אָזְנַיִם in the sense of “to have open ears.” Thus Umbreit translates: “with open ears He hears not;” Delitzsch: “opening the ears still He does not hear;” V. Fr. Œhler: “open ears has Hebrews, and He hears not.” But, in the first place, פָּקַח, which only here is used of ears, being everywhere else used of eyes, never means “to have eyes.” But it must mean “to have” if taken in antithesis to ולא ישׁמע: for he that hears not, though he has ears, does not use his ears. But one who does not use the ears he has can never be called a פָֹּקֵחַ אזנים. פָּקַח elsewhere always means to open the eyes of others or one’s own eyes for the purpose of actual and intensive use. Thus Genesis 3:5 : “And your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall know good and evil;” comp. Genesis 3:7; 2 Kings 6:17; 2 Kings 6:20“Lord open His eyes that he may see.” Comp. 2 Kings 4:35; 2 Kings 19:16 ( Isaiah 37:17); Isaiah 35:5; Jeremiah 32:19; Zechariah 12:4; Daniel 9:18; Psalm 146:8; “Lord open (make see) the blind;” Proverbs 20:13; Job 14:3; Job 27:19. Finally, the adjective פִּקֵּחַ is one that opens his eyes well, a seeing person: Exodus 4:11; Exodus 23:8. From this it appears that פָּקֹחַ אזנים and ולא ישׁמע would involve a contradiction if by “ears” be understood his own ears who opens them. For to open his own ears and yet not hear is impossible. In the second place, it may not at all be accidental that פָּקַחonly in our passage is used of opening ears. Already in Isaiah 42:7 we had it in reference to opening eyes; and it is affirmed of the Servant of Jehovah. May not the Prophet, by using פָּקֹחַ and not פָּתֹחַ in Isaiah 42:20, have intended, perhaps, to give a hint that the subject of פקח אזנים is identical with that of פקח עיעים? Moreover the feminine רַבּוֹת Isaiah 42:20 points back to עִוְרוֹת Isaiah 42:7, and strengthens the conjecture that the Prophet would warn against referring Isaiah 42:20 to any other person than the subject of Isaiah 42:7. If we have correctly understood the second clause of Isaiah 42:20, we have gained the foundation for the understanding of the first. K’thibh is to be read רָאִיתָ, the K’ri רָאוֹת. The latter is inf. absol. Kal (like שָׁתוֹת22:13; עָרוֹת, Habakkuk 3:13). Both of these forms only make sense when one takes פקח א׳=to have ears.” For then the form ראית must also some way signify “to have eyes” or “to see,” and both can be said of the servant of Jehovah only in the national sense. But if פקח א׳ means “to open ears,” if it stands parallel with Isaiah 42:7, and if the personal Servant of Jehovah is the subject of both declarations, then also ראית cannot describe the seeing as the action of the Servant of Jehovah. It must refer to the seeing of others which the Servant of Jehovah brings about. But then one must doubt the correctness of both the text and the margin. Either ראות is to be pointed רֹאוֹת (comp. Isaiah 30:20; Jeremiah 20:4; Jeremiah 42:2, etc.), or a ה has been dropped from before it. The latter could easily happen because of the foregoing verse closing with ה. The reading then would be הַרְאוֹת (infin. Hiph. “to make see,” Deuteronomy 3:24; Deuteronomy 1:33; Exodus 9:16, etc.). [The Author’s labored exposition seems to originate and find its sole justification in the contradiction developed above: “to open one’s ears and not to hear is impossible;” and then, if this be the sense, that one must understand the Servant of Jehovah in a national and not a personal sense, and thus surrender the identity of subject in the chapter. But the logical contradiction cannot be greater than that presented in Isaiah 6:9, and in (the exaggeration even of) the same language as quoted by our Lord in Matthew 13:13. While adhering to the Author’s general view of the whole chapter, and of this “strophe” in particular, we may adhere also to the rendering of Isaiah 42:20 in the Eng. Version, with which Umbreit and Delitzsch (see above) agree. Why may not the contrasts of this chapter, that the Author points out (see e.g., under Isaiah 42:15-16), be intensified into paradoxes and contradictions? If the Spirit of God in the Prophet has uttered the riddle of the identity of the Servant of Jehovah, and Jehovah Himself, the solution of which can only be seen in the clear light of the New Testament (see under Isaiah 42:12), why not also the riddle of Isaiah 42:20? Why (like the New Testament realizations to which the Author refers under Isaiah 42:19; Isaiah 42:22) is not the verification of the paradoxes of Isaiah 42:20 to be found in, say, Acts 1:7, and Mark 13:32. “Of that day and that hour knoweth no man—neither the Song of Solomon, but the Father,” and in the mystery of Christ going intelligently to meet death ( Mark 8:31) and yet on the eye of its accomplishment praying to escape it like one that knows not ( Luke 22:42; Hebrews 5:7)?—Tr.].

Like one blind the Servant of Jehovah runs to His destruction, who yet causes so many others to see. Although warned ( Matthew 16:22), still He gives no heed to what may benefit or hurt His own person. שָׁמַר, has here, as often, the meaning “observavit, attendit” (comp. Hosea 4:10; 1 Samuel 26:15; 2 Samuel 18:12, etc., according to the fundamental meaning of the word, “rectis et intentis occulis intuitus Esther, “to gaze, stare at,” comp. שָׂמַר,סָמַר, riguit, horruit.שָׁמִיר “thorn,” see Gesen.Thes. p1442). The change of person is not unfrequent in Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 14:30; Isaiah 33:2; Isaiah 33:6; Isaiah 41:1.

Isaiah 42:22. Thus the Servant of Jehovah seems to pay the penalty of His folly by a fate that makes Him appear as one despised of men and esteemed as of no value. But different is His relation to Jehovah, who has pleasure in Him for His righteousness’ sake. The pronominal object in the third person is omitted, as often happens. The prophetic discourse is brief and obscure. But it finds its echo, and at the same time its significance is cleared up in those passages of the New Testament, wherein the Father expressly points to the Son as the object of His approval (comp. Isaiah 42:1 and Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:23; 2 Peter 1:17). And why should not Jehovah take pleasure in Him whom no one could charge with sin, yet who, notwithstanding, surrendered His holy soul to death, in order to fulfil the Father’s decree of salvation ? When it is further said: He will magnify the law and make it honourable, it is self-evident that not that Torah is meant whose end the Servant of Jehovah will be, but that which shall proceed from Him ( Isaiah 42:4; Isaiah 51:4; Isaiah 2:3). We will therefore take the Servant of Jehovah as the subject of “magnify” and “make honorable,” though the sense were not essentially different if Jehovah were regarded as subject. Great and glorious will the new, Zionitic Torah be; as much greater and more glorious than the old Sinaitic, as its Mediator, means and object will be infinitely greater ( Galatians 3).

For the recurrence of words used in this strophe see List.

Footnotes:

FN#17 - send.

FN#18 - endowed with salvation (Heilbegabte).

FN#19 - Many eyes see.

FN#20 - Ears he opens.

FN#21 - Or, him.

5. THE SERVANT OF JEHOVAH A STONE OF STUMBLING TO UNBELIEVING ISRAEL

Isaiah 42:22-25

22 But this is a people robbed and spoiled;

[FN22]They [FN23]are all of them snared in holes,

And they are hid in prison houses:

They are for a prey, and none delivereth;

For a [FN24]spoil, and none saith, Restore.

23 Who among you will give ear to this?

Who will hearken and hear [FN25]for [FN26]the time to come?

24 Who gave Jacob for a spoil,

And Israel to the robbers?

Did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned?

[FN27]For they would not walk in his ways,

Neither [FN28]were they obedient unto his law.

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.

TEXTUAL AND GRAMMATICAL

See List for the recurrence of the language generally; but particularly:

Isaiah 42:22. הָיָה לָבַז—חָבָא—שָׁסוּי—בּזוּז ( Numbers 14:3; Numbers 14:31, frequent in Jeremiah 2:14; Jeremiah 15:13; Jeremiah 17:3, etc.).—מְשִׁסָּה (comp. 2 Kings 21:14).—הָשַׁב, Pausal form occurs only here. Isaiah 42:24. מְשׁוּסָּה (K’ri מְשִׁסָּה)—זוּ.

Isa 42:25.לָהַט—עְזוּז Piel—בָּעַד.

Isaiah 42:22. That הוּא refers to the people appears from עם immediately following; it is singular by attraction.—That בחורים cannot mean young persons appears from the context. חוּרִים corresponding to בתי כלאים. must rather mean the “holes” (comp. חֻר Isaiah 11:8.—הָפֵחַ is any way inf. absol. that, in the animated discourse, stands for the verb fin. That כֻּלָּם must be acc. obj. (Delitzsch) is not correct. For the inf. absol. not unfrequently has a subject word along with it (comp. Proverbs 12:7; Job 11:5; Job 40:2; Ezekiel 1:14). As there occurs no verb הֵפַח, we must take הָפִיחַ as Hiph. of פּוּחַ, meaning “to blow, to pant” (comp. Habakkuk 2:3; Proverbs 29:8, etc.). [Fuerst, Lex. פָחַח Hiph. הֵפֵֽחַ inf. constr. הָפֵֽחַ “to fetter.”—Tr.].—בית כלא see Isaiah 42:7.

Isaiah 42:24. זוּ for אֲשׁר (see Ewald, § 331, b). The Masorets hesitate to construe the word as relative; probably because of its seldom occurrence in Isaiah. Hence they put the Athnach under יהוה, by which זוּ is separated from what precedes, and receives a demonstrative force.—לֹא אָבוּ הָלוֹךְ is indeed not the usual construction (yet comp. Isaiah 30:9); still not too unusual (comp. Isaiah 7:15; Jeremiah 9:4; Micah 6:8, etc.). The object is emphatic prominence for the notion “going” which as infin. absol. appears more nearly a substantive.

Isaiah 42:25. The singular suffix in עָלָיו relates to a notion singular, ideally present, i.e., the total of Israel, not previously named.—As the fundamental meaning of חֵמָה is “aestus, heat, glow,” it may easily be taken for prepositive apposition. The assonance with מלחמה seems to have had some influence. To take it as apposition with אַפּוֹ receives confirmation from the image being prolonged in the second clause of the verse, where not only the feminine forms תלהטהו and תבער refer back to חֵמָה, but also this glow is conceived of as an actual kindling fire (not as a mere image of intense anger). Accordingly I cannot take מלחמה as the subject of ועזוז מלחמה .תלהטהו I regard as an intervening thought that, points the, meaning of the figurative expression חמה אפו But חֵמָה still remains the chief notion, and as such the subject of the two positive clauses of the second half of the verse.—בָּעַר, “igne consumsit, combussit,” Isaiah, as a rule, construed with בְּ ( Job 1:16; Numbers 11:3; Psalm 106:18 where, too, both the verbs בער and להט are used, etc.; comp. Isaiah 30:33; Isaiah 43:2).

Footnotes:

FN#22 - Or, In snaring all the young men of them.

FN#23 - They all pant in the holes.

FN#24 - Heb. a treading.

FN#25 - Heb. for the after time.

FN#26 - far away.

FN#27 - And.

FN#28 - did hearken.

EXEGETICAL AND CRITICAL

1. In this fifth and last strophe the Prophet descends from the heights of most glorious hope of salvation attained in the third, down to the depths of a most mournful perspective of judgment, which, however, he applies as an awakening cry to his unbelieving countrymen. The future reveals none of the effects that ought to have followed a believing regard for what was announced Isaiah 42:18 sqq. On the contrary, the Prophet sees a robbed people languishing in hard captivity ( Isaiah 42:22). From this he knows that Israel has not accepted the Servant of Jehovah. He uses the mournful prospect to attempt to move Israel, by a wholesome alarm, to ward off that mournful future by a sincere repentance. With “among you” ( Isaiah 42:23) he addresses the Israel of the ideal present, i.e., of the Exile. Who among you, he asks, gave heed to this impending visitation of the remote future? But there is little prospect of a cheering reply. For Jehovah has already given over Judah and Israel as a prey to their enemies for their sins ( Isaiah 42:24). Yet even this they have not taken to heart ( Isaiah 42:25).

1. But this—Restore.

Isaiah 42:22. But this people is the antithesis of ver; 18. There the deaf and blind were summoned to give heed to what was to be said of the Servant of Jehovah. But—and now we learn why Israel was called deaf and blind ( Isaiah 42:18), Israel heeds not, and so the Prophet sees a robbed, etc., people. Thus Isaiah 42:22 shows the condition that will ensue as punishment for Israel’s not knowing the Servant of Jehovah and the day of its visitation ( Luke 19:41-44).

3. Who among you—not to heart.

Isaiah 42:23-25. But the Prophet knows that the impending judgment may be averted by timely repentance. It is true there is little hope of such repentance; but he attempts it. He asks: who among you—time to come? With בָּכֶם the Prophet, in contrast with those standing far off, to which, e.g., Isaiah 5:18 relates, must have in mind Israel of the Exile.. He puts it to these that they should hear, heed and hearken far off. What they ought to hear is primarily his word. But they ought to heed it, by lending an ear to the remote times past (לאחור see on Isaiah 41:23) that as it were, speak to them by the mouth of the Prophet. Because the old time is conceived of as lying before the Prophet (comp. יְמֵי קֶדֶם23:7; Isaiah 37:26; Isaiah 51:9, etc.), so the future is what lies backward. Unhappily, there is little prospect of such heeding the future, because Israel does not even heed the chastisement of the immediate present. Isaiah 42:24-25, therefore, give the reply to the question Isaiah 42:23, which itself begins with a question: who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel,etc. The name Jacob here evidently signifies the tribe of Judah (comp. Isaiah 9:7 and List). This appears from the two members of the answer. For the first member: he against whom we have sinned, plainly relates to that part of all Israel to which the Prophet himself belongs—hence the first person—while the second member: and they would not walk in his ways, by the third person, signifies the part to which the Prophet did not belong. In Isaiah 42:24-25 is proof that the Prophet has in mind Israel of the Exile as his ideal audience. For, first, chapters40–66 are in general addressed to Israel dwelling in Exile, and second, it is seen from Isaiah 42:24 a and25 that Judah and Israel are equally represented as visited by God’s destructive judgments. Isaiah 42:25. Therefore he hath poured upon him,etc., describes the consequences of disobedience. (See Text. and Gram.) Elsewhere, too, occurs the image of pouring out wrath as a fiery heat ( Ezekiel 14:19; Ezekiel 20:33-34; Ezekiel 22:22; Lamentations 2:4, etc.). Israel is represented as a dwelling or city, since it is said it shall be set on fire. But it has not hitherto learned (יָדַע Perf.) the meaning of these divine judgments, and even now does not lay them to heart (יָשִׂים Imperf.). Hence we were obliged to say, that the Prophet could only expect an unfavorable reply to his question, Isaiah 42:23.

DOCTRINAL AND ETHICAL

1. There is neither in heaven nor on earth any thing as rich in wondrous contrasts as the manifestation of the Son of God in the flesh. For there all the divine attributes are united to their corresponding antipodes of creature lowliness in the form of the Servant of Jehovah. The antitheses of power and weakness, wisdom and folly, glory and lowliness, love and anger, surround Him as a radiant crown. This Servant of Jehovah, in whom unite all contrasts, meets us in this chapter. The chosen of the Lord, in whom He is well pleased, on whom the Spirit of the Lord rests so that He may reveal to the heathen the divine law, is still at the same time a Servant, and that, too, a Servant in the completest and most proper sense of the word. He does not rule, He does not suffer Himself to he ministered unto, but He ministers, and with the utmost devotion He serves all. Mild and kind, meek and lowly He appears, though He has the might and power to do the loftiest deeds. He appears weak and yet almighty, He appears poor and yet rich above all. He has not where to lay His head, yet all eyes wait upon Him. He is full of love, yet woe unto those on whom His anger falls ( Isaiah 42:13). He is wise above all, and yet, from the standpoint of worldly Wisdom of Solomon, how foolish He appears where care for His own human person is concerned.

2. On Isaiah 42:2, “Clamavit non clamore contentionis, sed caritatis et devotionis. Clamavit dictis et factis, voce et vita, clamavit praedicando, clamavit orando, clamavit Lazarum resuscitando, tandem clamavit moriendo et adhuc quotidie in coelis existens clamat ad nos.” Augustin.

3. On Isaiah 42:2-3. As the Servant of God, so ought the servants of God to do. It is a chief part of pastoral wisdom not to make a fleshly noise, not to break the bruised reed, and quench the glimmering wick by merciless judging, but rather to heal what has been wounded, and kindle up the faint spark. He that does Song of Solomon, will cooperate in producing the blessing that the Servant of the Lord ( Isaiah 42:6-7) was to bring into the world. “Christianus in conscientia debet esse medicus, foris autem in externis moribus asinus, qui ferat onera fratrum.” “Necesse est in ecclesia sancta esse infirmos et tales, quorum factis offendamur, sicut in corpore humano non ossa tantum, sed etiam mollis et infirma caro est. Quare ecclesia Christi constat ex portantibus et portatis. Et vita nostra est compositum quoddam ex fortitudine et infirmitate.” Luther.

4. On Isaiah 42:4. Gentleness and meekness are not weakness; they are not inconsistent with energy and firmness, indeed with the greatest earnestness and righteous anger. Just for this reason the Servant of the Lord is fitted to be the Saviour of the world. He can be a comfort to the weak, a terror to the wicked, and all things to all. And such is the character of the new covenant established by Him. Comp. Luke 1:52-53; Luke 2:34.—Therefore the islands hope in His law. The Christian church with its missions responds not only to the command of its Lord, but also to a longing of the heathen world, even though it be something more or less unconscious.

5. On Isaiah 42:6. “Without Christ God can make no covenant with us. Therefore when God made a covenant with our first parents, the seed of the woman was the security of it. When God made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob the same seed was the ground of it. In fine: Christ is the chief reason and corner-stone both of the Old and of the New Testament covenant. It is important that, when we find ourselves covenant breakers with God, we take refuge again in this covenant.” Cramer.

6. On Isaiah 42:7. “As long as we are out of Christ we are blind and darkness ( Ephesians 5:8; Luke 1:79; Matthew 6:23). For to be carnally minded is enmity against God ( Romans 8:7). And the natural man understands not the things of the Spirit of God ( 1 Corinthians 2:14). And we cannot, as of ourselves, form one good thought of ourselves ( 2 Corinthians 3:5).” Cramer.

7. On Isaiah 42:8. On the words, “I Jehovah, that is My name,” Rabbi Salomon remarks as follows: “Illud nomen expositum est in significatione dominii, estque virtus ejus apud me ad ostendendum, me esse dominum.” (לְהַרְאוֹת שֶׁאָדוֹן אָנִי הוּא מְפֹרָשׁ בִּלְשׁוֹן אַדְנוּת וְכחוֹ עָלַי.) Thus he finds in these words a reference to the שֵׁם חַמְפֹרָשׁ and gives its meaning by אֲדֹנָי, which is always read by the Jews. On the various other meanings given of the Shem-ham’phorash see Buxtorf, Lex chald., p 2432 sqq, and Oehler in Herz, R-Enc., vi, p455. “יהוה is the essential name of the eternal and self-existent God, hence can be given to no one that is not God” (Cramer). Hence many understand the expression Shem-ham, phorash in the sense that יהוה is the nomen Dei separatum, i.e., the incommunicable name of God, that gives instruction only concerning the being of God, and. hence cannot be ascribed to others (see Oehler, l. c.). But since the Messiah is Himself God, and there is no God but Jehovah; Hebrews, too, may be named with the name Jehovah, Deuteronomy 33:29; Psalm 118:27; Jeremiah 23:6. See Starke in loc.

8. On Isaiah 42:9. “We adduce other proof of Christian doctrine than do the philosophers who take their grounds from reason. We take our grounds out of God’s very mouth, who cannot lie, from His science and omnipotence. Therefore this word is so precious ( 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 Timothy 4:9).”—Cramer. [“The sense Isaiah, that God predicted future events before there was any thing by which it might be inferred that such occurrences would take place. It was not done by mere sagacity, as men like Burke and Canning may sometimes predict future events with great probability by marking certain political indications or developments. God did this when there were no such indications, and when it must have been done by mere omniscience. In this respect all His predictions differ from the conjectures of Prayer of Manasseh, and from all the reasonings which are founded on mere sagacity.”—Barnes.]

9. On Isaiah 42:10-17. In this section the Servant of Jehovah is no more named. Only Jehovah Himself is spoken of. But the actions, for whose sake heaven and earth shall proclaim the praise of the Lord, belong no more to what the Servant of Jehovah may do in His servant form, i.e., in His humiliation, but to what He does as one raised up to glory. In the condition of exaltation, however, He has laid aside the form of a servant: thus He is no more called Servant of Jehovah. When they crucified and buried Him, the humble Servant of Jehovah, suffering without a murmur, seemed to be quite done for. But on the day of Pentecost He broke loose again only the more mightily. Then the Jews who had not learned to know Him thus, and the heathen that had not learned to know Him at all, were panic stricken. Then He began His victorious career of conquering (inwardly) the Jews and the heathen. Since that time both are inwardly dried up. As long as the gospel was not there, they had a relative right to live and to a corresponding life power. But after the revelation of absolute truth in Christ they have lost these. Their continued existence is only a vegetation, and if in these days they exhibit a certain revirescence, still it is only like the flaring up of the vital spark in a dying person, which would never happen either did Christianity only let its light shine purer and stronger. But continually the Lord leads the blind of all nations in the path of light. But those that, spite of all, cling to idols, must ever come to more shame.

10. On Isaiah 42:18-21. “Physician heal thyself,” is called to the great Physician, who healed all sicknesses of men, yea, made the very dead alive ( Luke 4:23). For this reason He was mocked on the cross, because He, who helped others, could not help Himself ( Matthew 27:42). The Prophet observes this trait in the life of the Servant of the Lord. He sees in it a symptom of the deepest suffering. But, not withstanding, He recognizes that at the same time God’s approval rests on this man of contradictions, and that He is to become the origin of a new, glorious law. Does not the Prophet see here the unrighteous Righteous one, the wicked Saint, the perishing Saviour, the blind eye comfort, the dead Prince of life? Yea, he sees the Incomprehensible, who on the cross redeemed the world from hell, who, condemned as the most guilty laden, still was that righteousness for the world that alone avails with God.

11. On Isaiah 42:22-25. As experienced salvation is the pledge of future salvation, yea, of final ἀπολύτρωσις, Song of Solomon, too, chastisements already endured are the pledges of future ones, and, under circumstances, of such as are still greater, yea, of utter destruction. Israel ought to have learned by its first exile, and by all that preceded and followed it, that God can bring a yet sorer visitation on His people, yea, destroy their outward existence. Had it regarded this and rightly received the Servant of the Lord accordingly, it might have escaped the second, final, and worst exile. But they were never willing to believe that the Lord could so jumble up, overthrow, and destroy His people, His city, and His house, that a restoration of its outward existence is impossible.

HOMILETICAL HINTS

1. On Isaiah 42:1-4. “The testimony of our heavenly Father Himself to His Son. He tells us: 1) Who He is and why He comes2) How He appears and discharges His office3) What He brings to pass, and by what means.” Advent sermon, E. Taube, in “Gottes Brünnlein hat Wassers die Fülle. Hamburg, 1872.

On Isaiah 52:2-3. “Christ is the gracious hen that woos us under her wings ( Matthew 23:37); the good Shepherd that binds up the neglected ( Ezekiel 34:16); that can have compassion ( Hebrews 4:15); and who does not cast out him who comes to Him ( John 6:37), as He has proved by examples, as Mary Magdalene ( Luke 7:37); the woman taken in adultery ( John 8:11); the father of the lunatic ( Mark 9:24); Peter ( Luke 22:61); the thief on the cross ( Luke 23:43); Thomas ( John 20:27), etc.”—Cramer.

2. On Isaiah 42:1-4, “What a glorious Saviour God has given the world in His Son. For He comes to us: 1) As the anointed of the Lord; 2) as the meek and humble Friend of sinners; 3) as the strong and faithful perfecter of His work.” Sermon in Advent, W. Leipoldt (Festpredigten), Leipzig, 1845.

3. On Isaiah 42:5-9. The New Covenant. 1) The Founder of the covenant (God the Lord who has made the earth Isaiah 42:5, will also redeem it; hence He has foretold the new covenant Isaiah 42:9, and brought it into being Isaiah 42:6). 2) The Mediator of the covenant (Christ, the Son of God and Son of Prayer of Manasseh, is the natural, personal link between God and men; He it is who represents men before God as a Lamb, bearing their sin, and God toward men as the One that brings them God’s grace and the new, divine vital force). 3) The Object of the covenant (a. to bring light and freedom to men Isaiah 42:7 b. to preserve the honor of the Lord as the only God as opposed to all idols. Isaiah 42:8).

4. [On Isaiah 42:10-12. The new song of the New Testament. The newness: whereas holy songs were before very much confined to the Temple, now they are to be sung all the world over. They were sung by one people and one tongue; they shall be sung by many of many tongues. They were sung by a pastoral people living in valleys among the hills; they are to be sung in all climes, by men of all callings and of every degree of culture. The substance of the song must be new to suit so many. The form in which that substance is reduced to song under these varied influences must be endlessly new. After M. Henry.]

5.On Isaiah 42:10-17. A missionary sermon. The revelation of salvation among the heathen. 1) Its intentional delay till the point when the time was fulfilled ( Isaiah 42:14 a). 2) Its appearance at the right time: a. as powerful and accompanied with mighty effect ( Isaiah 42:13); b. as a painful birth ( Isaiah 42:14 b. a: resistance on the part of the old, and consequent laborious breaking forth of the new). 3) Its operation: a. on the old heathen existence itself: it dries up ( Isaiah 42:14, b; β; Isaiah 42:15); b. on unbelieving men: they are brought to shame ( Isaiah 42:17); c. on believing men: they are led to light and freedom ( Isaiah 42:16); d. for God: the redeemed world sings Him a new song (it praises Him no more merely as Creator, but also as Redeemer, and New Creator, Isaiah 42:10-12).

6. On Isaiah 42:13. “That ever kindly smiling God, that covers all suppurating sores, and that every where and every way shows favor and spares men, whom one so often hears preached from the pulpit, is not the God of the Bible. It is another of which the Old Testament writes: ‘Thou art not a God that hast pleasure in the wicked; the wicked shall not abide in Thy presence:’ and, ‘The Lord thy God is a consuming fire and a jealous God:’ and, ‘The Lord shall go forth as a mighty Prayer of Manasseh, He shall stir up jealousy like a man of war.’ ” Tholuck.

7. On Isaiah 42:18 sqq. When Peter said to the Lord: “Lord, pity Thyself; this shall not be unto Thee” ( Matthew 16:22), the Lord was deaf and gave Peter an answer that quenched in him and others all disposition to warn Him again. And when He entered into Jerusalem and cleansed the Temple, and unsparingly scourged the high priests and scribes, was He not blind then? Did He not see what hate He was thereby conjuring up against Himself and what His fate would be? Thus the Lord was deaf and blind, but He was so to His own greatest honor. It is very different, however, with the blindness and deafness of those that would not see in Him the Lord of glory, and would not hear His word. The Lord indeed became a sacrifice to their hatred. But He Isaiah, notwithstanding, the One of whom Psalm 110. says: “Sit thou on My right hand till I make thine enemies thy footstool.” And from Him proceeds the covenant that is as much better than the old one as the blood of Christ speaks better than Abel’s. They, however, have become a robbed and plundered people. They are scattered among all people, their Temple, their priesthood is destroyed, their entire old covenant is shivered like an earthen vessel. And the same fate will happen to all who do not take warning from God’s judgment on stiffnecked and obdurate Israel. As the first exile ought to have been a warning to the readers for whom this chapter of Isaiah was destined, to prevent them from falling into a second and worse, so for us Christians, the first act of the world’s judgment, the judgment on the house of God, should be a warning not to misuse and neglect the time till the second chief act of judgment, the time of the church among the heathen.

 


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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition available at BibleSupport.com. Public Domain.

Bibliography Information
Lange, Johann Peter. "Commentary on Isaiah 42:4". "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures: Critical, Doctrinal, and Homiletical". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/lcc/isaiah-42.html. 1857-84.

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