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Print Version Main Index : Commentaries : JFB Commentary : Isaiah Index : Chapter 61

Isaiah, Chapter 61
Chapter 60 | Chapter 62
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Bible Version
Cross Reference
Matthew Henry
JFB Commentary
Wesley's Notes
Geneva Study Bible
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      Messiah announces His twofold commission to bring gospel mercy at His first coming, and judgments on unbelievers and comfort to Zion at His second coming (Isa 61:1-9); the language can be applied to Isaiah, comforting by his prophecies the exiles in Babylon, only in a subordinate sense.

      1. is upon me; because . . . hath anointed me--quoted by Jesus as His credentials in preaching (Lu 4:18-21). The Spirit is upon Me in preaching, because Jehovah hath anointed Me from the womb (Lu 1:35), and at baptism, with the Spirit "without measure," and permanently "abiding" on Me (Isa 11:2 Joh 1:32 3:34 Ps 45:7; with which compare 1Ki 1:39,40 1Ki 19:16 Ex 29:7). "Anointed" as Messiah, Prophet, Priest, and King.
      good tidings--as the word "gospel" means.
      the meek--rather, "the poor," as Lu 4:18 has it; that is, those afflicted with calamity, poor in circumstances and in spirit (Mt 11:5).
      proclaim liberty--(Joh 8:31-36). Language drawn from the deliverance of the Babylonian captives, to describe the deliverance from sin and death (Heb 2:15); also from the "liberty proclaimed" to all bond-servants in the year of jubilee (Isa 61:2 Le 25:10 Jer 34:8,9).
      opening of the prison--The Hebrew rather is, "the most complete opening," namely, of the eyes to them that are bound, that is, deliverance from prison, for captives are as it were blind in the darkness of prison (Isa 14:17 35:5 42:7) [EWALD]. So Lu 4:18 and the Septuagint interpret it; Lu 4:18, under inspiration, adds to this, for the fuller explanation of the single clause in the Hebrew, "to set at liberty them that are bruised"; thus expressing the double "opening" implied; namely, that of the eyes (Joh 9:39), and that of the prison (Ro 6:18 7:24,25 Heb 2:15). His miracles were acted parables.

      2. acceptable year--the year of jubilee on which "liberty was proclaimed to the captives" (Isa 61:1 2Co 6:2).
      day of vengeance--The "acceptable time of grace" is a "year"; the time of "vengeance" but "a day" (so Isa 34:8 63:4 Mal 4:1). Jesus (Lu 4:20,21) "closed the book" before this clause; for the interval from His first to His second coming is "the acceptable year"; the day of vengeance" will not be till He comes again (2Th 1:7-9).
      our God--The saints call Him "our God"; for He cometh to "avenge" them (Re 6:10 19:2).
      all that mourn--The "all" seems to include the spiritual Israelite mourners, as well as the literal, who are in Isa 61:3 called "them that mourn in Zion," and to whom Isa 57:18 refers.

      3. To appoint . . . to give--The double verb, with the one and the same accusative, imparts glowing vehemence to the style.
      beauty for ashes--There is a play on the sound and meaning of the Hebrew words, peer, epher, literally, "ornamental headdress" or tiara (Eze 24:17), worn in times of joy, instead of a headdress of "ashes," cast on the head in mourning (2Sa 13:19).
      oil of joy--Perfumed ointment was poured on the guests at joyous feasts (Ps 23:5 45:7,8 Am 6:6). On occasions of grief its use was laid aside (2Sa 14:2).
      garment of praise--bright-colored garments, indicative of thankfulness, instead of those that indicate despondency, as sackcloth (Joh 16:20).
      trees of righteousness--Hebrew, terebinth trees; symbolical of men strong in righteousness, instead of being, as heretofore, bowed down as a reed with sin and calamity (Isa 1:29,30 Isa 42:3 1Ki 14:15 Ps 1:3 92:12-14 Jer 17:8).
      planting of . . . Lord--(See on Isa 60:21).
      that he might be glorified--(Joh 15:8).

      4. old wastes--Jerusalem and the cities of Judah which long lay in ruins (see on Isa 58:12).

      5. stand--shall wait on you as servants (Isa 14:1,2 60:10).

      6. But ye--as contrasted with the strangers. Ye shall have no need to attend to your flocks and lands: "strangers" will do that for you; your exclusive business will be the service of Jehovah as His "priests" (Ex 19:6, which remains yet to be realized; compare as to the spiritual Israel, Isa 66:21 1Pe 2:5,9 Re 1:6 5:10).
      Ministers--(Eze 44:11).
      eat . . . riches of . . . Gentiles--(Isa 60:5-11).
      in their glory . . . boast yourselves--rather, "in their splendor ye shall be substituted in their stead"; ye shall substitute yourselves [MAURER].

      7. double--Instead of your past share, ye shall have not merely as much, but "double" as much reward (Isa 40:2 Zec 9:12; compare the third clause in this verse).
      confusion--rather, "humiliation," or "contumely."
      rejoice--They shall celebrate with jubilation their portion [MAURER]. Transition from the second to the third person.
      in their land--marking the reference to literal Israel, not to the Church at large.
      everlasting joy--(Isa 35:10).

      8. judgment--justice, which requires that I should restore My people, and give them double in compensation for their sufferings.
      robbery for burnt offering--rather, from a different Hebrew root, the spoil of iniquity [HORSLEY]. So in Job 5:6. Hating, as I do, the rapine, combined with iniquity, perpetrated on My people by their enemies, I will vindicate Israel.
      direct . . . work in truth--rather, "I will give them the reward of their work" (compare Isa 40:10, Margin; Isa 49:4, Margin; Isa 62:11, Margin).

      9. known--honorably; shall be illustrious (Ps 67:2).
      people--rather, "peoples."
      seed . . . blessed--(Isa 65:23).

      10. Zion (Isa 61:3) gives thanks for God's returning favor (compare Lu 1:46,47 Hab 3:18).
      salvation . . . righteousness--inseparably connected together. The "robe" is a loose mantle thrown over the other parts of the dress (Ps 132:9,16 149:4 Re 21:2 19:8).
      decketh himself with ornaments--rather "maketh himself a priestly headdress," that is, a magnificent headdress, such as was worn by the high priest, namely, a miter and a plate, or crown of gold worn in front of it [AQUILA, &c.]; appropriate to the "kingdom of priests," dedicated to the offering of spiritual sacrifices to God continually (Ex 19:6 Re 5:10 20:6).
      jewels--rather, "ornaments" in general [BARNES].

      11. (Isa 45:8,55:10,11 Ps 72:3 85:11).
      bud--the tender shoots.
      praise--(Isa 60:18 62:7).

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