Isa 63:1-19. Messiah Coming
as the Avenger, in Answer to His People's Prayers.
Messiah, approaching Jerusalem after having avenged
His people on His and their enemies, is represented under imagery taken
from the destruction of "Edom," the type of the last and most bitter
foes of God and His people (see Isa 34:5, &c.).
1. Who—the question of the prophet in
dyed—scarlet with blood (Isa 63:2, 3;
Bozrah—(See on Isa
travelling—rather, stately; literally,
"throwing back the head" [Gesenius].
speak in righteousness—answer of
Messiah. I, who have in faithfulness given a promise of deliverance, am
now about to fulfil it. Rather, speak of righteousness (Isa 45:19;
being meant as the result of His "righteousness" [Maurer].
save—The same Messiah that destroys
the unbeliever saves the believer.
2. The prophet asks why His garments are
"dyed" and "red."
winefat—rather, the "wine-press,"
wherein the grapes were trodden with the feet; the juice would stain
the garment of him who trod them (Re 14:19, 20; 19:15). The image was appropriate, as the
country round Bozrah abounded in grapes. This final blow inflicted by
Messiah and His armies (Re 19:13-15) shall decide His claim to the kingdoms
usurped by Satan, and by the "beast," to whom Satan delegates his
power. It will be a day of judgment to the hostile Gentiles, as His
first coming was a day of judgment to the unbelieving Jews.
3. Reply of Messiah. For the image, see La 1:15. He "treads the wine-press" here
not as a sufferer, but as an inflicter of vengeance.
will tread … shall be … will
stain—rather preterites, "I trod … trampled … was
sprinkled … I stained."
blood—literally, "spirited juice" of
the grape, pressed out by treading [Gesenius].
4. is—rather, "was." This assigns the
reason why He has thus destroyed the foe (Zep 3:8).
my redeemed—My people to be
day … year—here, as in Isa 34:8;
61:2, the time of "vengeance"
is described as a "day"; that of grace and of "recompense" to the
"redeemed," as a "year."
5. The same words as in Isa 59:16, except that there it is His
"righteousness," here it is His "fury," which is said to have
6. Rather, preterites, "I trod down
… made them drunk." The same image occurs Isa 51:17, 21-23; Ps 75:8; Jer 25:26, 27.
will bring down … strength to …
earth—rather, "I spilled their life-blood (the
same Hebrew words as in Isa 63:3) on the earth" [Lowth and Septuagint].
7. Israel's penitential confession and prayer
for restoration (Ps 102:17, 20), extending from Isa 63:7 to
loving-kindnesses … praises …
mercies … loving-kindnesses—The plurals and the
repetitions imply that language is inadequate to express the full
extent of God's goodness.
us—the dispersed Jews at the time just
preceding their final restoration.
house of Israel—of all ages; God was
good not merely to the Jews now dispersed, but to Israel in every age
of its history.
8. he—Jehovah "said," that is, thought,
in choosing them as His covenant-people; so "said" (Ps 95:10). Not that God was ignorant that the
Jews would not keep faith with Him; but God is here said, according to
human modes of thought to say within Himself what He
might naturally have expected, as the result of His goodness to
the Jews; thus the enormity of their unnatural perversity is the
more vividly set forth.
lie—prove false to Me (compare Ps 44:17).
so—in virtue of His having
chosen them, He became their Saviour. So the "therefore"
31:33). His eternal
choice is the ground of His actually saving men (Eph 1:3, 4).
9. he was afflicted—English
Version reads the Hebrew as the Keri (Margin),
does, "There was affliction to Him." But the Chetib
(text) reads, "There was no affliction" (the change in
Hebrew being only of one letter); that is, "In all their
affliction there was no (utterly overwhelming) affliction" [Gesenius]; or, for "Hardly had an
affliction befallen them, when the angel of His presence saved
them" [Maurer]; or, as best suits the
parallelism, "In all their straits there was no straitness in His
goodness to them" [Houbigant], (Jud 10:16; Mic 2:7; 2Co 6:12).
angel of his presence—literally, "of
His face," that is, who stands before Him continually; Messiah (Ex 14:19; 23:20, 21; Pr 8:30), language applicable to no
creature (Ex 32:34; 33:2, 14; Nu 20:16;
bare them—(Isa 46:3, 4; 40:11; Ex 19:4; De 32:11, 12).
10. vexed—grieved (Ps 78:40; 95:10; Ac 7:51; Eph 4:30; Heb 3:10,
he fought—rather, "He it was that
fought," namely, the angel of His presence [Horsley], (La 2:5).
their perversity, He forgot not His covenant of old;
therefore He did not wholly forsake them (Le 26:40-42, 44, 45; Ps 106:45, 46); the Jews make this their plea with
God, that He should not now forsake them.
saying—God is represented, in human
language, mentally speaking of Himself and His former acts of love to
Israel, as His ground for pitying them notwithstanding their
shepherd—Moses; or if the
Hebrew be read plural, "shepherds," Moses, Aaron, and the
other leaders (so Ps 77:20).
put … Spirit … within
him—Hebrew, "in the inward parts of him," that is,
Moses; or it refers to the flock, "in the midst of his people" (Nu 11:17, 25; Ne 9:20; Hag 2:5).
12. The right hand of Moses was but the
instrument; the arm of God was the real mover (Ex 15:6;
dividing the water—(Ne 9:11; Ps
13. deep—literally, "the tossing and
wilderness—rather, the "open plain"
[Horsley], wherein there is no obstacle
to cause a horse in its course the danger of stumbling.
14. As a beast … rest—image from a
herd led "down" from the hills to a fertile and well-watered "valley"
23:2); so God's Spirit
"caused Israel to rest" in the promised land after their weary
to make … name—(So Isa 63:12;
15. Here begins a fervent appeal to God to
pity Israel now on the ground of His former benefits.
habitation of … holiness—(Isa 57:15; De 26:15; 2Ch 30:27; Ps 33:14;
zeal … strength—evinced formerly
for Thy people.
sounding of … bowels—Thine
emotions of compassion (Isa 16:11; Jer 31:20; 48:36;
16. thou … father—of Israel, by
right not merely of creation, but also of electing adoption (Isa 64:8; De 32:6; 1Ch 29:10).
though Abraham … Israel—It had
been the besetting temptation of the Jews to rest on the mere privilege
of their descent from faithful Abraham and Jacob (Mt 3:9;
Joh 8:39; 4:12); now at last
they renounce this, to trust in God alone as their Father,
notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary. Even though Abraham,
our earthly father, on whom we have prided ourselves, disown us,
Thou wilt not (Isa 49:15; Ps 27:10). Isaac is not mentioned, because not
all his posterity was admitted to the covenant, whereas all
Jacob's was; Abraham is specified because he was the first father of
the Jewish race.
everlasting—an argument why He should
help them, namely, because of His everlasting immutability.
17. made us to err—that is, "suffer" us
to err and to be hardened in our heart. They do not mean to deny their
own blameworthiness, but confess that through their own fault God gave
them over to a reprobate mind (Isa 6:9, 10; Ps
119:10; Ro 1:28).
Return—(Nu 10:36; Ps 90:13).
18. people of … holiness—Israel
dedicated as holy unto God (Isa 62:12; De 7:6).
possessed—namely, the Holy Land, or
Thy "sanctuary," taken from the following clause, which is parallel to
this (compare Isa 64:10, 11; Ps 74:6-8).
thy—an argument why God should help
them; their cause is His cause.
19. thine … never—rather, "We are
Thine from of old; Thou barest not rule over them" [Barnes]. Lowth
translates, "We for long have been as those over whom Thou hast not
ruled, who are not called by Thy name"; "for long" thus stands in
contrast to "but a little while" (Isa 63:18). But the analogy of Isa 63:18 makes it likely that the first clause in
this verse refers to the Jews, and the second to their foes, as
English Version and Barnes
translate it. The Jews' foes are aliens who have unjustly intruded into
the Lord's heritage.