Isaiah 49

1Christ complaineth of the unsuccessfulness of his mission to the Jews: 5he is sent to the Gentiles with gracious promises. 13God's love to his church is perpetual. 18Its restoration and enlargement. 24The certainty of its deliverance out of captivity.

1LISTEN,12O isles, unto me; and hearken, ye people, from far; The LORD hath called 3me from the womb; from the 4bowels of my mother hath he made 5mention of 6my name.

1 This is Christ speaking.

2 See Isa. 41:1.

3 Namely, to be a Mediator and Savior of His people.

4 That is, as soon as My mother conceived Me, and brought Me into the world. See Mat. 1:20, 21; Luke 1:31; 2:21.

5 Namely, to His chosen people in Judah. See Luke 1:70.

6 That is, Me.

2And he hath 7made my mouth like a sharp sword; 8in the shadow of his hand 9hath he hid me, and made me 10a polished 11shaft; in his quiver hath he hid me;

7 Hebr. set, that is, He has commanded Me to preach repentance and forgiveness of sins, and He works also by My sermons that they cut and pierce through the hearts of the hearers. Compare Luke 24:32; Acts 2:37; Heb. 4:12; Rev. 1:16.

8 Or, with the shadow, etc. See Isa. 51:16.

9 That is, He has kept and protected Me against the wiles and subtleties of the scribes and pharisees, that they could not apprehend and kill Me against My will and before My time was come.

10 A pure, smooth arrow pierces easier through anything than a rusty one does.

11Shaft signifies here as much as sword a little before. See Psalm 45:5.

3And said unto me, 12Thou art my servant, O Israel, 13in whom I will be glorified.

12 See Isa. 42:1; 51:16. The meaning of these words is: O Christ, Thou art not only My Servant, but Thou art also the true Israel, Who, striving and wrestling with God and with His mighty anger, shall obtain the victory, whereof Jacob was but a type, when wrestling with the Angel of the Lord, he overcame Him, from whence he got the name of Israel.

13 Or, by whom. Other, Israel is he of whom I will glory by thee. The sense is: I command Thee that Thou, first of all, offer and tender My glorious Word unto the Israelites, or that Thou, first of all, preach and publish My glory among them. See Mat. 10:6; 15:24; Acts 13:46; 28:25, etc.

4Then 14I said, I have laboured 15in vain, I have 16spent my strength for 17nought, and in vain: yet 18surely 19my judgment is with the LORD, and my work with my God.

14 Namely, the Lord Christ, Who complains here about the unbelief and wickedness of the greatest part of the Jews.

15 Namely, with My sermons preached to the obstinate Jews.

16 Hebr. wasted, that is, used.

17 Hebr. as worthless.

18 Or, nevertheless is my judgment with the LORD.

19 That is, My reward, which of right belongs to Me. As if Christ said: Although My labor has not produced such fruits and effects as I indeed desired, yet I do comfort Myself therewith that I have done true and faithful service unto My heavenly father in the office and duty which he has imposed upon Me, and He also knows it well. Compare Mat. 23:37. In the following remuneration. Hebr. properly work or labor, and it is taken for reward or wages. See Jer. 22 on verse 13.

5¶And now, saith the LORD that formed me from the womb to be his servant, to bring 20Jacob again to him, 21Though Israel be not 22gathered, 23yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the LORD, and my God 24shall be my strength.

20 That is, the Jews.

21 Other, and Israel that is not gathered, that I may be glorified in the eyes of the Lord, and that my God may be my strength. Israel that is not gathered, that is, the dispersed or scattered Israel. See Mat. 23:37.

22 Converting themselves unto Me, Mat. 23:37; John 1:11. Other, Israel gathereth not himself. Other, and Israel shall be gathered unto him.

23 The meaning is: Notwithstanding the impenitence of the greatest part of the people of Israel, yet My faithful labor and diligence in the execution of My ministerial office is and shall be accepted and highly esteemed of My heavenly Father.

24 Or, is become my strength, that is, God comforts Me by His Holy Spirit against the unthankfulness of the Jews. Compare Mat. 11:25, 26; John 6:36, 37; 10:26, 27.

6And he said, 25It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant 26to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore 27the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee 28for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be 29my salvation unto the end of the earth.

25 Hebr. It is too light. As if He said: The worthiness of Thy Person, Thou, being the eternal and only Son of God the Father as also the high office whereunto I have called Thee, requires somewhat more and more excellent things than that Thou wouldest only raise up and restore again the people of Israel; I have also ordained Thee for a Savior of all the world. Therefore, though the greatest part among the Jews will not know nor receive Thee, yet there shall be many found among the Gentiles who shall do it; and the christian church shall not be the less or fewer for it, but shall be thereby much more increased and enlarged.

26 Namely, by the preaching of the Holy Gospel.

27 That is, these whom I have kept and preserved with great care and diligence, they as being Mine inheritance, yea, the apple of Mine eye, Deut. 32:10.

28 This is a clear prophecy concerning the conversion of the Gentiles unto Christ. See Isa. 42:6; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:46, 47; 26:17, 18.

29 That is, a Salvation of the Gentiles, ordained by Me.

7Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and 30his Holy One, to him 31whom man despiseth, to him whom 32the nation abhorreth, 33to a servant of 34rulers, Kings 35shall see and 36arise, princes also 37shall worship, 38because of the LORD 39that is faithful, and 40the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose 41thee.

30 That is, Who is the Holy One of Israel, as Isa. 10:17.

31 Hebr. to the despised in soul, that is, unto Christ, Who was despised in this world by all wicked ones (who were at all times by far the greatest part of the world). Other, to him whom every one despiseth. Other, to him whom the soul (that is, almost every man, the greatest and most important part of the Jews) despiseth. See Isa. 53:3; Mat. 27:22, 23, 29, 40; John 7:48.

32 Namely, the wicked people of the Jews.

33 That is, to Christ, Who came into this world in the form of a servant.

34 Namely, at Jerusalem, as Herod, Pontius Pilate, etc.

35 Or, shall see thee, that is, shall know and honor Thee for the Savior and Redeemer of the world. See Psalm 72:10, 11.

36 Unto a sign of reverence, as Lev. 19:32.

37 Or, and shall worship thee.

38 Honoring God the Father in the Son.

39 Who will faithfully keep His promise concerning the sending of His Son Jesus Christ in the flesh.

40 That is, for the sake of Him Who is the Holy One of Israel. See above in this verse.

41 Namely, for His Servant and the Mediator of the elect. Here is a change of person, for, before he spoke of Christ in the third person, here in the second person.

8Thus saith 42the LORD, 43Ina an acceptable time 44have I heard 45thee, 46and in a day of salvation 47have I helped thee: and 48I will preserve thee, and give thee 49for a covenant 50of the people, to establish 51the earth, to cause to inherit 52the desolate heritages;

42 Namely, God the Father.

43 That is, in the time when I would manifest My grace and mercy by the preaching of the Holy Gospel, and I sent Thee for a Savior of the world to suffer for the sins of My people, 2 Cor. 6:2.

a 2 Cor. 6:2.

44 This is spoken in the past tense; but it is to be understood in the future tense.

45O Christ.

46 This is the same in other words that was said immediately before.

47 That is, I have upheld and supported Thee when Thou wast in the torments of hell, and have kept Thy body from corruption when Thou didst lay in the grave; yea, I have raised Thee from the dead, and set Thee at My right hand. See 2 Cor. 6:2.

48 Namely, against all Thine enemies, that Thou be not overcome by any of them.

49 That is, for a Mediator of the covenant, as Isa. 42:6.

50 Namely, of the people of God.

51 That is, the inhabitants of the earth, namely, the elect. The meaning is: That Thou, Jesus Christ, restorest Thy church again and dwellest therein, which is Thine inheritance.

52 By the desolate heritages may here first be understood the land of Canaan, which was made desolate in the time of the Babylonian captivity, see verse 19, and consequently salvation, of which the devil tried to bereave and disinherit the elect, and to make it waste and desolate unto them.

9That thou mayest say 53to the prisoners, Go forth; to them 54that are in darkness, 55Shew yourselves. 56They shall feed 57in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places.

53 Or, to them that are bound, that is, to the prisoners, as Isa. 42:7.

54 That is, those who live in ignorance and in spiritual sorrow.

55 Or, come forth, shew yourselves. Hebr. properly, be discovered or revealed.

56 Namely, those who shall be effectually called by Thee.

57 That is, in all corners and places. The meaning is: After they are redeemed from the spiritual captivity of sin and of the devil, they shall be richly and abundantly blessed both in soul and body, and they shall enjoy those blessings in all places.

1058They shall not hungerb nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun 59smite them: for 60he that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall 61he guide them.

58 That which God says here the same shall be fulfilled in heaven. See Rev. 7:16. The meaning is, that the elect shall suffer no sorrow nor affliction in heaven, but shall be perfectly and absolutely blessed, whereof the enjoyment of Manna and of water out of the rock in the wilderness, was a type.

b Rev. 7:16.

59 Or, scorch them. Hebr. smite them.

60 That is, the Lord Christ shall lead them as a shepherd leads his sheep, Isa. 40:11.

61 That is, He shall comfort and refresh them by the comfort of the Holy Ghost, using thereunto the comfortable promises which God makes unto those who belong unto Him.

11And 62I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall 63be exalted.

62 That is, I will remove all hindrances out of the way, and will on the contrary use all helps and means, in order that Mine elect are brought from all corners and quarters of the entire world to the fellowship of the people of God. These are the words of God the Father.

63 Or, become.

12Behold, these shall come from far: and, lo, these from the north and 64from the west; and these from the land of 65Sinim.

64 Hebr. from the sea. See the annotation Gen. 12:8.

65 Or, of the Sinites. Mention is also made of these in Gen. 10:17. Some conceive that these nations might perhaps be the Sinese or the Chinese.

1366Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, 67O mountains: for the LORD hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

66 See Rom. 8:19.

67 See Isa. 35:1; 44:23.

14But 68Zion said, The LORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me.

68 That is, the believing Jews, who speak this, being sorely pressed by the great and manifold miseries which beset them.

15Can a woman forget 69her sucking child, that she should not have compassion on the 70son of her womb? 71yea, they may 72forget, yet will I not forget 73thee.

69 Or, her suckling, or, her little child, as Isa. 65:20.

70 See the like phrase in Prov. 31:2.

71 Or, yea, the same, namely, the women. Other, yet these may forget, or, But though they forget, yet will not I, etc.

72 Namely, her child, or children. See Psalm 27:10.

73 O Zion, O Jerusalem, that is, O My church, My people. Understand this not so much of a corporal as of a spiritual redemption, Rom. 9:6, 7.

16Behold, 74I have 75graven thee upon the palms of my hands; 76thy walls 77are continually before me.

74 That is, I will always be mindful of thee, and take care for thee.

75 Or, written, portrayed.

76 O Jerusalem.

77 As if the Lord said: As I will repair and build up again the walls of Jerusalem which are ruined and broken down by the Chaldeans, so will I also build up again and protect the spiritual Jerusalem, My church, which is now small, yea, almost utterly decayed.

17Thy 78children shall make haste; 79thy destroyers and they that made thee waste shall go forth 80of thee.

78 Or, Thy sons, etc., or, children, that is, the elect, that those, who in thee shall be born by the seed of the Word of God, they shall come speedily with a great desire to the fellowship of the congregation.

79 That is, false teachers and heretics, as scribes and pharisees, together with all those, who by their false doctrine and a scandalous mode of life shall be harmful and do damage to thee.

80 Or, from thee.

18¶Liftc up thine eyes round about, and behold: 81all these gather themselves together, and come 82to thee. As I live, saith the LORD, thou shalt surely clothe thee 83with them all, 84as with an ornament, and bind them on thee, 85as a bride doeth.

c Isa. 60:4.

81 Understand the converted Gentiles, who shall increase and adorn the church, and joining themselves together under one Shepherd.

82 Or, for thy sake.

83 Namely, with all the elect, whom the Lord shall bring under His obedience, both from Jews and Gentiles.

84 The great number of believers in Christ is the beauty and ornament of the church.

85 That is, as a bride puts on her ornaments, or fastens them on about her, when she adorns herself.

19For 86thy waste and thy desolate places, and the 87land of thy destruction, shall even 88now be 89too narrow by reason of the inhabitants, and they 90that swallowed thee up shall be far away.

86 The meanings is: The number of them who shall join themselves to the christian church, shall be so large, as that the church, which was before as a waste and solitary place, shall be filled, yea, shall be almost too small to contain all christian believers who come to it from the Gentiles, for, believers shall be spread throughout the entire world.

87 The land of the Jews was destroyed, both by the Babylonians and by the Romans, and other nations.

88 That is, then, or soon. See the annotation Hosea 10 on verse 3.

89 Or, be thronged, pressed, namely, when the elect Gentiles shall come in unto thee, and shall join themselves to the congregation.

90 That is, those who formerly seemed to have a desire to devour and swallow thee up by their tyrannical persecution and doctrine, such as were the scribes and the pharisees, tyrants, etc.

2091The children which thou shalt have, after thou hast lost the other, shall say again in thine ears, 92The place is too strait for me: 93give place to me that I may dwell.

91 Hebr. the children of thy lack or loss of children, that is, of thy barrenness, namely, the Gentiles, who indeed are properly not thy children, as being not bodily begotten or born of thee, but are now by faith become children of the congregation, after that ye, Jews, for your unbelief and impenitence, are for the most part to be accounted as childless and barren. Others render this verse thus: The children which thou shalt get, when thou wast bereaved of thy children, shall yet say before thine ears, that is, that thou shalt hear it.

92 This signifies the great increase of the christian church.

93 Or, yield me a place.

21Then shalt 94thou say in thine heart, Who hath begotten me these, seeing I have lost my children, and am desolate, 95a captive, and 96removing to and fro? and who hath brought up these? Behold, I was left alone; these, where had they been?

94 Namely, ye, Jewish church, shalt admire within thyself and be amazed at the great multitude of Gentiles that shall be joined to the church of God.

95 Namely, into the Babylonian captivity.

96 Namely, out of mine own country.

22Thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, 97I will lift up mine hand to the Gentiles, and 98set up my standard to the people: 99and they shall bring thy sons in their arms, and thy daughters shall be carried upon their shoulders.

97 That is, I will effectually call the Gentiles by the preaching of the Holy Gospel, and the internal working of the Holy Ghost.

98 Or, cast up, or, lift up.

99 That is, both young and old, men and women shall come and join themselves to the communion of saints, and they shall go one before another with good admonitions and instructions, and also with good example, Isa. 60:4; 66:12.

23And 100kings shall be thy nursing fathers, and 101their queens thy 102nursing mothers: 103they shall bow down to thee with their face toward the earth, and 104lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

100 The sense is, that kings shall not only join themselves to the church of Christ, but they shall also use their power and authority for the increase and defense of the same.

101 That is, the wives of kings.

102 Or, milk-nurses.

103 That is, they shall show civil respect unto thee; they shall humble themselves before thee, and submit themselves unto thee. This they shall do for Christ’s sake, Who is the Head of His church.

104 The meaning is: They shall bow down so low unto thee, that their mouth shall almost tough the very ground, as if they intended to lick up the dust of the earth. See Psalm 72:9.

24105Shalld the prey be taken from the mighty, or the 106lawful captive delivered?

105 This utters the church, persecuted and oppressed by tyrants, in respect of the violence and cruelty of her persecutors.

d Mat. 12:29.

106 Who upon just ground, whether of war or otherwise, keeps any man close prisoner.

25But thus saith the LORD, 107Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be 108delivered: for I will contend with him 109that contendeth with thee, and I will 110save thy children.

107 Understand this to be spoken, not only of the imprisoned Jews in the Babylonian captivity, whom the mighty kings of Babel had by might or force of arms so brought under their subjection and dominion that it seemed a thing impossible to deliver them from thence, but understand this also to be spoken under a type and figure of the devil, hell, death, into whose power God, in His just judgment, had delivered us up for our sins; but Christ has redeemed us from their power, making satisfaction to God, His heavenly Father, for us; He is stronger than all our enemies.

108 Or, be released and set at liberty.

109 See Psalm 35 on verse 1.

110 Or, preserve, redeem.

26And 111I will feed them that oppress thee with their own flesh; and they shall be drunken withe their own blood, as with sweet wine: and 112all flesh shall know that I the LORD am thy Saviour and thy Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob.

111 That is, I will make thine enemies and persecutors, namely, the enemies of My church, eat their own flesh; I will cause them to tear and devour one another; I will deal with them as I formerly dealt with the Midianites, and other enemies of Mine.

e Rev. 16:6.

112 That is, all people, of what state or condition they may be.