Isaiah 59:20
And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to them that turn from transgression in Jacob, said the LORD.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) And the Redeemer shall come . . .—The picture of the Theophany is continued—Jehovah comes as a Redeemer (Goel, as in Isaiah 41:14; Isaiah 43:1, Job 19:25) to the true Zion, to those who have turned from their transgression. The verse is noticeable as being quoted, with variations, by St. Paul in Romans 11:26.

Isaiah 59:20-21. And, or, moreover, the Redeemer shall come to Zion — To Jerusalem, or to his church, often signified by Zion, namely, Christ shall come, of whom the apostle expounds it, Romans 11:26; the prophets usually concluding their promises of temporal deliverances with the promises of spiritual, especially such, of which the temporal were evident types. And unto them that turn from transgression, &c. — As he will come in the flesh, and tabernacle among his people; so he will come, by his Spirit, to those of them who turn from their sins unto God, (see John 14:15-23,) and will dwell in their hearts, (Ephesians 3:17,) so that they shall have Christ in them, the hope of glory, Colossians 1:27; Christ living in them, Galatians 2:20. This is my covenant with them — What I have promised to them that turn from their iniquities. My Spirit that is upon thee — Namely, upon Christ: see Isaiah 11:1-3. The Spirit promised to the church was first upon him, and from him, the head, that precious ointment descends to the skirts of his garments. And my word that I have put into thy mouth — Which thou hast uttered by virtue of my Spirit; shall not depart out of thy mouth — But thou shalt continue to be the Word made flesh, the wisdom of God incarnate, the great teacher of thy people, and the light of the world, till the consummation of all things. Nor out of the mouth of thy seed, &c. — But it shall dwell richly in them in all wisdom, capacitating them to teach, admonish, reprove, rebuke, exhort, and comfort one another, speaking with grace in their hearts: from henceforth and for ever — Always, even unto the end of the world; for the world being permitted to stand for the sake of the church, we may be sure that as long as it doth stand, Christ will have a church in it. Upon the whole, the meaning of this promise is, that God will give and continue his word and Spirit to his people, throughout all generations. 1st, There shall be some in every age, in whose hearts he will work, and in whom he will dwell, and thus the Comforter shall abide with the church for ever, John 14:16. 2d, The word of Christ shall always continue in the mouths of the faithful, that is, there shall be some in every age who, believing with the heart unto righteousness, shall, with the tongue, make confession unto salvation: and there shall still be a seed to speak Christ’s holy language, and profess his holy religion. Observe well, reader, the Spirit and the word go together, and by them the church is upheld. The word in the mouths of our ministers, nay, in our own mouths, will not profit us, unless the Spirit work with the word, and give it efficacy to enlighten, quicken, renew, and comfort us. The Spirit, however, doth his work by the word, and in concurrence with it; and whatever is pretended to be a dictate of the Spirit must be tried by the Scriptures. On this foundation the church is built, stands firm, and shall stand for ever; Christ himself being the chief corner- stone. 59:16-21 This passage is connected with the following chapters. It is generally thought to describe the coming of the Messiah, as the Avenger and Deliverer of his church. There was none to intercede with God to turn away his wrath; none to interpose for the support of justice and truth. Yet He engaged his own strength and righteousness for his people. God will make his justice upon the enemies of his church and people plainly appear. When the enemy threatens to bear down all without control, then the Spirit of the Lord shall stop him, put him to flight. He that has delivered, will still deliver. A far more glorious salvation is promised to be wrought out by the Messiah in the fulness of time, which all the prophets had in view. The Son of God shall come to us to be our Redeemer; the Spirit of God shall come to be our Sanctifier: thus the Comforter shall abide with the church for ever, Joh 14:16. The word of Christ will always continue in the mouths of the faithful; and whatever is pretended to be the mind of the Spirit, must be tried by the Scriptures. We must lament the progress of infidelity and impiety. But the cause of the Redeemer shall gain a complete victory even on earth, and the believer will be more than conqueror when the Lord receives him to his glory in heaven.And the Redeemer shall come - On the meaning of the word rendered here 'Redeemer,' see the notes at Isaiah 43:1. This passage is applied by the apostle Paul to the Messiah Romans 11:26; and Aben Ezra and Kimchi, among the Jews, and Christians generally, suppose that it refers to him.

To Zion - On the word 'Zion,' see the notes at Isaiah 1:8. The Septuagint renders this, Ἔνεκεν Σιὼν Heneken Siōn - 'On account of Zion.' The apostle Paul Romans 11:26, renders this, 'There shall come out of Zion (ἐκ Σιὼν ek Siōn) the Deliverer,' meaning that he would arise among that people, or would not be a foreigner. The idea in Isaiah, though substantially the same, is rather that he would come as a deliverer from abroad; that is, he would come from heaven, or be commissioned by God. When it is said that he would come to Zion, it is not meant that he would come exclusively to the Jews, but that his mission would be primarily to them.

And unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob - There is much variety in the interpretation of this passage. Paul Romans 11:26 quotes it thus, 'and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob;' and in this he has literally followed the Septuagint. The Vulgate renders it as in our translation. The Chaldee, 'And shall turn transgressors of the house of Jacob to the law.' The Syriac, 'To those who turn iniquity from Jacob.' Lowth has adopted the rendering of the Septuagint, and supposes that an error has crept into the Hebrew text. But there is no good authority for this supposition. The Septuagint and the apostle Paul have retained substantially, as Vitringa has remarked, the sense of the text. The main idea of the prophet is, that the effect of the coming of the Messiah would be to turn people from their sins. He would enter into covenant only with those who forsook their transgressions, and the only benefit to be derived from his coming would be that many would be thus turned from their iniquities.

20. to Zion—Ro 11:26 quotes it, "out of Zion." Thus Paul, by inspiration, supplements the sense from Ps 14:7: He was, and is come to Zion, first with redemption, being sprung as man out of Zion. The Septuagint translates "for the sake of Zion." Paul applies this verse to the coming restoration of Israel spiritually.

them that turn from—(Ro 11:26). "shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob"; so the Septuagint, Paul herein gives the full sense under inspiration. They turn from transgression, because He first turns them from it, and it from them (Ps 130:4; La 5:21).

And, moreover, or to wit; and being here not so much copulative as expositive.

The Redeemer: the word notes a redemption with power, viz.

1. Cyrus, the instrument for the efficient, viz. God the Redeemer, Isaiah 43:14 45:13. Or,

2. Christ, of whom the apostle expounds it, Romans 11:26; the prophets usually concluding their promises of temporal deliverances with the promises of spiritual, especially such of which the temporal were evident types.

To Zion, viz. Jerusalem, to which though Cyrus came not in person, yet his favours, and the good effects of his conquest over Babylon, reached it, setting free the citizens of Zion, as Christ also his church, which is often called by the name of Zion, and Jacob, and Israel, &c. In Jacob, viz. among the Jews, who were the children of Jacob; and he describes to whom of these, namely, to them, and none else, that

turn from transgression; such only whose hearts God touched, and turned to righteousness; and so to come to Zion here by the prophet, and out of Zion by the apostle, is one and the same thing; See Poole "Deu 33:2"; for the Hebrew lamed is not only an article of the dative case, but put often for mim, of or from, so that letsion is out of Zion; and for Christ to be given a Redeemer to Zion is the same thing as his coming to take iniquity from Jacob. And so the apostle doth by this expound that, taking an apostolical liberty not only to quote, but to expound this text; and so by laying them together, and making them one, would teach us that God must do for us what he requireth of us, Acts 3:26: or else, which is the opinion of some, he takes the last clause from some other text, or texts, as Isaiah 4:4. I incline to the former, partly because there is no need of searching for any other text, and partly because, as the apostle quoteth it, it is agreeable to the LXX., which he frequently makes use of; and this the apostle improves as an allegory to prove that the Jews toward the end of the world shall he converted and saved, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought in: q.d. As this people of old were delivered out of a dark and dolesome estate, when they seemed as it were extinct; so toward the end of the world the remnant of the Jews, that seem to be rejected, God will again bring home unto himself. Saith the Lord; or, thus it is decreed and determined by the Lord: the prophets are wont to set down these words as a sacred seal of certainty, security, or confirmation of such signal promises as this is of the Redeemer, like to that of the apostle, 1 Timothy 1:15. And the Redeemer shall come to Zion,.... Not Cyrus, as some; but the Messiah, as it is applied in the Talmud (m) and in other Jewish writers (n), and as Aben Ezra rightly interprets it; and so Kimchi, who also understands by the enemy, in the preceding verse, Gog and Magog; and this must be understood not of the first coming of Christ to redeem his people by his blood from sin, Satan, and the law; but of his spiritual coming to Zion to the church of God in the latter day, at the time of the conversion of the Jews, as appears from the quotation, and application of it by the apostle, Romans 11:25 and with it compare Revelation 14:1,

and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the Lord; that is, to such among the Jews, the posterity of Jacob, who repent of their sins, and turn from them; and particularly their sin of the rejection of the Messiah, and the disbelief of him, and turn to him, and believe in him as their Saviour and King. The Targum is,

"and the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to turn the transgressors of the house of Jacob to the law;''

but rather the turn will be to the Gospel of Christ.

(m) T. Bab. Sanhedrin, fol. 98. l. & Yoma, fol. 86. 2.((n) Echa Rabbati, fol. 47. 2.

And the Redeemer shall come to Zion, and to {t} them that turn from transgression in Jacob, saith the LORD.

(t) By which he declares that the true deliverance from sin and Satan belongs to none but to the children of God, whom he justifies.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. The consequences for Israel.

And the redeemer shall come] Rather And he shall come as a redeemer (ch. Isaiah 41:14).

and unto them that turn from transgression in Jacob] LXX. has “and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob,”—a different and more expressive text. So also in the quotation, Romans 11:26, where the words are applied in a Messianic sense.Verse 20. - And the Redeemer shall come to Zion; rather, and there shall come a Redeemer for Zion, and for those who turn, etc. When the "adversaries "and the "enemies" shall have been punished, repentant Israel shall be saved by the coming of Messiah. As usual, the prophet does not note, or perhaps see, intervals of time, but blends events of various periods into one glorious vision of triumphant deliverance, redemption, and prolonged spiritual life in the Redeemer's kingdom. The confession of personal sins is followed by that of the sinful state of society. "And right is forced back, and righteousness stands afar off; for truth has fallen in the market-place, and honesty finds no admission. And truth became missing, and he who avoids evil is outlawed." In connection with mishpât and tsedâqâh here, we have not to think of the manifestation of divine judgment and justice which is prevented from being realized; but the people are here continuing the confession of their own moral depravity. Right has been forced back from the place which it ought to occupy (hissı̄g is the word applied in the law to the removal of boundaries), and righteousness has to look from afar off at the unjust habits of the people, without being able to interpose. And why are right and righteousness - that united pair so pleasing to God and beneficial to man - thrust out of the nation, and why do they stand without? Because there is no truth or uprightness in the nation. Truth wanders about, and stands no longer in the midst of the nation; but upon the open street, the broad market-place, where justice is administered, and where she ought above all to stand upright and be preserved upright, she has stumbled and fallen down (cf., Isaiah 3:8); and honesty (nekhōchâh), which goes straight forward, would gladly enter the limits of the forum, but she cannot: people and judges alike form a barrier which keeps her back. The consequence of this is indicated in Isaiah 59:15: truth in its manifold practical forms has become a missing thing; and whoever avoids the existing voice is mishtōlēl (part. hithpoel, not hithpoal), one who is obliged to let himself be plundered and stripped (Psalm 76:6), to be made a shōlâl (Micah 1:8), Arab. maslûb, with a passive turn given to the reflective meaning, as in התחפּשׂ, to cause one's self to be spied out equals to disguise one's self, and as in the so-called niphal tolerativum (Ewald, 133, b, 2).

The third strophe of the prophecy commences at Isaiah 59:15 or Isaiah 59:16. It begins with threatening, and closes with promises; for the true nature of God is love, and every manifestation of wrath is merely one phase in its development. In consideration of the fact that this corrupt state of things furnishes no prospect of self-improvement, Jehovah has already equipped Himself for judicial interposition. "And Jehovah saw it, and it was displeasing in His eyes, that there was no right. And He saw that there was not a man anywhere, and was astonished that there was nowhere an intercessor: then His arm brought Him help, and His righteousness became His stay. And He put on righteousness as a coat of mail, and the helmet of salvation upon His head; and put on garments of vengeance as armour, and clothed Himself in zeal as in a cloak. According to the deeds, accordingly He will repay: burning wrath to His adversaries, punishment to His foes; the islands He will repay with chastisement." The prophet's language has now toilsomely worked its way through the underwood of keen reproach, of dark descriptions of character, and of mournful confession which has brought up the apostasy of the great mass in all the blacker colours before his mind, from the fact that the confession proceeds from those who are ready for salvation. And now, having come to the description of the approaching judgment, out of whose furnace the church of the future is to spring, it rises again like a palm-tree that has been violently hurled to the ground, and shakes its head as if restored to itself in the transforming ether of the future. Jehovah saw, and it excited His displeasure ("it was evil in His eyes," an antiquated phrase from the Pentateuch, e.g., Genesis 38:10) to see that right (which He loves, Isaiah 61:8; Psalm 37:28) had vanished form the life of His nation. He saw that there was no man there, no man possessing either the disposition or the power to stem this corruption (אישׁ as in Jeremiah 5:1, cf., 1 Samuel 4:9; 1 Kings 2:2, and the old Jewish saying, "Where there is no man, I strive to be a man"). He was astonished (the sight of such total depravity exciting in Him the highest degree of compassion and displeasure) that there was no מפגּיע, i.e., no one to step in between God and the people, and by his intercession to press this disastrous condition of the people upon the attention of God (see Isaiah 53:12); no one to form a wall against the coming ruin, and cover the rent with his body; no one to appease the wrath, like Aaron (Numbers 17:12-13) or Phinehas (Numbers 25:7).

What the fut. consec. affirms from ותּושׁע onwards, is not something to come, but something past, as distinguished form the coming events announced from Isaiah 59:18 onwards. Because the nation was so utterly and deeply corrupt, Jehovah had quipped Himself for judicial interposition. The equipment was already completed; only the taking of vengeance remained to be effected. Jehovah saw no man at His side who was either able or willing to help Him to His right in opposition to the prevailing abominations, or to support His cause. Then His own arm became His help, and His righteousness His support (cf., Isaiah 63:5); so that He did not desist from the judgment to which He felt Himself impelled, until He had procured the fullest satisfaction for the honour of His holiness (Isaiah 5:16). The armour which Jehovah puts on is now described. According to the scriptural view, Jehovah is never unclothed; but the free radiation of His own nature shapes itself into a garment of light. Light is the robe He wears (Psalm 104:2). When the prophet describes this garment of light as changed into a suit of armour, this must be understood in the same sense as when the apostle in Eph speaks of a Christian's panoply. Just as there the separate pieces of armour represent the manifold self-manifestations of the inward spiritual life so here the pieces of Jehovah's armour stand for the manifold self-manifestations of His holy nature, which consists of a mixture of wrath and love. He does not arm Himself from any outward armoury; but the armoury is His infinite wrath and His infinite love, and the might in which He manifests Himself in such and such a way to His creatures is His infinite will. He puts on righteousness as a coat of mail (שׁרין in half pause, as in 1 Kings 22:34 in full pause, for שׁריון, ō passing into the broader a, as is generally the case in יחפּץ, יחבשׁ; also in Genesis 43:14, שׁכלתי; Genesis 49:3, עז; Genesis 49:27, יטרף), so that His appearance on every side is righteousness; and on His head He sets the helmet of salvation: for the ultimate object for which He goes into the conflict is the redemption of the oppressed, salvation as the fruit of the victory gained by righteousness. And over the coat of mail He draws on clothes of vengeance as a tabard (lxx περιβόλαιον), and wraps Himself in zeal as in a war-cloak. The inexorable justice of God is compared to an impenetrable brazen coat of mail; His joyful salvation, to a helmet which glitters from afar; His vengeance, with its manifold inflictions of punishment, to the clothes worn above the coat of mail; and His wrathful zeal (קנאה from קנא), to be deep red) with the fiery-looking chlamys. No weapon is mentioned, neither the sword nor bow; for His own arm procures Him help, and this alone. But what will Jehovah do, when He has armed Himself thus with justice and salvation, vengeance and zeal? As Isaiah 59:18 affirms, He will carry out a severe and general retributive judgment. גּמוּל and גּמלה signify accomplishment of (on gâmal, see at Isaiah 3:9) a ῥῆμα μέσον; גּמלות, which may signify, according to the context, either manifestations of love or manifestations of wrath, and either retribution as looked at from the side of God, or forfeiture as regarded from the side of man, has the latter meaning here, viz., the works of men and the double-sided gemūl, i.e., repayment, and that in the infliction of punishment. כּעל, as if, as on account of, signifies, according to its Semitic use, in the measure (כּ) of that which is fitting (על); cf., Isaiah 63:7, uti par est propter. It is repeated with emphasis (like לכן in Isaiah 52:6); the second stands without rectum, as the correlate of the first. By the adversaries and enemies, we naturally understand, after what goes before, the rebellious Israelites. The prophet does not mention these, however, but "the islands," that is to say, the heathen world. He hides the special judgment upon Israel in the general judgment upon the nations. The very same fate falls upon Israel, the salt of the world which has lost its savour, as upon the whole of the ungodly world. The purified church will have its place in the midst of a world out of which the crying injustice has been swept away.

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