Isaiah 61:8
For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) I hate robbery for burnt offering.—The Authorised Version follows the Vulg, and Luther, but the words, commonly applied as condemning the formal sacrifices of the wicked, do not fit in with the context, and it is better to take the rendering of the LXX. and the Targum, I hate robbery with violence, as referring to the spoliation which Israel had suffered at the hands of the Chaldæans.

I will direct their work in truth.—Better—the word for “work” standing, as in Leviticus 19:13, Ezekiel 29:20, for its reward—I will appoint their recompense in faithfulness.

Isaiah 61:8-9. For I the Lord love judgment — I will do them right, for I love justice in myself, and in them that practise it. I hate robbery for burnt- offerings — I hate all things gotten by injustice, though they be for sacrifice. As God will not accept of that which cost nothing, so much less of that which is the effect of rapine and oppression. And I will direct their work in truth — I will lead them so, that they shall do all things in sincerity. They shall do good works with good intentions, and to good ends: they shall love truth, and walk in truth, and serve God in spirit and truth. I will make an everlasting covenant with them — Though they have broken covenant with me, yet I will renew my ancient covenant made with their fathers, confirmed with the blood of the Messiah; and it shall be everlasting, never to be abrogated. And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles — That is, eminently; a promise of the increase of the church: such shall be their prosperity and multiplying, that they shall be known abroad by their great increase: or else the meaning is, the church shall have a seed of the Gentiles; whereas the church has been confined to one corner of the world, now it shall remain in one nation alone no more, but shall fill all the nations of the earth. All shall acknowledge they are the seed which the Lord hath blessed — Such shall be the visible characters of God’s love to them, and of God’s grace in them.61:4-9 Promises are here made to the Jews returned out of captivity, which extend to all those who, through grace, are delivered out of spiritual thraldom. An unholy soul is like a city that is broken down, and has no walls, like a house in ruins; but by the power of Christ's gospel and grace, it is fitted to be a habitation of God, through the Spirit. When, by the grace of God, we attain to holy indifference as to the affairs of this world; when, though our hands are employed about them, our hearts are not entangled with them, but preserved entire for God and his service, then the sons of the alien are our ploughmen and vine-dressers. Those whom He sets at liberty, he sets to work. His service is perfect freedom; it is the greatest honour. All believers are made, to our God, kings and priests; and always ought to conduct themselves as such. Those who have the Lord for their portion, have reason to say, that they have worthy portion, and to rejoice in it. In the fulness of heaven's joys we shall receive more than double for all our services and sufferings. God desires truth, and therefore hates all injustice. Nor will it justify any man's robbery to say, it was for burnt-offerings; and that robbery is most hateful which is under this pretence. Let the children of godly parents be such, that all may see the fruits of a good education; an answer to the prayers for them, in the fruit of God's blessing.For I the Lord love judgment - That is, 'I shall delight in rendering to my people what is right. It is right that they should enjoy my protection, and be favored with the tokens of my kindness. Loving justice and right, therefore, I will confer on them the privileges and blessings which they ought to enjoy, and which will be a public expression of my favor and love.'

I hate robbery for burnt-offering - There has been great variety in the interpretation of this phrase. Lowth renders it, 'Who hate rapine and iniquity.' Noyes, 'I hate rapine and iniquity.' Jerome, as in our translation, Et odio habens rapinam in holocausto. The Septuagint, Μισῶν ἁρπάγματα ἐξ ἀδικίας Misōn harpagmata ech adikias - 'Hating the spoils of injustice.' The Chaldee, 'Far from before me be deceit and violence.' The Syriac, 'I hate rapine and iniquity.' This variety of interpretation has arisen from the different views taken of the Hebrew בעולה be‛ôlâh. The Syriac evidently prefixed the conjunction, ו (v), "and," instead of the preposition, ב (b), "with" or "for"; and, perhaps, also the Septuagint so read it. But this change, though slight, is not necessary in order to give a consistent rendering to the passage. The connection does not necessarily lead us to suppose that any reference would be made to 'burnt-offering,' and to the improper manner in which such offerings were made; but the idea is rather, that God hated rapine and sin; he hateth such acts as those by which his people had been removed from their land, and subjected to the evils of a long and painful captivity. And this is undoubtedly the sense of the passage. The Hebrew word עולה ‛ôlâh, usually without the ,ו means properly "a holocaust," or "what is made to ascend" (from עלה ‛âlâh, to ascend) from an altar. But the word here is the construct form for עולה ‛avı̂lâh, "evil, wickedness"; whence our word "evil" (see Job 24:20; Psalm 107:42). And the sense here is, hate rapine or plunder (גזל gāzēl) with iniquity;' that is, accompanied, as it always is, with iniquity and sin. And hating that as I do, I will vindicate my people who have been plundered in this way; and who have been borne into captivity, accompanied with deeds of violence and sin.

And I will direct their work in truth - literally, 'I will give them work in truth or faithfulness;' that is, I will give them the reward of their work faithfully. They shall be amply recompensed for all that they have done and suffered in my cause.

And I will make - (See the notes at Isaiah 55:3).

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) in faithfulness.

For I the Lord love judgment: q.d. They have suffered a great deal of hardship under their enemies, and I will do them right; for I love justice in myself, and in them that practise it. Or he gives a reason why he will recompense those strangers that did so freely minister to his people.

I hate robbery; all things gotten by injustice, though it be for sacrifice. As God will not accept of that which cost nothing, so much less of that which is the effect of rapine and oppression; a foundation whereon most of our abbeys and monasteries were built, viz. to expiate some great crimes. And thus by making God a receiver, they did interpretatively make him a confederate. I will direct their work in truth; either, I will lead and guide them so that they shall do all things in sincerity; they shall do good works, and to good ends; they shall now love truth, and walk in truth, and serve him in spirit and truth: or, I will reward them: or, I will make their work stable and firm. Truth notes stability; See Poole "Isaiah 16:5"; work being here put metonymically for the reward of work, proportionably to their work.

I will make an everlasting covenant: q.d. Though you have broken covenant with me, and I have seemed to forsake you in giving you up to captivity; yet I will renew my ancient covenant made with your fathers, confirmed with the blood of Christ, and it shall be everlasting, never to be abrogated, viz. it shall be continued in the Gentiles that shall come in your rooms, that for breach of covenant were broken off. For I the Lord love judgment,.... To do that which is right and just himself, and to see it done by others, and therefore he will right the wrongs of his people; and whereas the Jews, though they have justly suffered his vengeance for their sins, yet being reproached and abused beyond measure by the Gentiles, among whom they are dispersed; the Lord will look in mercy upon them, and will deliver and save them, and bestow favours plentifully on them, as in the preceding verse: or the Lord loves strict justice and real righteousness, and will not be put off with an imperfect righteousness in the room of a perfect one, and much less an insincere and hypocritical one, such as that of the unbelieving Jews, the pharisaical sect of them; nothing less is acceptable to God than a perfect righteousness, which is adequate to the demands of law and justice; and such a righteousness is not to be found among men, only in his Son Jesus Christ, and with which he is well pleased, Isaiah 42:21,

I hate robbery for burnt offering; that which is stolen, though it be converted into a burnt offering: or, "with a burnt offering" (c); all immorality, this being put for the whole, along with ceremonial sacrifices; as if it could be atoned for by them, or would be connived at on account of them: or,

by burnt offering; expiation of theft, or any other sin, by the sacrifices of the law, being offered up without faith in Christ; and especially since the great sacrifice, the antitype of them, is offered up; and therefore God will have no more offered up, they are displeasing and hateful to him, Isaiah 1:12,

and I will direct their work in truth; appoint them work and service of a spiritual nature, and direct them, and enable them to perform it in spirit and in truth, in opposition to the carnal and shadowy ordinances of the ceremonial law; see John 4:23,

and I will make an everlasting covenant with them; that is, renew the everlasting covenant of grace with them, make it manifest unto them; apply the grace and bestow the blessings of it to and on them, Romans 11:25.

(c) "rapinam conjunctam holocausto", Junius & Tremellius.

For I the LORD love judgment, I hate {q} robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

(q) I will not receive their offerings who are extortioners, deceivers, hypocrites or that deprive me of my glory.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. Jehovah’s righteousness demands this reversal of the present relations of Israel and the heathen.

I hate robbery &c.] Render with R.V. I hate robbery with iniquity, and I will give them their recompense in truth (i.e. faithfully). Instead of שׂלָה (= burnt-offering) we must point עו̇לָה (= iniquity). The translation of the A.V. would shut us up to a wrong interpretation of the prophet’s thought. The robbery to which he refers is not that practised by Israelites on God (Malachi 3:8-9), but the iniquitous treatment of Israel by its foes.

an everlasting covenant] Cf. ch. Isaiah 55:3.Verse 8. - For I the Lord love judgment. Either "the Servant" here identifies himself with Jehovah, or he cites a declaration of Jehovah which he has authority to announce. Jehovah will restore the Israelites to their land because he "loves judgment" (equivalent to "justice") and hates injustice. The Babylonian conquest, though a judgment sent by him, is, so far as the Babylonians are concerned, a wrong and a "robbery." I hate robbery for burnt offering; rather, I hate robbery with wickedness (comp. Job 5:16; Psalm 58:3; Psalm 64:7; 92:16). The transplantation of nations was a gross abuse of the rights of conquest. I will direct their work in truth; rather, I will give them their recompense faithfully. As they have been wronged, they shall be righted; they shall be faithfully and exactly compensated for what they have suffered. Nay, more - over and above this, God will give them the blessing of an "everlasting covenant" (comp. Isaiah 55:3). The words of Jehovah Himself pass over here into the words of another, whom He has appointed as the Mediator of His gracious counsel. "The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is over me, because Jehovah hath anointed me, to bring glad tidings to sufferers, hath sent me to bind up broken-hearted ones, to proclaim liberty to those led captive, and emancipation to the fettered; to proclaim a year of grace from Jehovah, and a day of vengeance from our God; to comfort all that mourn; to put upon the mourners of Zion, to give them a head-dress for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, a wrapper of renown for an expiring spirit, that they may be called terebinths of righteousness, a planting of Jehovah for glorification." Who is the person speaking here? The Targum introduces the passage with נביּא אמר. Nearly all the modern commentators support this view. Even the closing remarks to Drechsler (iii. 381) express the opinion, that the prophet who exhibited to the church the summit of its glory in chapter 60, an evangelist of the rising from on high, an apocalyptist who sketches the painting which the New Testament apocalyptist is to carry out in detail, is here looking up to Jehovah with a grateful eye, and praising Him with joyful heart for his exalted commission. But this view, when looked at more closely, cannot possibly be sustained. It is open to the following objections: (1.) The prophet never speaks of himself as a prophet at any such length as this; on the contrary, with the exception of the closing words of Isaiah 57:21, "saith my God," he has always most studiously let his own person fall back into the shade. (2.) Wherever any other than Jehovah is represented as speaking, and as referring to his own calling, or his experience in connection with that calling, as in Isaiah 49:1., Isaiah 50:4., it is the very same "servant of Jehovah" of whom and to whom Jehovah speaks in Isaiah 42:1., Isaiah 52:13-53:12, and therefore not the prophet himself, but He who had been appointed to be the Mediator of a new covenant, the light of the Gentiles, the salvation of Jehovah for the whole world, and who would reach this glorious height, to which He had been called, through self-abasement even to death. (3.) All that the person speaking here says of himself is to be found in the picture of the unequalled "Servant of Jehovah," who is highly exalted above the prophet. He is endowed with the Spirit of Jehovah (Isaiah 42:1); Jehovah has sent Him, and with Him His Spirit (Isaiah 48:16); He has a tongue taught of God, to help the exhausted with words (Isaiah 50:4); He spares and rescues those who are almost despairing and destroyed, the bruised reed and expiring wick (Isaiah 42:7). "To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house:" this is what He has chiefly to do for His people, both in word and deed (Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 49:9). (4.) We can hardly expect that, after the prophet has described the Servant of Jehovah, of whom He prophesied, as coming forward to speak with such dramatic directness as in Isaiah 49:1., Isaiah 50:4. (and even Isaiah 48:16), he will now proceed to put himself in the foreground, and ascribe to himself those very same official attributes which he has already set forth as characteristic features in his portrait of the predicted One. For these reasons we have no doubt that we have here the words of the Servant of Jehovah. The glory of Jerusalem is depicted in chapter 60 in the direct words of Jehovah Himself, which are well sustained throughout. And now, just as in Isaiah 48:16, though still more elaborately, we have by their side the words of His servant, who is the mediator of this glory, and who above all others is the pioneer thereof in his evangelical predictions. Just as Jehovah says of him in Isaiah 42:1, "I have put my Spirit upon him;" so here he says of himself, "The Spirit of Jehovah is upon me." And when he continues to explain this still further by saying, "because" (יען from ענה, intention, purpose; here equivalent to אשׁר יען) "Jehovah hath anointed me" (mâs 'ōthı̄, more emphatic than meshâchanı̄), notwithstanding the fact that mâshach is used here in the sense of prophetic and not regal anointing (1 Kings 19:16), we may find in the choice of this particular word a hint at the fact, that the Servant of Jehovah and the Messiah are one and the same person. So also the account given in Luke 4:16-22 viz. that when Jesus was in the synagogue at Nazareth, after reading the opening words of this address, He closed the book with these words, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" - cannot be interpreted more simply in any other way, than on the supposition that Jesus here declares Himself to be the predicted and divinely anointed Servant of Jehovah, who brings the gospel of redemption to His people. Moreover, though it is not decisive in favour of our explanation, yet this explanation is favoured by the fact that the speaker not only appears as the herald of the new and great gifts of God, but also as the dispenser of them ("non praeco tantum, sed et dispensator," Vitringa).

The combination of the names of God ('Adonai Yehovâh) is the same as in Isaiah 50:4-9. On bissēr, εὐαγγελίζειν (-εσθαι). He comes to put a bandage on the hearts' wounds of those who are broken-hearted: ל חבשׁ (חבּשׁ) as in Ezekiel 34:4; Psalm 147:3; cf., ל רפא (רפּא); ל הצדיק. דרור קרא is the phrase used in the law for the proclamation of the freedom brought by the year of jubilee, which occurred every fiftieth year after seven sabbatical periods, and was called shenath hadderōr (Ezekiel 46:17); deror from dârar, a verbal stem, denoting the straight, swift flight of a swallow (see at Psalm 84:4), and free motion in general, such as that of a flash of lightning, a liberal self-diffusion, like that of a superabundant fulness. Peqach-qōăch is written like two words (see at Isaiah 2:20). The Targum translates it as if peqach were an imperative: "Come to the light," probably meaning undo the bands. But qōăch is not a Hebrew word; for the qı̄chōth of the Mishna (the loops through which the strings of a purse are drawn, for the purpose of lacing it up) cannot be adduced as a comparison. Parchon, AE, and A, take peqachqōăch as one word (of the form פּתלתּל, שׁחרחר), in the sense of throwing open, viz., the prison. But as pâqach is never used like pâthach (Isaiah 14:17; Isaiah 51:14), to signify the opening of a room, but is always applied to the opening of the eyes (Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 42:7, etc.), except in Isaiah 42:20, where it is used for the opening of the ears, we adhere to the strict usage of the language, if we understand by peqachqōăch the opening up of the eyes (as contrasted with the dense darkness of the prison); and this is how it has been taken even by the lxx, who have rendered it καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, as if the reading had been ולעורים (Psalm 146:8). Again, he is sent to promise with a loud proclamation a year of good pleasure (râtsōn: syn. yeshū‛âh) and a day of vengeance, which Jehovah has appointed; a promise which assigns the length of a year for the thorough accomplishment of the work of grace, and only the length of a day for the work of vengeance. The vengeance applies to those who hold the people of God in fetters, and oppress them; the grace to all those whom the infliction of punishment has inwardly humbled, though they have been strongly agitated by its long continuance (Isaiah 57:15). The 'ăbhēlı̄m, whom the Servant of Jehovah has to comfort, are the "mourners of Zion," those who take to heart the fall of Zion. In Isaiah 61:3, לשׂוּם ... לתת, he corrects himself, because what he brings is not merely a diadem, to which the word sūm (to set) would apply, but an abundant supply of manifold gifts, to which only a general word like nâthan (to give) is appropriate. Instead of אפר, the ashes of mourning or repentance laid upon the head, he brings פּאר, a diadem to adorn the head (a transposition even so far as the letters are concerned, and therefore the counterpart of אפר; the"oil of joy" (from Psalm 45:8; compare also משׁחך there with אתי משׁח here) instead of mourning; "a wrapper (cloak) of renown" instead of a faint and almost extinguished spirit. The oil with which they henceforth anoint themselves is to be joy or gladness, and renown the cloak in which they wrap themselves (a genitive connection, as in Isaiah 59:17). And whence is all this? The gifts of God, though represented in outward figures, are really spiritual, and take effect within, rejuvenating and sanctifying the inward man; they are the sap and strength, the marrow and impulse of a new life. The church thereby becomes "terebinths of righteousness" (אילי: Targ., Symm., Jer., render this, strong ones, mighty ones; Syr. dechre, rams; but though both of these are possible, so far as the letters are concerned, they are unsuitable here), i.e., possessors of righteousness, produced by God and acceptable with God, having all the firmness and fulness of terebinths, with their strong trunks, their luxuriant verdure, and their perennial foliage - a planting of Jehovah, to the end that He may get glory out of it (a repetition of Isaiah 60:21).

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