Isaiah 63:1
Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, traveling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
LXIII.

(1) Who is this that cometh from Edom? . . .—There is no apparent connection between Isaiah 63:1-6 and what precedes and follows. They must be dealt with, accordingly, as a separate section, though not, as some critics have suggested, by a different writer. To understand its relation to the prophet’s mind, we must remember the part which Edom had taken during the history of which Isaiah was cognisant, perhaps also that which he foresaw they would take in the period that was to follow. That part had been one of persistent hostility. They had been allied with the Tyrians against Judah, and had been guilty of ruthless atrocities (Amos 1:9-11). They had carried off Jewish prisoners as slaves (Obadiah 1:10-11). They had been allies of the Assyrian invaders (Psalm 83:6), and had smitten Judah in the days of Ahaz (2Chronicles 28:17). If we think of the prophet as seeing in spirit the working of the old enmity at a later period, we may extend the induction to their exultation at the capture of Jerusalem (Psalm 137:7; Lamentations 4:21). The memory of these things sank deep into the nation, and the first words of the last of the prophets echo the old hatred (Malachi 1:2-4). In the later days of Judaism, where Rabbis uttered their curses against their oppressors, Edom was substituted for Rome, as St. John substitutes Babylon (Revelation 18:2). Isaiah, possibly starting from the memory of some recent outrages in the reign of Hezekiah, and taking Edom as the representative of all the nearer hereditary enemies of Israel, into an ecstacy of jubilation, and sees the conquering king returning from his work of vengeance. The form is that of a warrior coming from the Idumsean Bozrah (as distinct from that in the Haurân, Jeremiah 48:24) in bright-red garments. And the colour (as in Revelation 19:13) is not that of the scarlet dress worn by soldiers (Nahum 2:3), but that of blood just shed.

Travelling.—The Hebrew verb (bending, or tossing the head) indicates the movement and gestures of a conqueror exulting in his victory.

I that speak . . .—The hero-avenger, the righteous king who represents Jehovah, hears the wondering question, and makes answer for himself. “Righteousness” and “salvation,” which he claims as his attributes, show that he is none other than the ideal Servant of the Lord of Hosts, sharing His attributes.

Isaiah

MIGHTY TO SAVE

Isaiah 63:1
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We have here a singularly vivid and dramatic prophecy, thrown into the form of a dialogue between the prophet and a stranger whom he sees from afar striding along from the mountains of Edom, with elastic step, and dyed garments. The prophet does not recognise him, and asks who he is. The Unknown answers, ‘I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.’ Another question follows, seeking explanation of the splashed crimson garments of the stranger, and its answer tells of a tremendous act of retributive destruction which he has recently launched at the nations hostile to ‘My redeemed.’

Now we note that this prophecy follows, both in the order of the book and in the evolution of events, on those in Isaiah 61:1 - Isaiah 61:11, which referred to our Lord’s work on earth, and inIsaiah 62:1 - Isaiah 62:12, which has for part of its theme His intercession in heaven. And we are entitled to take the view that the place as well as the substance of this prophecy referred to the solemn act of final Judgment in which the returning Lord will manifest Himself. Very significant is it that the prophet does not recognise in this Conqueror, with blood-bespattered robes, the meek sufferer of Isaiah 53:1 - Isaiah 53:12, or Him who in Isaiah 62:1 - Isaiah 62:12 came to bind up the broken-hearted. And very instructive is it that the title in our text comes from the stranger’s own lips, as relevant to the tremendous act of judgment from which He is seen returning. The title might seem rather to look back to the former manifestation of Him as bearing our griefs and carrying our sorrows. It does indeed, thank God, look back to that never-to-be-forgotten miracle of mercy and power, but it also brings within the sweep of His saving might the judgment still to come.

I. The mighty Saviour as made known in the past and present.

We think much of the meek and gentle side of Christ’s character. Perhaps we do not think enough of the strength of it. We trace His great sacrifice to His love, and we can never sufficiently adore that incomparable manifestation of a love deeper than our plummets can fathom. But probably we do not sufficiently realise what gigantic strength went to the completion of that sacrifice. We know the solemn imagining of a great artist who has painted a colossal Death overbearing the weak resistance of a puny Love; but here love is the giant, and his sovereign command brings Death obedient to it, to do his work. Yes, that weak man hanging on the Cross is therein revealed as ‘the power of God.’ Strange clothing of weakness which yet cannot hide the mighty limbs that wear it!

And if we think of our Lord’s life we see the same combination of gentleness and power. His very name rings with memories of the captain whose one commanded duty was to ‘be strong and of a good courage.’

In Him was all strength of manhood-inflexible, iron will, unchanging purpose, strength from consecration, strength from righteousness. In Him was the heroism of prophets and martyrs in supreme degree.

In Him was the strength of indwelling Divinity. He fought and conquered all man’s enemies, routed sin, and triumphed over Death.

In the Cross we see divine power in operation in its noblest form, in its intensest energy, in its widest sweep, in its most magnificent result. He is able to save, to save all, to save any.

He is mighty to save, and is able to save unto the uttermost, because He lives for ever, and His power is eternal as Himself.

II. The mighty Saviour as to be manifested in the future.

Clearly the imagery of the context describes a tremendous act of judgment. And as clearly the Apocalyptic Seer understood this prophecy as not only pointing to Christ, but as to be fulfilled in the final act of judgment. He quotes its words when he paints his magnificent vision of the Conqueror riding forth on his white horse, with garments sprinkled with blood and treading the ‘winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.’ And the vision is interpreted unmistakably when we read that, though this Conqueror had a name unknown to any but Himself, ‘His name is called the Word of God.’ So the unity of person in the Word made flesh who dwelt among us, full of grace and of this Mighty One girt for battle, is taught.

Keeping fast hold of this clue, the contrast between the characteristics of the historical Jesus and of the rider on the white horse becomes solemn and full of warning. And the contrast between the errand of the historical Jesus and that of the Conqueror bids us ponder on the possibilities that may sleep in perfect love. We have to widen our conceptions, if we have thought of our Jesus only as love, and have thought of love as shallow, as most men do. We are sometimes told that these two pictures, that of the Christ of the Gospels and that of the Christ of the Apocalypse, are incapable of being fused together in one original. But they can be stereoscoped, if we may say so. And they must be, if we are ever to understand the greatness of His love or the terribleness of His judgments. ‘The wrath of the Lamb’ sounds an impossibility, but if we ponder it, we shall find depths of graciousness as well as of awe in it.

Let us learn that the righteous Judge is logically and chronologically the completion of the picture of the merciful Saviour. In this age there is a tendency to treat sin with too much pity and too little condemnation. And there is not a sufficiently firm grasp of the truth that divine love must be in irreconcilable antagonism with human sin, and can do nothing but chastise and smite it.

III. The saving purpose of even that destructive might.

Through the whole Old Testament runs the longing that God would ‘awake’ to smite evil.

The tragedy of the drowned hosts in the Red Sea, and Miriam and her maidens standing with their timbrels and shrill song of triumph on the bank, is a prophecy of what shall be. ‘Ye shall have a song as in the night a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart as when one goeth with a pipe to come unto the mountain of the Lord.’ And at the thought of that solemn act of judgment they who love the Judge, and have long known Him, ‘may lift up their heads’ in the confidence that ‘their redemption draweth nigh.’ That is the last, and in some sense the mightiest, greatest act by which He shows Himself ‘mighty to save His redeemed.’

So we may, like the prophet, see that swift form striding nearer and nearer, but, unlike the prophet, we need not to ask, ‘Who is this that cometh?’ for we have known Him from of old, and we remember the voice that said, ‘This same Jesus shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into heaven.’ ‘Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness before Him in the day of judgment.’Isaiah 63:1. “The very remarkable passage,” says Bishop Lowth, “with which this chapter begins, seems to be in a manner detached from the rest, and to stand singly by itself; having no immediate connection with what goes before, or with what follows, otherwise than as it may pursue the general design, and stand in its proper place in the order of prophecy. It is by many learned interpreters supposed, that Judas Maccabeus and his victories make the subject of it. What claim Judas can have to so great an honour will, I think, be very difficult to make out; or how the attributes of the great person introduced can possibly suit him. Could Judas call himself the Announcer of righteousness, mighty to save? Could he talk of the day of vengeance being in his heart, and the year of his redeemed being come? or that his own arm wrought salvation for him? Besides, what were the great exploits of Judas in regard to the Idumeans? He overcame them in battle, and slew twenty thousand of them. And John Hyrcanus, his brother Simon’s son and successor, who is called in to help out the accomplishment of the prophecy, gave them another defeat some time afterward, and compelled them, by force, to become proselytes to the Jewish religion, and to submit to circumcision: after which they were incorporated with the Jews, and became one people with them. Are these events adequate to the prophet’s lofty prediction? Was it so great an action to win a battle with considerable slaughter of the enemy; or to force a whole nation, by dint of the sword, into Judaism? Or was the conversion of the Idumeans, however effected, and their admission into the church of God, equivalent to a most grievous judgment and destruction, threatened in the severest terms?

“I conclude that this prophecy has not the least relation to Judas Maccabeus. It may be asked, to whom, and to what event, does it relate? I can only answer, that I know of no event in history to which, from its importance and circumstances, it can be applied; unless, perhaps, to the destruction of Jerusalem and the Jewish polity; which, in the gospel, is called, the coming of Christ, and the days of vengeance, Matthew 24:16-28; Luke 21:22. But, though this prophecy must have its accomplishment, there is no necessity of supposing that it has been already accomplished. There are prophecies which intimate a great slaughter of the enemies of God and his people, which remain to be fulfilled; these in Ezekiel, chap. 38., and in the Revelation of St. John, chap. 20., are called Gog and Magog. This prophecy of Isaiah may possibly refer to the same or the like event. We need not be at a loss to determine the person who is here introduced, as stained with treading the wine-press, if we consider how St. John, in the Revelation, has applied this image of the prophet, Revelation 19:13; Revelation 19:15-16. Compare chap. 34.”

Who is this, &c. — Either the prophet, as in some vision or ecstasy, or the church, makes inquiry, and that with admiration, who it is that appears in such a habit or posture, Isaiah 63:1, and why, Isaiah 63:2; that cometh from Edom — That is, Idumea, the country where Esau, sometimes called Edom, dwelt. It is here put for all the enemies of God’s church, as it is also Isaiah 34:5-6, where see the notes. “The Idumeans,” it must be observed, “joined with the enemies of the Jews in bringing on the destruction of Jerusalem, in the time of the captivity, for which they were severely reproved by the prophets, and threatened with utter destruction, which accordingly came to pass; the prophets, therefore, generally apply the name of this people to signify any inveterate and cruel enemy, as in this place. But the words Edom and Bozrah may be taken in the appellative sense, to denote in general, a field of blood, or a place of slaughter; the word Edom signifying red, and Bozrah a vintage, which, in the prophetical idiom, imports God’s vengeance upon the wicked.” — Lowth. With dyed or stained garments — Thus Christ is described Revelation 19:13, where also he is represented as taking vengeance on his enemies. The LXX. render it ερυθημα ιματιων, redness of garments. This that is glorious — Or magnificent, as Bishop Lowth renders it; in his apparel, travelling — Marching on, in the greatness of his strength — Like a general marching in triumph at the head of his army, and carrying tokens of victory upon his raiment. I that speak in righteousness — I the Messiah, who never promise any thing but what I will faithfully perform, and who do and will always truly execute justice: mighty to save — Perfectly able to effect the promised redemption of my people, whatever difficulties and oppositions may lie in the way of it, and to accomplish their full salvation. Bishop Lowth renders the clause, I who publish, or announce righteousness, and am mighty to save, observing, that a MS. has המדבר, with the demonstrative article added, giving greater force and emphasis to the expression, The Announcer of righteousness.63:1-6 The prophet, in vision, beholds the Messiah returning in triumph from the conquest of his enemies, of whom Edom was a type. Travelling, not as wearied by the combat, but, in the greatness of his strength, prepared to overcome every opposing power. Messiah declares that he had been treading the wine-press of the wrath of God, Re 14:19; 19:13, and by his own power, without any human help, he had crushed his obstinate opposers, for the day of vengeance was determined on, being the appointed season for rescuing his church. Once, he appeared on earth in apparent weakness, to pour out his precious blood as an atonement for our sins; but he will in due time appear in the greatness of his strength. The vintage ripens apace; the day of vengeance, fixed and determined on, approaches apace; let sinners seek to be reconciled to their righteous Judge, ere he brings down their strength to the earth. Does Christ say, I come quickly? let our hearts reply, Even so, come; let the year of the redeemed come.Who is this - The language of the people who see Yahweh returning as a triumphant conqueror from Idumea. Struck with his stately bearing as a warrior; with his gorgeous apparel; and with the blood on his raiment, they ask who he could be? This is a striking instance of the bold and abrupt manner of Isaiah. He does not describe him as going forth to war nor the preparation for battle; nor the battle itself, nor the conquests of cities and armies; but he introduces at once the returning conqueror having gained the victory - here represented as a solitary warrior, moving along with majestic gait from Idumea to his own capital, Jerusalem. Yahweh is not unfrequently represented as a warrior (see the notes at Isaiah 42:13).

From Edom - On the situation of Edom, and for the reasons of the animosity between that country and Judea, see the Aanlysis to Isaiah 34.

With dyed garments - That is, with garments dyed in blood. The word rendered here 'dyed' ( חמוּץ châmûts), is derived from חמץ châmats, to be sharp and pungent, and is usually applied to anything that is sharp or sour. It is applied to color that is bright or dazzling, in the same manner as the Greeks use the phrase χρῶμα ὀξύ chrōma oxu - a sharp color - applied to purple or scarlet. Thus the phrase πορφύραι ὀξύταται porphurai oxutatai means a brilliant, bright purple (see Bochart, Hieroz. i. 2. 7). It is applied to the military cloak which was worn by a warrior, and may denote here either that it was originally dyed of a scarlet color, or more probably that it was made red by the blood that had been sprinkled on it. Thus in Revelation 19:13, the Son of God is represented as clothed in a similar manner: 'And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood.' In Isaiah 63:3, the answer of Yahweh to the inquiry why his raiment was red, shows that the color was to be attributed to blood.

From Bozrah - On the situation of Bozrah, see the notes at Isaiah 34:6. It was for a time the principal city of Idumea, though properly lying within the boundaries of Moab. In Isaiah 34:6, Yahweh is represented as having 'a great sacrifice in Bozrah;' here he is seen as having come from it with his garments red with blood.

This that is glorious in his apparel - Margin, 'Decked.' The Hebrew word (הדוּר hâdûr) means "adorned, honorable, or glorious." The idea is, that his military apparel was gorgeous and magnificent - the apparel of an ancient warrior of high rank.

Traveling in the greatness of his strength - Noyes renders this, 'Proud in the greatness of his strength,' in accordance with the signification given by Gesenius. The word used here (צעה tsâ‛âh) means properly "to turn to one side, to incline, to be bent, bowed down as a captive in bonds" Isaiah 51:14; then "to bend or toss back the head as an indication of pride" (Gesenius). According to Taylor (Concord.) the word has 'relation to the actions, the superb mien or manner of a triumphant warrior returning from battle, in which he has got a complete victory over his enemies. And it may include the pomp and high spirit with which he drives before him the prisoners which he has taken.' It occurs only in this place and in Isaiah 51:14; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 48:12. The Septuagint omits it in their translation. The sense is doubtless that Yahweh is seen returning with the tread of a triumphant conqueror, flushed with victor, and entirely successful in having destroyed his foes. There is no evidence, however, as Taylor supposes, that he is driving his prisoners before him, for he is seen alone, having destroyed all his foes.

I that speak in righteousness - The answer of the advancing conqueror. The sense is, 'It is I, Yahweh, who have promised to deliver my people and to destroy their enemies, and who have now returned from accomplishing my purpose.' The assurance that he speaks in righteousness, refers here to the promises which he had made that be would rescue and save them.

Mighty to save - The sentiment is, that the fact that he destroys the foes of his people is an argument that he can save those who put their trust in him. The same power that destroys a sinner may save a saint; and the destruction of a sinner may be the means of the salvation of his own people.

CHAPTER 63

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 prophetic vision.

dyed—scarlet with blood (Isa 63:2, 3; Re 19:13).

Bozrah—(See on [868]Isa 34:6).

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; 46:13); salvation being meant as the result of His "righteousness" [Maurer].

save—The same Messiah that destroys the unbeliever saves the believer.Christ’s victory over his enemies, Isaiah 63:1-6, and mercy towards his church; in judgment remembering mercy, Isaiah 63:7-14. The church’s prayer and complaint in faith, Isaiah 63:15-19.

In these two verses either the prophet, as in some vision or ecstasy, is put probably upon inquiry by God himself, rather than by Christ, or Michael, or Judas Maccabeeus, as some have thought; and the rather, because this place doth thus suit best with Isaiah 59:16,17. Or the church makes inquiry, and that with admiration, who it is that appears in such a habit or posture, Isaiah 63:1, and why, Isaiah 63:2.

Edom; that is, the country of Idumea, where Esau dwelt, and Esau himself was sometimes called by this name, Genesis 25:30; and it is put synecdochically for all the enemies of the church, as Moab is, Isaiah 25:10: See Poole "Isaiah 25:10".

With dyed garments; or, stained: thus Christ is described, Revelation 19:13, and so also Isaiah 63:3: LXX., the redness of garments.

Bozrah; the capital city of Idumea; see further Isaiah 34:6, a parallel text; and Edom and Bozrah here are mentioned, either,

1. Not as relating to the places so called, but by way of allusion to the garments of this conqueror, Edom signifying red, and Bozrah a vintage; the one relating to his treading the winepress, and the other to the blood sprinkled upon his garments, Isaiah 63:3: the like manner of speaking you have Psalm 120:5. Or rather,

2. Put synecdochically for all the enemies of the church, among whom, though antichrist be not particularly designed, yet may be reckoned, being one of the chief of them; thus typifying Christ’s victories over all the enemies of the church, Revelation 19:19-21; and this is usual. Babylon is put for any detestable city, and Moab for all that are vile and abominable, Isaiah 25:10; so Edom here for all God’s enemies. And he mentions these Idumeans rather than the Chaldeans, who were the Jews’ chief and particular enemies,

2. Partly to set forth the greatness of the enmity, being of old standing, and an inbred malignity, Genesis 25:22,23, and irreconcilable, and perpetual, Amos 1:11, and particularly put forth when the Babylonians took Jerusalem, Psalm 137:72. Partly to comfort the Jews, both because God would take particular revenge upon Edom, as he had threatened, and prophesied by Obadiah, which is the substance of that whole prophecy; and also these being their near neighbours, God doth give them security, that they shall not only be delivered frons the Chaldeans, those remoter enemies, but from the Idumeans also, whose vicinity and neighbourhood might have been troublesome to them.

Glorious in his apparel; such as generals are wont to march before their armies in, or great conquerors, that walk in state and gallantry from their conquests.

In the greatness of his strength; in or according to the majesty of his gait, being an indication of the greatness of his strength, and intimating that he hath thoroughly done his work, and fears no pursuing enemy, as the lion that keepeth his majestic gait without the fear of any other beast, Proverbs 30:30: this notes the invincibleness of his power, and that it is his own strength, he needeth not the help of armies or other instruments, and thus he will travel through all the countries of his enemies.

I that speak in righteousness: here the Lord Christ gives an answer, wherein he both asserts his fidelity, that he will faithfully perform what he hath promised, and that he will truly execute justice, Revelation 19:11; and hereby also he distinguisheth himself from all idol gods, Isaiah 45:19,20.

Mighty to save; I have power to accomplish salvation as powerful as faithful, Isaiah 19:20.

Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah?.... These are not the words of the angels at the time of Christ's ascension to heaven; or of the people of Israel; but rather of the prophet, or of the church he represents; by whom this question is put, not concerning Michael the archangel returning from fighting the king of Persia, for what has Edom and Bozrah to do with Persia? nor concerning Judas Maccabaeus, in whose times it seems a victory was obtained over the Edomites: the description is too grand and august to agree with any mere man; rather therefore it is to be understood of God himself taking vengeance on the wicked, many of the characters agreeing with the description of him in Isaiah 59:16 though it seems best of all to interpret it of the Messiah. Aben Ezra observes, that there are some that say this is the Messiah; others that it is Michael; but, says he, it is right that it respects the glorious name, that is, Jehovah himself; the first sense he gives is most correct. Several Jewish writers, ancient as well as modern, interpret this of the Messiah, whom they yet expect to come from Rome to the land of Israel, which they suppose is meant by Edom. So says one (n) of their writers,

"when the King Messiah shall come, he will be clothed in purple, beautiful to look at, which in colour shall be like to wine for the clothing of the King Messiah shall be silk, red as blood; and it shall be worked with the needle in various colours, and he shall be the Head of Israel; and this is what is said in Isaiah 63:1 "wherefore art thou red in thy apparel?"''

And, say others of their ancient writers (o), the Ishmaelites or Turks shall fight three battles in the latter day; one in the forest of Arabia; another in the sea; and a third in the great city Rome, which shall be greater than the other two; and from thence shall spring the Messiah, and he shall look upon the destruction of the one and of the other, and from thence shall he come into the land of Israel, as it is said, "who is this that comes from Edom?" &c. So Abarbinel (p) asserts, that the Ishmaelites or Turks shall come against Rome, and destroy it; and then shall be revealed the Messiah, the son of David, and shall complete the redemption of the Lord, according to Daniel 12:1 and then quotes the above passage of their wise men; and upon it observes, that from thence it appears that Messiah, the son of David, shall be of the Jews that are in the captivity of Edom (or Rome), for so they explain Isaiah 63:1 "who is this that comes from Edom?" &c.; and so Kimchi interprets the prophecy of time to come: but though the Messiah is intended, this is to be understood not of his first coming, which was out of Zion, out of the tribe of Judah, and out of Bethlehem Ephratah; nor of his ascension to heaven, after his bloody sufferings and death, and the victory he had obtained over all our spiritual enemies, sin, Satan, the world, death, and hell; for that was from the land of Judea, from Mount Olivet, near to Jerusalem, the place of his sufferings and death; but of his spiritual coming, which is yet future, to take vengeance on antichrist, and all the antichristian powers. It is usual in Scripture for the enemies of the church and people of God in Gospel times to be expressed by such who were the known and implacable enemies of the people of Israel; and such were the Edomites, the inhabitants of Idumea, of which Bozrah was a principal city; see Psalm 137:7 and were a lively emblem of antichrist and his followers, for their relation to the people of Christ, their cruelty to them, and contempt of them; from the conquest and slaughter of which Christ is here represented returning as a victorious and triumphant conqueror; see Isaiah 34:5 hence he is said to come from thence "with dyed garments", or "stained" (q); that is, with the blood of his enemies; so Jarchi interprets it dyed in blood, or dipped in it; to which agrees the apparel of Christ in Revelation 19:18, where he is said to be clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; which chapter is the best commentary upon this passage, referring to the same time and case: it follows,

this that is glorious in his apparel; for though it was thus stained and discoloured with the blood of his enemies, yet was glorious to himself, having gotten such a complete victory over all his and his church's enemies, and so was glorious to them to behold; and especially, since on this vesture, and on his thigh, is a name written, "King of kings, and Lord of lords", Revelation 19:16,

travelling in the greatness of his strength? marching in great stateliness and majesty at the head of his victorious troops, he nor they having nothing to fear from their enemies, being all vanquished and destroyed. Strength, and the greatness of it, may well be ascribed to Christ, who is the mighty God, yea, the Almighty; the mighty man, made strong by the Lord for himself; and the mighty Mediator, having all power in heaven and earth: he travelled in the greatness of his strength from heaven to earth, by the assumption of our nature; while here he went about continually doing good; with the utmost intrepidity he went forth to meet his foes, and death itself, at the proper time, and without fear passed through the valley of the shadow of death; when raised again, in his ascension to heaven, he marched through the territories of Satan, the air, in great triumph, dragging him and his principalities and powers at his chariot wheels; and when he had poured down his Spirit plentifully, he went forth into the Gentile world in the ministration of the Gospel, conquering and to conquer; and in the latter day he will come and take vengeance on all the antichristian states, and return in triumph, to which this passage refers; see Revelation 17:14 the answer to the question follows,

I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save; these are the words of Christ describing himself, by his speech and by his power, by his word and by his works: he "spoke in righteousness", at the making of the covenant of grace in eternity, some things by way of request for his elect, others by way of promise for them; all which he has faithfully and righteously performed: under the Old Testament dispensation, he spake many things in righteousness by his prophets, and by his Spirit in them; yea, he often appeared in a human form, and spoke to the patriarchs and others: when here on earth, he spoke "in" or "of righteousness" (r); of the righteousness of God he came to declare; of his own righteousness he came to bring in; and of the happiness of those who sought it, and were justified by it; and of the insufficiency of man's righteousness to bring him to heaven: here it seems to have a more especial respect to the promises made to the church, of her salvation from her enemies, and of the destruction of them; which will now be accomplished, and appear to be the true and faithful sayings of Christ, Revelation 19:9 and that he is "mighty to save" appears from the spiritual salvation of his people he has already wrought out: God laid help on one that is mighty, and he being mighty undertook it, and has accomplished it; and which work required strength, even almighty power, since sin was to be atoned for by bearing it, the law to be fulfilled, justice to be satisfied, the wrath and curse of God to be endured, and innumerable enemies to be engaged with; and of such a nature was that salvation, that neither angels nor men could ever have effected it: and this his power to save will be further manifest, when the beast and false prophet, antichrist, and all the antichristian powers, shall be destroyed by him, and his people entirely delivered out of their hands, Revelation 11:18. The Targum of the whole is,

"who hath said these things that shall bring the blow upon Edom, the strong vengeance on Bozrah, to execute the vengeance of the judgment of his people, as he hath sworn unto them by his word? he saith, behold I appear as I spake in righteousness, much power is before or with me to save''

see Revelation 18:8.

(n) R. Moses Haddarsan in Bereshit Rabba in Genesis 49.11. apud Galatia. de Arcan. Cath. Ver. I. 8. c. 13. p. 579. (o) Pirke Eliezer, c. 30. fol. 32. 1.((p) Mashmiah Jeshuah, fol. 44. 1, 2.((q) "contaminatus, maculatus vestibua", Gataker. (r) "de justitia", Piscator, Vitringa; "Ioquor justitiam", V. L. Sept.

Who is this that cometh {a} from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? {b} I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.

(a) This prophecy is against the Idumeans and enemies who persecuted the Church, on whom God will take vengeance, and is here set forth all bloody after he has destroyed them in Bozrah, the chief city of the Idumeans: for these were their greatest enemies,and under the title of circumcision and the kindred of Abraham.

(b) God answers them that asked this question, Who is this? etc. and says You see now performed in deed the vengeance which my prophets threatened.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
1. On Bozrah, a city of Edom, see on ch. Isaiah 34:6.

with dyed garments] Better, with bright coloured garments. The word for “dyed” means literally “sharp,” “piercing.”

The mention of Edom as the scene of a judgement which is obviously universal (see Isaiah 63:3; Isaiah 63:6), including all the enemies of Jehovah and Israel, is a feature common to this prophecy and that of ch. 34. It is partly accounted for by the embittered relations between the two peoples, of which traces are found in post-exilic writings (see the note on ch. 34); and partly perhaps by the ancient conception that Jehovah marches from Edom to the succour of His people (Jdg 5:4). There can hardly be a reference to anticipated resistance on the part of the Edomites to the re-establishment of the Jewish State, for the judgement is not on Edom alone but on all nations; and moreover the prophecy in all probability belongs to a date subsequent to the first return of the exiles from Babylon.

glorious in his apparel] The word for glorious is lit. “swelling,” being identical with that which is wrongly rendered “crooked” in ch. Isaiah 45:2 (see the note). It is doubtful what is the exact sense of the expression “swelling in his raiment.” Duhm’s suggestion of loose robes inflated by the wind seems a little fanciful. On the other hand “glorious” or “splendid” (LXX. ὡραῖος) conveys an impression hardly consistent with the image, since the garments of the divine champion are said to be “defiled” by the blood of His enemies (Isaiah 63:3).

travelling] R.V. marching; Vulg. gradiens. This however may represent a variant reading (çô‘çd, cf. Jdg 5:4) which is perhaps preferable to the Massoretic text (çô‘eh). The Hebr. word occurs in the difficult passage Isaiah 51:14 with the sense of “crouching.” Those who retain it here explain it in various ways with the help of the Arabic as a “gesture of proud self-consciousness” (Del.); “swaying to and fro”; “with head thrown back,” &c.

I that speak in righteousness &c.] i.e. “speak righteously” (cf. Isaiah 45:19). Jehovah declares Himself to be true in speech, faithfully fulfilling His prophecies, and powerful in deed (mighty to save).Verses 1-6. - A JUDGMENT ON IDUMAEA. Isaiah had already, in the first portion of his prophecy, announced" a great slaughter in the land of Idumaea" as resolved on in the counsels of God (Isaiah 34:5-10). He now recurs to the subject, and represents Jehovah as a warrior with blood-stained garments, fresh from the field of battle in Edom, where he has trodden down his foes and taken a fierce vengeance on them. The Idumaeans probably represent the world-power; and the "day of vengeance" may be one still future, in which the enemies of God will feel the weight of his hand. The description stands by itself, neither connected with what goes before nor with what follows. It has the appearance of a separate poem, which accident has placed in its present position. In form it is "a lyrico-dramatic dialogue between the prophet as a bystander and a victorious warrior (i.e. Jehovah) returning from battle in Idumaea" (Cheyne). Verse 1. - Who is this? The prophet opens the dialogue with an inquiry, "Who is it that presents himself before him suddenly in a strange guise?" He comes from Edom, from Bozrah - a principal Edomite city (see the comment on Isaiah 34:6) - with dyed garments; or, rather, with blood-red garments-garments incarnadined with gore. "Who is this," again he asks, "that is glorious (or, splendid) in his apparel" - the blood-stained vesture of the conqueror was a glory to him (Nahum 2:3; Revelation 19:13)- "as he travels" (or, "bends forward" ) in the greatness of his strength - exhibiting in his movements a mighty indomitable strength? Who is it? The reply is immediate - I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save; i.e. I, whose every word is "holy, just, and true," who alone am able to "save to the uttermost all that come to me" (Hebrews 7:25). The answer unmistakably indicates that the figure which has appeared to the prophet is that of Jehovah. Watchmen stationed upon the walls of Zion (says the third strophe) do not forsake Jehovah till He has fulfilled all His promise. "Upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, have I stationed watchmen; all the day and all the night continually they are not silent. O ye who remember Jehovah, leave yourselves no rest! And give Him no rest, till He raise up, and till He set Jerusalem for a praise in the earth." As the phrase hiphqı̄d ‛al signifies to make a person an overseer (president) over anything, it seems as though we ought to render the sentence before us, "I have set watchmen over thy walls." But hiphqı̄d by itself may also mean "to appoint" (2 Kings 25:23), and therefore עלח־ומתיך may indicate the place of appointment (lxx ἐπὶ τῶν τειχέων σου, upon thy walls: ̔Ιερουσαλήμ κατέστησα φύλακας). Those who are stationed upon the walls are no doubt keepers of the walls; not, however, as persons whose exclusive duty it is to keep the walls, but as those who have committed to them the guarding of the city both within and without (Sol 5:7). The appointment of such watchmen presupposes the existence of the city, which is thus to be watched from the walls. It is therefore inadmissible to think of the walls of Jerusalem as still lying in ruins, as the majority of commentators have done, and to understand by the watchmen pious Israelites, who pray for their restoration, or (according to b. Menachoth 87a; cf., Zechariah 1:12) angelic intercessors. The walls intended are those of the city, which, though once destroyed, is actually imperishable (Isaiah 49:16) and has now been raised up again. And who else could the watchmen stationed upon the walls really be, but prophets who are called tsōphı̄m (e.g., Isaiah 52:8), and whose calling, according to Ezekiel 33, is that of watchmen? And if prophets are meant, who else can the person appointing them be but Jehovah Himself? The idea that the author of these prophecies is speaking of himself, as having appointed the shōmerı̄m, must therefore be rejected. Jehovah gives to the restored Jerusalem faithful prophets, whom He stations upon the walls of the city, that they may see far and wide, and be heard afar off. And from those walls does their warning cry on behalf of the holy city committed to their care ascent day and night to Jehovah, and their testimony go round about to the world. For after Jerusalem has been restored and re-peopled, the further end to be attained is this, that Jehovah should build up the newly founded city within (cōnēn the consequence of bânâh, Numbers 21:27, and ‛âsâh, Isaiah 45:18; Deuteronomy 32:6; cf., Isaiah 54:14 and Psalm 87:5), and help it to attain the central post of honour in relation to those without, which He has destined for it. Such prophets of the times succeeding the captivity (nebhı̄'ı̄m 'achărōnı̄m; cf., Zechariah 1:4) were Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. Haggai stands upon the walls of Jerusalem, and proclaims the glory of the second temple as surpassing that of the first. Zechariah points from Joshua and Zerubbabel onwards to the sprout of Jehovah, who is priest and prince in one person, and builds the true temple of God. Malachi predicts the coming of the Lord to His temple, and the rising of the Sun of righteousness. Under the eyes of these prophets the city of God rose up again, and they stand upon its pinnacles, and look thence into the glorious future that awaits it, and hasten its approach through the word of their testimony. Such prophets, who carry the good of their people day and night upon their anxious praying hearts, does Jehovah give to the Jerusalem after the captivity, which is one in the prophet's view with the Jerusalem of the last days; and in so lively a manner does the prophet here call them up before his own mind, that he exclaims to them, "Ye who remind Jehovah, to finish gloriously the gracious work which He has begun," give yourselves to rest (dŏmi from dâmâh equals dâmam, to grow dumb, i.e., to cease speaking or working, in distinction from châshâh, to be silent, i.e., not to speak or work), and allow Him no rest till He puts Jerusalem in the right state, and so glorifies it, that it shall be recognised and extolled as glorious over all the earth. Prophecy here sees the final glory of the church as one that gradually unfolds itself, and that not without human instrumentality. The prophets of the last times, with their zeal in prayer, and in the exercise of their calling as witnesses, form a striking contrast to the blind, dumb, indolent, sleepy hirelings of the prophet's own time (Isaiah 56:10).
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