Isaiah 63:5
And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore my own arm brought salvation to me; and my fury, it upheld me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(5) I looked . . .—As in Isaiah 1:2, the absolute isolation of the avenger and redeemer is emphasised again and again. Nothing but his own indomitable and righteous zeal against evil had sustained him.

Isaiah 63:5-6. I looked, and there was none to help — “Things were come to that extremity, that there was no appearance of succour by any human means. Those who, by their office and character, ought to have stood up in defence of oppressed truth and righteousness, even they, contrary to what might have been justly expected, betrayed so good a cause, or had not the courage to defend it. So that it was time for God to interpose, and to appear in defence of his own honour and people.” Therefore my own arm, &c. — See note on Isaiah 59:16. And my fury, it upheld me — Or, my zeal rather, namely, against the adversaries of my church, and for the deliverance of my people: I was resolved to vindicate my own honour, and my concern for my people made me go through with the undertaking in spite of all opposition. Thus God says, Zechariah 8:2, I was jealous for Zion with great fury. God’s arm signifies his strength and power, and his zeal sets his power on work. And I will tread down — The LXX. render it, κατεπατησα, I have trodden down the people in mine anger. So also the vulgar Latin, which translation agrees better with the context where Christ is described as having his garments already stained with the blood of his enemies. And made them drunk in my fury — “God’s judgments are often represented by a cup of intoxicating liquor, because they astonish men, and bereave them of their usual discretion.” See the note on Isaiah 51:17.63:1-6 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.And I looked and there was none to help - The same sentiment is expressed in Isaiah 59:16 (see the note at that verse).

None to uphold - None to sustain or assist. The design is to express the fact that he was entirely alone in this work: that none were disposed or able to assist him. Though this has no direct reference to the plan of salvation, or to the work of the Messiah as a Redeemer, yet it is true of him also that in that work he stood alone. No one did aid him or could aid him; but alone he 'bore the burden of the world's atonement.'

My fury, it upheld me - My determined purpose to inflict punishment on my foes sustained me. There is a reference doubtless to the fact that courage nerves the arm and sustains a man in deadly conflict; that a purpose to take vengeance, or to inflict deserved punishment, animates one to make efforts which he could not otherwise perform. In Isaiah 59:16, the sentiment is, 'his righteousness sustained him;' here it is that his fury did it. There the purpose was to bring salvation; here it was to destroy his foes.

5. The same words as in Isa 59:16, except that there it is His "righteousness," here it is His "fury," which is said to have upheld Him. There was none to help; not that he needed it, for help implies a defect of power, or wisdom, or wealth, or opportunity, &c.; but to see what men would do, in regard his people needed it; therefore the standing or not standing by his people is the same thing with standing or not standing by him, Judges 5:23 Matthew 25:35,40,42,45.

None to uphold; a metaphor taken from a staff, that is a help to one that leans on it.

My fury, or zeal, viz. against the adversaries of the church. God’s arm notes his strength and power, and his zeal sets this power on work, Isaiah 9:7; but See Poole "Isaiah 59:16", See Poole "Isaiah 59:17". And I looked, and there was none to help,.... As, in the first redemption and salvation by Christ here on earth, there were none among the angels, nor any of the sons of men, to help him and assist him therein, none but Jehovah the Father; so, in this latter salvation, the church and people of God will be reduced to such a low, helpless, and forlorn condition, that there will be none to lend an assisting hand; their deliverance will appear most manifestly to be the sole work of almighty power:

and I wondered that there was none to uphold; not the Saviour and Redeemer, he needed none; but his people under their sufferings, trials, and exercises, and his sinking, dying, cause and interest: this is spoken after the manner of men, and to make the salvation appear the more remarkable, distinguishing, and great, and solely his own work; for otherwise expectation and disappointment, consternation and amazement, as the word (r) signifies, cannot be properly ascribed to this great Redeemer:

therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; to himself, his mystical self, his church and people, and for his own glory; a salvation which his own omnipotent arm could only effect; See Gill on Isaiah 59:16,

and my fury it upheld me; his zeal for his church and people, and his indignation against their enemies, excited his almighty power on their behalf, and carried him through the work of their deliverance and salvation he engaged in; see Isaiah 9:7.

(r) "et obstupui, Musculus; stupefactus sum", Vatablus; "et obstupesceban", Cocceius; "stupebam", Vitringa.

And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore my own {e} arm brought salvation to me; and my fury, it upheld me.

(e) God shows that he has no need of man's help for the deliverance of his, and though men refuse to do their duty through negligence and ingratitude, yet he himself will deliver his Church, and punish the enemies, Isa 59:16.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
5. Comp. ch. Isaiah 59:16. The verse explains why it is that Jehovah treads the winepress “alone” (Isaiah 63:3). The expectation that some human helper would appear on the side of Jehovah is more remarkable here than in ch. Isaiah 59:16, where the judgement was on Israel itself, and the complaint might be that even within the chosen nation no champion of righteousness could be found. The idea that such a champion might have been found amongst heathen nations is of course much less easily explained; unless, with Duhm, we suppose that the prophet is sadly contrasting his own age with the more hopeful time of the Second Isaiah, when the faith of Israel was directed to Cyrus as the agent of Jehovah’s purposes on earth.Verse 5. - And I looked, and there was none to help (comp. Isaiah 5:2, "He looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes:" also Isaiah 41:28, "I beheld, and there was no man"). By an anthropomorphism God is represented as looking for and expecting what might reasonably have been expected, and even as surprised when he does not find it (comp. Isaiah 59:16). Out of all the many nations it was reasonable to suppose that some would have chosen the better part and have been on the Lord's side. But the fact was otherwise (comp. ver. 3). Mine own arm brought salvation unto me; or, mine own arm helped me (comp. Isaiah 59:16). Nothing more is needed. If God arises, his enemies at once "are scattered" (Psalm 68:1). "His own right hand, and his holy arm, get him the victory" (Psalm 98:1). The concluding strophe goes back to the standpoint of the captivity. "Go forth, go forth through the gates, clear the way of the people. Cast up, cast up the road, clear it of stones; lift up a banner above the nations! Behold, Jehovah hath caused tidings to sound to the end of the earth. Say to the daughter of Zion, Behold, thy salvation cometh; behold, His reward is with Him, and His recompense before Him. And men will call them the holy people, the redeemed of Jehovah; and men will call thee, Striven after, A city that will not be forsaken." We cannot adopt the rendering proposed by Gesenius, "Go ye into the gates," whether of Jerusalem or of the temple, since the reading would then be שׁערים בּאוּ (Genesis 23:10) or בשּׁערים (Jeremiah 7:2). For although בּ עבר may under certain circumstances be applied to entrance into a city (Judges 9:26), yet it generally denotes either passing through a land (Isaiah 8:21; Isaiah 34:10; Genesis 41:46; Leviticus 26:6, etc.), or through a nation (2 Samuel 20:14), or through a certain place (Isaiah 10:28); so that the phrase בּשּׁער עבר, which does not occur anywhere else (for in Micah 2:13, which refers, however, to the exodus of the people out of the gates of the cities of the captivity, שׁער ויּעברוּ do not belong together), must refer to passing through the gate; and the cry בשׁערים עברוּ means just the same as מבּבל צאוּ ("Go ye forth from Babylon") in Isaiah 48:20; Isaiah 52:11.

The call to go out of Babylon forms the conclusion of the prophecy here, just as it does in Isaiah 48:20-21; Isaiah 52:11-12. It is addressed to the exiles; but who are they to whom the command is given, "Throw up a way," - a summons repeatedly found in all the three books of these prophecies (Isaiah 40:3; Isaiah 57:14)? They cannot be the heathen, for this is contradicted by the conclusion of the charge, "Lift ye up a banner above the nations;" nor can we adopt what seems to us a useless fancy on the part of Stier, viz., that Isaiah 62:10 is addressed to the watchmen on the walls of Zion. We have no hesitation, therefore, in concluding that they are the very same persons who are to march through the gates of Babylon. The vanguard (or pioneers) of those who are coming out are here summoned to open the way by which the people are to march, to throw up the road (viz., by casting up an embankment, hamsillâh, as in Isaiah 11:16; Isaiah 49:11; maslūl, Isaiah 35:8), to clear it of stones (siqqēl, as in Isaiah 5:2; cf., Hosea 9:12, shikkēl mē'âdâm), and lift up a banner above the nations (one rising so high as to be visible far and wide), that the diaspora of all places may join those who are returning home with the friendly help of the nations (Isaiah 11:12; Isaiah 49:22). For Jehovah hath caused tidings to be heard to the end of the earth, i.e., as we may see from what follows, the tidings of their liberation; in other words, looking at the historical fulfilment, the proclamation of Cyrus, which he caused to be issued throughout his empire at the instigation of Jehovah (Ezra 1:1). Hitzig regards השׁמיע as expressing what had actually occurred at the time when the prophet uttered his predictions; and in reality the standpoint of the prophets was so far a variable one, that the fulfilment of what was predicted did draw nearer and nearer to it ἐν πνεύματι. But as hinnēh throughout the book of Isaiah, even when followed by a perfect, invariably points to something future, all that can be said is, that the divine announcement of the time of redemption, as having now arrived, stands out before the soul of the prophet with all the certainty of a historical fact. The conclusion which Knobel draws from the expression "to the end of the earth," as to the Babylonian standpoint of the prophet, is a false one. In his opinion, "the end of the earth" in such passages as Psalm 72:8; Zechariah 9:10 ('aphsē-'ârets), and Isaiah 24:16 (kenaph hâ'ârets), signifies the western extremity of the orbis orientalis, that is to say, the region of the Mediterranean, more especially Palestine; whereas it was rather a term applied to the remotest lands which bounded the geographical horizon (compare Isaiah 42:10; Isaiah 48:20, with Psalm 2:8; Psalm 22:28, and other passages). The words that follow ("Say ye," etc.) might be taken as a command issued on the ground of the divine hishimiă‛ ("the Lord hath proclaimed"); but hishimiă‛ itself is a word that needs to be supplemented, so that what follows is the divine proclamation: Men everywhere, i.e., as far as the earth or the dispersion of Israel extends, are to say to the daughter of Zion - that is to say, to the church which has its home in Zion, but is now in foreign lands - that "its salvation cometh," i.e., that Jehovah, its Saviour, is coming to bestow a rich reward upon His church, which has passed through sever punishment, but has been so salutarily refined. Those to whom the words "Say ye," etc., are addressed, are not only the prophets of Israel, but all the mourners of Zion, who become mebhasserı̄m, just because they respond to this appeal (compare the meaning of this "Say ye to the daughter of Zion" with Zechariah 9:9 in Matthew 21:5). The whole of the next clause, "Behold, His reward," etc., is a repetition of the prophet's own words in Isaiah 40:10. It is a question whether the words "and they shall call thee," etc., contain the gospel which is to be proclaimed according to the will of Jehovah to the end of the earth (see Isaiah 48:20), or whether they are a continuation of the prophecy which commences with "Behold, Jehovah hath proclaimed." The latter is the more probable, as the address here passes again into an objective promise. The realization of the gospel, which Jehovah causes to be preached, leads men to call those who are now still in exile "the holy people," "the redeemed" (lit. ransomed, Isaiah 51:10; like pedūyē in Isaiah 35:10). "And thee" - thus does the prophecy close by returning to a direct address to Zion-Jerusalem - "thee will men call derūshâh," sought assiduously, i.e., one whose welfare men, and still more Jehovah, are zealously concerned to promote (compare the opposite in Jeremiah 30:17) - "a city that will not be forsaken," i.e., in which men gladly settle, and which will never be without inhabitants again (the antithesis to ‛ăzūbhâh in Isaiah 60:15), possibly also in the sense that the gracious presence of God will never be withdrawn from it again (the antithesis to ‛ăzūbhâh in Isaiah 62:4). נעזבה is the third pers. pr., like nuchâmâh in Isaiah 54:11 : the perfect as expressing the abstract present (Ges. 126, 3).

The following prophecy anticipates the question, how Israel can possibly rejoice in the recovered possession of its inheritance, if it is still to be surrounded by such malicious neighbours as the Edomites.

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