|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
42:18-25 Observe the call given to this people, and the character given of them. Multitudes are ruined for want of observing that which they cannot but see; they perish, not through ignorance, but carelessness. The Lord is well-pleased in the making known his own righteousness. For their sins they were spoiled of all their possessions. This fully came to pass in the destruction of the Jewish nation. There is no resisting, nor escaping God's anger. See the mischief sin makes; it provokes God to anger. And those not humbled by lesser judgments, must expect greater. Alas! how many professed Christians are blind as the benighted heathen! While the Lord is well-pleased in saving sinners through the righteousness of Christ he will also glorify his justice, by punishing all proud despisers. Seeing God has poured out his wrath on his once-favoured people, because of their sins, let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should be found to come short of it.
Verse 19. - Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger? God's original "servant" and "messenger" to the nations was his people Israel. It was only through their default that he needed to send another and truer messenger. He now asks, having regard to their opportunities, who are so blind and deaf as they are? The object of the question is to wake a feeling of shame in the hearts of those who are not shameless among the Israelites. That I sent; rather, whom I will send. Israel's mediatorial office was not yet over. They were still, for above five hundred years, to be God's messenger to the nations. As he that is perfect; rather, as he that receives reward from me (see Proverbs 11:31; Proverbs 13:13). The word used is connected etymologically with the Arabic muslim (our "Moslem"); but it does not appear to have had the sense of "surrender" or "submission" in Hebrew.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Who is blind, but my servant?.... Kimchi, taking the former words to be spoken to the Jews, thinks this is their reply; who will say in answer to it, why do ye call us blind and deaf? who so blind and deaf as Isaiah the prophet, the servant of the Lord, his messenger, and a perfect one as he is called? but as the preceding words are spoken to the Gentiles, here the Lord does as it were correct himself, as if he should say, why do I call the Gentiles blind and deaf, when the people of the Jews, who call themselves my servants, and pretend to serve and worship me, yet there are none so blind as they in spiritual things? though they have so many opportunities and advantages of light and knowledge, yet shut their eyes wilfully against the light; hence the people and their guides, the Scribes and Pharisees, are often called "blind" by our Lord, to whose times this passage refers, Matthew 15:14; "or deaf, as my messenger that I sent?" not the Prophet Isaiah, but some other, who did not attend to what he was charged with, and did not perform his office aright; it may design in general the priests and Levites, who were the messengers of the Lord of hosts to instruct the people; and yet these were deaf to the messages that God gave them, and they were to deliver to the people: or it may be rendered, "or deaf, but, or as, to whom I send my messenger" (z); or messengers, as the Vulgate Latin version; and so the Targum,
"and sinners to whom I send my prophets;''
and so it may respect the body of the people as before, who were deaf to John the Baptist, the messenger sent before the Lord; to Christ himself, and his ministry, and to his apostles, who were first sent to them:
who is blind, as he that is perfect? who pretended to be so, as the young man who thought he had kept all the commandments, and as Saul before conversion, and all the Pharisees, those self-righteous persons who needed no repentance, and yet who so blind as they? and indeed, had they not been blind to themselves, they could never have thought themselves perfect; and yet when they were told they were so, could not bear it, Matthew 19:20, and blind, as the Lord's servant? which is repeated for the further confirmation of it, and more clearly to show whose servant is meant.
(z) "et surdus, sicut (sub. ad quem, vel ad quos) angelum sive nucium meum missurus sum", Forerius, ex V. L. and to this sense, Grotius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. my servant—namely, Israel. Who of the heathen is so blind? Considering Israel's high privileges, the heathen's blindness was as nothing compared with that of Israelite idolaters.
my messenger … sent—Israel was designed by God to be the herald of His truth to other nations.
perfect—furnished with institutions, civil and religious, suited to their perfect well-being. Compare the title, "Jeshurun," the perfect one, applied to Israel (compare Isa 44:2), as the type of Messiah [Vitringa]. Or translate, the friend of God, which Israel was by virtue of descent from Abraham, who was so called (Isa 41:8), [Gesenius]. The language, "my servant" (compare Isa 42:1), "messenger" (Mal 3:1), "perfect" (Ro 10:4; Heb 2:10; 1Pe 2:22), can, in the full antitypical sense, only apply to Christ. So Isa 42:21 plainly refers to Him. "Blind" and "deaf" in His case refer to His endurance of suffering and reproach, as though He neither saw nor heard (Ps 38:13, 14). Thus there is a transition by contrast from the moral blindness of Israel (Isa 42:18) to the patient blindness and deafness of Messiah [Horsley].
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