|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
42:1-4 This prophecy was fulfilled in Christ, Mt 12:17. Let our souls rely on him, and rejoice in him; then, for his sake, the Father will be well-pleased with us. The Holy Spirit not only came, but rested upon him, and without measure. He patiently bore the contradiction of sinners. His kingdom is spiritual; he was not to appear with earthly honours. He is tender of those oppressed with doubts and fears, as a bruised reed; those who are as smoking flax, as the wick of a lamp newly lighted, which is ready to go out again. He will not despise them, nor lay upon them more work or more suffering than they can bear. By a long course of miracles and his resurrection, he fully showed the truth of his holy religion. By the power of his gospel and grace he fixes principles in the minds of men, which tend to make them wise and just. The most distant nations wait for his law, wait for his gospel, and shall welcome it. If we would make our calling and election sure, and have the Father delight over us for good, we must behold, hear, believe in, and obey Christ.
Verse 4. - He shall not fail nor be discouraged; literally, he will not burn dimly nor be bruised. He will himself show no signs of that weakness which he will compassionate in others. As a "Light" (Luke 2:32; John 1:4-9), he will burn brightly and strongly; as a Reed, or Rod, he will be firm and unbroken. Till he have set judgment in the earth; i.e. till he has succeeded in establishing true religion upon the earth (compare the last clause of ver. 1). The isles; or, the countries (comp. Isaiah 41:1, 5). Shall wait for his Law; or, shall long for his Law. Yakhal is "to wait longingly." It is, as Delitzsch observes, "an actual fact that the cry for redemption runs through the whole human race." They are possessed by "an earnest longing, the ultimate object of which is, however unconsciously, the Servant of Jehovah, and his instruction from Zion" ('Comment. on Isaiah,' vol. 2. p. 177).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He shall not fail,.... For want of strength to go through the work of redemption: or, "grow dim" (i) and dark, as a lamp for want of oil, or as the wick of a candle ready to go out. Hence the Septuagint version, "he shall shine (k)"; in the glory of his person, as the Son of God; in the fulness of his grace, as Mediator, which shall never fail; and in the hearts of his people by his Spirit; and in his Gospel published to the world:
nor be discouraged; at the number, power, and menaces of his enemies, he had to grapple with, sin, Satan, the world, and death: or,
nor be broken (l); with the weight of all the sins of his people upon him; and with a sense of divine wrath; and with the whole punishment due unto them, inflicted on him, enough to have broke the backs and spirits of men and angels; but he stood up under the mighty load, and did not sink beneath it, but endured all with an invincible courage and resolution of mind:
till he have set judgment in the earth; fully satisfied the justice of God for the sins of his people, and performed the work of their redemption in righteousness; and then he sent and settled his Gospel in the world, proclaiming the same; and fixed a set of Gospel ordinances to continue the remembrance of it, till his second coming. Maimonides (m) produces this passage to prove that the Messiah shall die, because it is said, "he shall not fail--till", &c.; but this does not signify that he should fail afterwards, but that he should continue always:
and the isles shall wait for his law; his doctrine or Gospel, the law or doctrine of faith, particularly that of justification by his righteousness, with every other; this the inhabitants of the islands, or distant countries, the Gentiles, should be desirous of hearing, readily embrace and receive, and trust in Christ, made known to them in it. The Septuagint version is, "and in his name shall the Gentiles trust"; and so in Matthew 12:20.
(i) , "non caligabit", Pagninus, Montanus. (k) Sept. (l) "nec fraugetur", Paguinus, Montanus. (m) Porta Mosis, p. 160.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
4. fail—faint; man in religion may become as the almost expiring flax-wick (Isa 42:3), but not so He in His purposes of grace.
discouraged—literally, "broken," that is, checked in zeal by discouragements (compare Isa 49:4, 5). Rosenmuller not so well translates, "He shall not be too slow on the one hand, nor run too hastily on the other."
judgment—His true religion, the canon of His judgments and righteous reign.
isles … wait, &c.—The distant lands beyond sea shall put their trust in His gospel way of salvation. Mt 12:21 virtually gives the sense, with the inspired addition of another aspect of the same thing, "In his name shall the Gentiles trust" (as "wait for" here means, Isa 30:18). "His law" is not something distinct from Himself, but is indeed Himself, the manifestation of God's character ("name") in Christ, who is the embodiment of the law (Isa 42:21; Jer 23:6; Ro 10:4). "Isles" here, and in Isa 42:12, may refer to the fact that the populations of which the Church was primarily formed were Gentiles of the countries bordering on the Mediterranean.
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