|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
49:24-26 We were lawful captives to the justice of God, yet delivered by a price of unspeakable value. Here is an express promise: Even the prey of the terrible shall be delivered. We may here view Satan deprived of his prey, bound and cast into the pit; and all the powers that have combined to enslave, persecute, or corrupt the church, are destroyed; that all the earth may know that our Saviour and Redeemer is Jehovah, the mighty One of Jacob. And every effort we make to rescue our fellow-sinners from the bondage of Satan, is, in some degree, helping forward that great change.
Verse 24. - Shall the prey be taken, etc.? The incredulous among the exiles thought it well-nigh impossible that Babylon should be forced to disgorge her prey - the captives whose labours were so valuable to her. Babylon was mighty. By the laws of war she had a rightful claim to her captives. How was she to be induced or compelled to give them up?
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Shall the prey be taken from the mighty,.... This is an objection to the accomplishment of what is predicted and promised above, taken from the power of the enemy, and his right to detain the people; and are either the words of the nations among whom the Jews were, according to Kimchi, boasting of, and presuming upon, and opposing to what is said, both their might and right, to keep the people in their own hands, bidding as it were defiance to any to attempt to take them from them; or the words of the prophet, in the name of the people, as Aben Ezra, objecting to their deliverance, doubting the effecting of it, or admiring at it: it may be applied to the taking of the Lord's people out of the hands of Satan, who may be said to be "mighty" or "strong", as he appears to be from his nature, a spirit; from his names, the strong man armed, a roaring lion, the great red dragon, leviathan, the piercing serpent, &c.; and from his power and dominion over the evil angels, and over men, both their bodies and souls; and to whom the Lord's own people are a "prey", while they are in a state of nature, as all mankind, and every unconverted man, be; a difficult thing it is to take any out of his hands, and a wonder of grace it is when it is done:
or the lawful captive delivered? justly and lawfully taken captive in war, as the Jews were by the Babylonians: or, "the captivity of the righteous be delivered" (t); that is, either the righteous who were taken captives; or those that took them, who were so in their opinion, at least with respect to the taking of them, doing, as they judged, what was lawful and just. The people of God are in their state of nature led by Satan at his will, and are lawful captives in the judgment of him, and his principalities; and are in reality taken in war by him, and not only led captive by him at his will, but with their own will, and are justly given up unto him. Perhaps all this may be better referred to the people of God being a prey to the Romish antichrist, and detained as a lawful captive by him, and to the difficult and wonderful deliverance of them from him in the latter day; see Revelation 13:4. The Targum interprets this and the following verse of the captives of Esau and Ishmael, by whom seem to be meant the Pope and Turk.
(t) "et an captivitas justi evadet", Montanus; "vel liberabitur", Munster; "captiva turba justi", Vitringa. And by the righteous Gussetius (Ebr. Comment. p. 709.) understands God the Father, who is righteous as a judge, exercising vindictive justice; and from him another person delivers us, namely, God the Son, the Messiah. A sense truly evangelical.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. the prey—Israel, long a prey to mighty Gentile nations, whose oppression of her shall reach its highest point under Antichrist (Da 11:36, 37, 41, 45).
lawful captive—the Jews justly consigned for their sins (Isa 50:1) as captives to the foe. Secondarily, Satan and Death are "the mighty" conquerors of man, upon whom his sin give them their "lawful" claim. Christ answers that claim for the sinners, and so the captive is set free (Job 19:25; 14:14; Mt 12:29; Ho 6:2, where Isa 49:4 shows the primary reference is to Israel's restoration, to which the resurrection corresponds; Isa 26:19; Eph 4:8; Heb 2:14, 15). Others not so well translate, "the captives taken from among the just Israelites."
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