|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
49:7-12 The Father is the Lord, the Redeemer, and Holy One of Israel, as sending the Son to be the Redeemer. Man, whom he came to save, put contempt upon him. To this he submitted for our salvation. He is a pledge for all the blessings of the covenant; in him God was reconciling the world to himself. Pardoning mercy is a release from the curse of the law; renewing grace is a release from the dominion of sin: both are from Christ. He saith to those in darkness, Show yourselves. Not only see, but be seen, to the glory of God, and your own comforts. Though there are difficulties in the way to heaven, yet the grace of God will carry us over them, and make even the mountains a way. This denotes the free invitations and the encouraging promises of the gospel, and the outpouring of the Spirit.
Verse 8. - In an acceptable time; literally, in a time of good pleasure; i.e. the time fixed by my good pleasure from the creation of the world. Heard thee... helped thee. The Father "heard" and "helped" the only begotten Son through the whole period of his earthly ministry (Luke 2:40, 52; John 3:2; John 8:28; John 12:28; John 14:10, etc.). I will give thee for a Covenant of the people (comp. Isaiah 42:6, and the comment, ad loc.). To establish the earth; rather, as in ver. 6, to raise up the earth, to lift it out of its existing condition of meanness and degradation. To cause to inherit the desolate heritages; i.e. to cause the desolate heritages of the earth - the places devoid of trite religion - to be possessed, and as it were "inherited," by those who would introduce into them the true knowledge of God. As Israel inherited Canaan (Deuteronomy 3:28; Joshua 1:6), so would Christian nations inherit many "desolate heritages," where ignorance and sin prevailed, with the result that light would penetrate into the dark regions, and, ultimately, all flesh see the salvation of God.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thus saith the Lord,.... These are the words of God the Father to his Son continued; the Jews themselves interpret them of the Messiah (z):
in an acceptable time have I heard thee: this was the time when Christ was here on earth, when he became incarnate, and suffered and died for his people: this was an acceptable time to God the Father; his very sufferings were acceptable; his sacrifice was of a sweet smelling savour; his righteousness was well pleasing to him; for by all this his perfections were glorified, his purposes were answered, his covenant and promises fulfilled, and his people saved: it was acceptable to men, the things that were now done and procured; as pardon of sin, peace and reconciliation, a justifying righteousness, and complete salvation; which is worthy the acceptation of all that are lost and undone, and see themselves so, and that nothing they can do will save them: or "in a time of good will" (a); such was the time of Christ's first coming; it was good will to men, Luke 2:14. God showed his good will to men by the Person whom he sent to save them, his own, only, and beloved Son; and by sending him to save sinners, the chief of sinners, even enemies; and this time was fixed and settled by the good will and pleasure of God; and during this time the Lord heard Christ; he always heard him interceding for himself, and for his people; he heard him in the garden, and on the cross, and at all other times; see Hebrews 5:7.
and in a day of salvation have I helped thee; at the time when he wrought out the salvation of his people, then he helped him in it, and through it, as he promised him, and as Christ believed he would, Isaiah 42:1. This is to be understood of him as man and Mediator, and to show the greatness of the work of salvation, and the concern of God in it; otherwise, as Christ is the mighty God, he needed no help, and his own arm brought salvation to him:
and I will preserve thee; as he did from his enemies in life, in his infancy, and when grown up, that his life might not be taken away before his time; from being overcome by his enemies in the garden, and on the cross; from the power of death and the grave, by raising him up from thence; he preserved him to his kingdom and glory, and now retains him in heaven until the time of the restitution of all things; and will preserve his seed, and his throne, his cause, and interest, to the end of time:
and give thee for a covenant of the people; Jews and Gentiles, all that are given to him, and whom he redeems by his blood, whom the Spirit sanctifies, and applies the blessings and promises of the covenant to; which is to be understood of the covenant of grace: Christ is said to be given for it unto them, he being a covenantee in it; the representative of these people in it; the surety of it for them; the Mediator and messenger of it to them; and the ratifier and confirmer of it; and as he is the great blessing of it, the sum and substance of it; and as all the blessings and promises of it are in him; and this may respect the constitution of the covenant from everlasting, and the manifestation of it in time; and this is a gift of God honourable to Christ, of free grace to his people, very comprehensive and unspeakable. Kimchi says this refers to the times of the Messiah: and the end of all this is
to establish the earth; not the land of Judea, but the whole earth; which, were it not for Christ, and his covenant and suretyship engagements for his people, and for the sake of them, and their salvation, would long ago have been dissolved and broke to pieces; but he bears up the pillars of it; and, when he has gathered in all his people, will destroy it: or the end in his being given for a covenant was to "raise up" the fallen inhabitants of the earth, for so the word (b) may be rendered; or to raise up the elect of God unto life, who were obnoxious to death; or to establish, settle, and confirm the church of God on earth; see Psalm 89:36. The Targum is, "to raise up the righteous that lie in the dust", referring it to the resurrection of the dead:
to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; the desolate cities of Judah, or the Gentile world, which was like a desolate wilderness: it seems to denote the desolate condition of the church, which should become comfortable and flourishing through the numerous conversions of Jews and Gentiles, as the fruit and effect of the covenant of grace made with Christ; in which the Heathen were given for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession, Psalm 2:8.
(z) In Pesikta Rabbati in Yalkut in loc. (a) "in tempore gratuitae voluntatis", Munster; "in tempore placito", V. L. Pagninus; "beneplaciti", Piscator. (b) "ad suscitandam terram", Pagninus, Montanus; "ut erigas terram", Piscator; "ad erigendam terram", Vitringa.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
8. Messiah is represented as having asked for the grace of God in behalf of sinners; this verse contains God the Father's favorable answer.
an acceptable time—"In a time of grace" [Hengstenberg]. A limited time (Isa 61:2; 2Co 6:2). The time judged by God to be the best fitted for effecting the purposes of His grace by Messiah.
heard thee—(Ps 2:8; Heb 5:7).
day of salvation—when "the fulness of time" (Ga 4:4) shall have come. The day of salvation is "to-day" (Heb 4:7).
helped—given Thee the help needed to enable Thee, as man, to accomplish man's salvation.
preserve—from the assaults and efforts of Satan, to divert Thee from Thy voluntary death to save man.
covenant of the people—(See on Isa 42:6). "The people," in the singular, is always applied exclusively to Israel.
establish the earth—rather, "to restore the land," namely, Canaan to Israel. Spiritually, the restoration of the Church (the spiritual Israel) to the heavenly land forfeited by man's sin is also included.
cause to inherit … desolate heritages—image from the desolate state of Judea during the Babylonish captivity. Spiritually, the Gentile world, a moral waste, shall become a garden of the Lord. Literally, Judea lying desolate for ages shall be possessed again by Israel (compare Isa 61:7, "in their land"). Jesus, the antitype of, and bearing the same name as Joshua (Heb 4:8), shall, like him, divide the land among its true heirs (Isa 54:3; 61:4).
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