|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 9. - That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth, "The prisoners" here are not the captives in Babylon, but the servants of sin throughout the world. Christ would say to them, "Go forth." He would summon them by his messengers to repent and be converted, and quit the service of sin, and "go forths" from the kingdom of darkness, and "show themselves" as lights of the world (Matthew 5:14; Philippians 2:15), walking "as children of the light" (Ephesians 5:8). It is a narrow exegesis which confines the prophet's forecast to the mere return of the exiles to Palestine, and their re-settlement on their ancestral estates. They shall feed in the ways, etc. The returning "prisoners" are now represented as a flock of sheep (comp. Isaiah 40:11), whom the good Shepherd will "lead" and "guide" by ways in which they will find sufficient pasture, which shall not fail them even when they pass over bare "hill-tops" (see John 10:11-16; John 21:15-17).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
That thou mayest say to the prisoners, go forth,.... God's covenant people, while unconverted, are prisoners; they are in the prison of sin, under the power and dominion of it, and under the guilt of it, and obligation to punishment for it; and they are in the prison of the law, they are transgressors of it, and are accused and convicted by it, and are condemned, and put in prison, and held there; and they are also Satan's prisoners, and are held and led captive by him at his will; and by virtue of the covenant, and the blood of it, these prisoners are set free; and Christ in the. Gospel speaks unto them, and proclaims liberty to them; and by the knowledge of the truth they are made free, and are brought into the liberty of the children of God; and are bid to go forth, and they are brought forth from their prison houses; and bid to go to the house of God, and walk at liberty, enjoying all the privileges and ordinances of the Gospel:
to them that are in darkness; in a state of nature and unregeneracy, which is a state of infidelity and ignorance; when men are in the dark, and know not themselves, nor their lost state and condition; nor the exceeding sinfulness of sin; nor Christ, and the way of salvation by him; nor the Spirit, and the operations of his grace; nor the Scriptures, and the doctrines of them:
show yourselves; among the people of God, in his house and ordinances, when called, converted, and enlightened by Christ; or "be revealed" (c) or manifested, when they are known to be, what they were not knows before, the people and children of God. The Targum is,
"be revealed to the light;''
such are called to partake of the light of grace, and to enjoy the light of comfort and communion:
they shall feed in the ways; not in the broad road and highways of sin, but in the ways of God, in the word and ordinances: this denotes the publicness and pleasantness of them, and the plenty of provisions in them; and yet where it might not be expected, and where exposed to enemies: the allusion is to cattle, that are drove from place to place, and as they pass along feed in the ways upon such pasture as they there find; and suggests, that the saints are travellers, and as such have food provided them by the way:
and their pastures shall be in all high places; on hills and mountains, which are often barren and unfruitful. The Targum is,
"in or by rivers of water shall be the place of their habitation.''
(c) "revelamini", V. L. Munster, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
9. (Isa 42:7; Zec 9:12).
prisoners—the Jews bound in legal bondage.
them … in darkness—the Gentiles having no light as to the one true God [Vitringa].
Show yourselves—not only see but be seen (Mt 5:16; Mr 5:19). Come forth from the darkness of your prison into the light of the Sun of righteousness.
in the ways, &c.—In a desert there are no "ways," nor "high places," with "pastures"; thus the sense is: "They shall have their pastures, not in deserts, but in cultivated and inhabited places." Laying aside the figure, the churches of Christ at the first shall be gathered, not in obscure and unknown regions, but in the most populous parts of the Roman empire, Antioch, Alexandria, Rome, &c. [Vitringa]. Another sense probably is the right one. Israel, on its way back to the Holy Land, shall not have to turn aside to devious paths in search of necessaries, but shall find them in all places wherever their route lies; so Rosenmuller. God will supply them as if He should make the grass grow in the trodden ways and on the barren high places.
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