|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
61:4-9 Promises are here made to the Jews returned out of captivity, which extend to all those who, through grace, are delivered out of spiritual thraldom. An unholy soul is like a city that is broken down, and has no walls, like a house in ruins; but by the power of Christ's gospel and grace, it is fitted to be a habitation of God, through the Spirit. When, by the grace of God, we attain to holy indifference as to the affairs of this world; when, though our hands are employed about them, our hearts are not entangled with them, but preserved entire for God and his service, then the sons of the alien are our ploughmen and vine-dressers. Those whom He sets at liberty, he sets to work. His service is perfect freedom; it is the greatest honour. All believers are made, to our God, kings and priests; and always ought to conduct themselves as such. Those who have the Lord for their portion, have reason to say, that they have worthy portion, and to rejoice in it. In the fulness of heaven's joys we shall receive more than double for all our services and sufferings. God desires truth, and therefore hates all injustice. Nor will it justify any man's robbery to say, it was for burnt-offerings; and that robbery is most hateful which is under this pretence. Let the children of godly parents be such, that all may see the fruits of a good education; an answer to the prayers for them, in the fruit of God's blessing.
Verse 5. - Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks (comp. Isaiah 14:1, 2; Isaiah 45:14; Isaiah 60:10). The Gentiles who join themselves with the Jews, and form with them one community, are constantly represented in the writings of Isaiah as occupying a subordinate position. In the New Testament, Jew and Gentile are put upon a par. Is the explanation that Isaiah assumes that the Jews generally will accept the gospel, and therefore, to some extent, retain their privileges in the new community, whereas, in fact, they rejected the gospel, and so lost their natural position (see Romans 11:7-20)? Or does Isaiah look onward to a later date? And is there to be a restoration of "Israel according to the flesh" upon their conversion, and a reinstatement of them in a position of privilege? Such a condition of things seems glanced at in Romans 11:23-29, and in Revelation 7:4-9; Revelation 14:1. The sons of the alien shall be your ploughmen and your vinedressers. Not so much compelled, like the Gibeonites (Joshua 9:21-27), to perform menial offices, as undertaking them voluntarily out of good will.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And strangers shall stand and feed your flocks,.... The several congregated churches of Christ, which shall be set among them, compared to flocks of sheep, as they often are; and which shall be fed with knowledge and understanding, with the words of faith and sound doctrine, by pastors of the Gentile race; who shall be raised up by Christ, and shall freely, and faithfully, and constantly perform the office they are called unto; see Acts 20:28,
and the sons of the alien shall be your ploughmen, and your vinedressers: the sons of Gentiles, who were aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of promise, Ephesians 2:12, but now being converted and brought to the knowledge of Christ, and gifted by him, will be of eminent service in his church; which, as it is "God's husbandry", 1 Corinthians 3:9 shall be filled and cultivated by them; the fallow ground of men's hearts shall be ploughed up by them, with the plough of the Gospel the Lord succeeding their labours; and the seed of the word sown in them, which, by the blessing of God, shall take root, spring up, and bring forth fruit. And whereas the church of God is compared to a vineyard, and particular churches of Christ to vines; such men as are called by grace from among the Gentiles, and have received gifts from Christ, shall be the keepers and dressers of these vines, plant, and prune, and water them, and do everything requisite unto them; see Sol 2:15.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
5. stand—shall wait on you as servants (Isa 14:1, 2; 60:10).
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