Isaiah 42:2
He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
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(2) He shall not cry . . .—Isaiah’s ideal of a teacher, but partly realised in himself, is that of one exempt from the violence of strong feelings, calm in the sereneness of authority, strong in his far-reaching and pitying sympathy. False prophets might rave as in orgiastic frenzy. We are reminded of Solon affecting the inspiration of a soothsayer in order to attract attention to his converts. Even true prophets might be stirred to vehement and incisive speech, but it should not be so with him. No point of resemblance between the archetype and the portrait seems to have impressed men so deeply as this (Matthew 7:29; Matthew 12:17-21). The “street” describes the open space of an Eastern city, in which, as in the Greek agora, men harangued the people, while “the gate of the city” was reserved for the more formal administration of justice. (Ruth 4:1; Proverbs 31:23.)

Isaiah 42:2-3. He shall not cry — In a way of contention or ostentation. He shall neither erect nor govern his kingdom with violence or outward pomp and state, like worldly princes, but with meekness and humility. He shall not lift up — Namely, his voice; nor cause it to be heard in the street — As contentious and vain-glorious persons frequently do. “He shall instruct those that oppose themselves, with all meekness and gentleness; he shall patiently endure the contradictions of sinners against himself, and not vindicate himself against their calumnies in an angry or clamorous manner.” — Lowth. A bruised reed shall he not break — He will not deal roughly or rigorously with those that come to him, but he will use all gentleness and kindness to them, bearing with their infirmities, cherishing and encouraging the smallest beginnings of grace, supporting and comforting such as are bowed down under the burden of their sins, and healing wounded consciences. And the smoking flax shall he not quench — That wick of a candle, which is almost extinct, he will not quench, but revive and kindle it again. He shall bring forth judgment, &c. — The law of God, or the doctrine of the gospel, which he will bring forth unto, with, or according to truth — That is, truly and faithfully. St. Matthew reads the clause, Till he send forth judgment unto victory, expressing not so much the words, as the sense, of the original, which seems to be, “till he make the cause of righteousness and truth completely victorious, and gloriously triumphant over all opposition.”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.He shall not cry - He will not make a clamor or noise; he will not be boisterous, in the manner of a man of strife and contention.

Nor lift up - That is, his voice.

Nor cause his voice to be heard in the street - He shall not t use loud and angry words, as they do who are engaged in conflict, but all his teaching shall be gentle, humble, and mild. How well this agrees with the character of the Lord Jesus it is not necessary to pause to show. He was uniformly unostentatious, modest, and retiring. He did not even desire that his deeds should be blazoned abroad, but sought to be withdrawn from the world, and to pursue his humble path in perfect peace.

2. Matthew [Mt 12:19] marks the kind of "cry" as that of altercation by quoting it, "He shall not strive" (Isa 53:7).

street—the Septuagint translates "outside." An image from an altercation in a house, loud enough to be heard in the street outside: appropriate of Him who "withdrew Himself" from the public fame created by His miracles to privacy (Mt 12:15; Mt 12:34, there, shows another and sterner aspect of His character, which is also implied in the term "judgment").

He shall not cry; either,

1. In a way of contention, as anger is oft accompanied with clamour, Ephesians 4:31. Or,

2. In a way of ostentation. It seems to be meant both ways, by comparing this place with Matthew 12:16,17,20. He shall neither erect nor manage his kingdom with violence and outward pomp and state, as Worldly princes do, but with meekness and humility.

Nor lift up his voice, which is easily understood out of the following clause, and from many other scriptures, where that word is added to this verb to complete the phrase.

Nor cause his voice to be heard in the street; as contentious and vain-glorious persons frequently do. He shall not cry,..... According to Aben Ezra and Kimchi, as a judge in court is obliged to extend his voice that he may be heard: the Evangelist Matthew renders it, "he shall not strive"; or contend in a disputatious way, about mere words and things to no profit, or litigate a point in law; he shall bring no complaints, or enter an action against any, but rather suffer wrong, as he advises his followers, Matthew 5:40, for this does not respect the lowness of his voice in his ministry; in this sense he often cried, as Wisdom is said to do, Proverbs 1:20, "nor lift up"; that is, his voice, as Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech supply it; or, as others, he shall not lift up faces, or accept persons; and so the Vulgate Latin version renders it,

neither shall he accept any person; or the person of any man, which is true of Christ; but the former sense seems best, which agrees with what goes before and follows after:

nor cause his voice to be heard in the street; his voice was heard in the street in a ministerial way; he sometimes preached in the street, as in many other public places, Luke 13:26, but not in a clamorous contentious way; not in an opprobrious and menacing manner; nor in a way of ostentation, boasting of himself, his doctrines, and miracles, but behaved with great humility and meekness; his kingdom was without pomp and noise, which worldly princes are attended with; but this was not to be, nor was it his case; See Gill on Matthew 12:19.

He shall not {e} cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.

(e) His coming will not be with pomp and noise, as earthly princes.

2. The Servant’s unobtrusive manner of working. Not by clamorous self-assertion in the high places of the world, but by silent spiritual influences his great work shall be accomplished. Comp. the striking application in Matthew 12:17 ff. This feature of the Servant’s activity can hardly have been suggested by the demeanour of the prophets of Israel; and for that reason the prophecy is all the more wonderful as a perception of the true conditions of spiritual work. It reminds us of the “still small voice” in which Elijah was made to recognise the power of Jehovah (1 Kings 19:12 f). nor lift up] sc. his voice.Verse 2. - He shall not cry, nor lift up. Supply, after "lift up," "his voice" from the next clause. His methods shall be quiet and gentle. He shall not seek to recommend his teaching by clamour or noisy demonstrations. There shall be a marked unobtrusiveness in all his doings (comp. Matthew 8:4; Matthew 9:30; Matthew 12:15; Matthew 14:13; John 5:13; John 6:15; John 7:3, 4; John 8:59; John 10:40, etc.). The more conclusively and incontrovertibly, therefore, does Jehovah keep the field as the moulder of history and foreteller of the future, and therefore as God above all gods. "I have raised up from the north, and he came: from the rising of the sun one who invokes my name; and he treads upon satraps as mud, and like a potter kneadeth clay." The object of the verb hâ‛ı̄rōthı̄ (I have wakened up) is he who came when wakened up by Jehovah from the north and east, i.e., from Media and Persia (ויּאת equals ויּאתּ for ויּאת, with evasion of the auxiliary pathach, Ges. 76, 2, c), and, as the second clause affirms, who invokes or will invoke the name of Jehovah (at any rate, qui invocabit is the real meaning of qui invocat). For although the Zarathustrian religion, which Cyrus followed, was nearest to the Jehovah religion of all the systems of heathenism, it was a heathen religion after all. The doctrine of a great God (baga vazarka), the Creator of heaven and earth, and at the same time of a great number of Bagas and Yazatas, behind whose working and worship the great God was thrown into the shade, is (apart from the dualism condemned in Isaiah 45:7) the substance of the sacred writings of the Magi in our possession, as confirmed by the inscriptions of the Achemenides.

(Note: Windischmann, Zoroastrische Studien, pp. 134, 135.)

But the awakened of Jehovah would, as is here predicted, "call with the name, or by means of the name, of Jehovah," which may mean either call upon this name (Zephaniah 3:9; Jeremiah 10:25), or call out the name (compare Exodus 33:19; Exodus 34:5, with Exodus 35:30) in the manner in which he does make use of it in the edict setting the exiles free (Ezra 1:2). The verb יבא which follows (cf., Isaiah 41:2) designated him still further as a conqueror of nations; the verb construed with an accusative is used here, as is very frequently the case, in the sense of hostile attack. The word Sâgân, which is met with first in Ezekiel - apart, that is to say, from the passage before us - may have owed its meaning in the Hebrew vocabulary to its similarity in sound to sōkhēn (Isaiah 22:15); at any rate, it is no doubt a Persian word, which became naturalized in the Hebrew (ζωγάνης in Athenaeus, and Neo-Pers. sichne, a governor: see Ges. Thes.), though this comparison is by no means so certain

(Note: Spiegel has the following remarks upon the subject: There is but very little probability in the etymologies which can be suggested for the word sâgân through the help of the old Persian. The new Persian shihne cannot be traced beyond Neo-Persian, and even there it is somewhat suspicious on account of the ḥ which it contains, and which is not Persian. The only real Persian word to which I could think of tracing it is shahr, a city (old Bactrian khshathra, or shoithra, a place of abode); or it might possibly have sprung from shoithraka, a supposititious word, in the sense of governor of a district, but with the r changed into n (a change which only occurs in Huzvaresh) and the h into ḥ. There are also difficulties in the comparison of the old Bactrian canh, to say or express solemnly. An adjective canhâna (expressing, commanding), formed from this verb, would be pronounced canhâna or even câna in old Persian; and from this Sâgân would have to be obtained, so that we should still want the n to take the place of the Gimel. At the same time, there is a still harsher form of the root canh in the Gatha dialect, namely cak (not the same as the Sanskrit cak, to be strong, as Haug supposes), though this comparison is by no means so certain, from which the Neo-Persian sachan, sachun, a word, is derived; so that it appears to have been also current in old Persian. Accordingly, the form cakâna may also have been used in the place of canhâna, and this might suit in some degree for sâgân.)

as that σατράπης is the same as the Ksatrapâv of the inscriptions, i.e., protector of the kingdom.

(Note: See H. Rawlinson, Asiatic Journal, xi. 1, p. 116 ss.; and Spiegel, Keilinschriften, p. 194.)

Without at all overlooking the fact that this word segânı̄m, so far as it can really be supposed to be a Persian word, favours the later composition of this portion of the book of Isaiah, we cannot admit that it has any decisive weight, inasmuch as the Persian word pardēs occurs even in the Song of Solomon. And the indications which might be found in the word segânı̄m unfavourable to Isaiah's authorship are abundantly counterbalanced by what immediately follows.

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