To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)To open the blind eyes.—The prophet must have felt the contrast between this and his own mission (Isaiah 6:10). The words all point to spiritual blessings. (Comp. St. Paul’s call in Acts 26:18.) The “prison” is that of the selfishness and sin which hinder men from being truly free. In the “prisoners of hope” of Zechariah 9:11, and the “spirits in prison” of 1Peter 3:18, we have different aspects of the same thought.
To bring out the prisoners from the prison - (Compare Isaiah 61:1-2). This evidently refers to a spiritual deliverance, though the language is derived from deliverance from a prison. It denotes that he would rescue those who were confined in mental darkness by sin; and that their deliverance from the thraldom and darkness of sin would be as wonderful as if a prisoner should be delivered suddenly from a dark cell, and be permitted to go forth and breathe the pure air of freedom. Such is the freedom which the gospel imparts; nor can there be a more striking description of its happy effects on the minds and hearts of darkened and wretched people (compare 1 Peter 2:9).
prison—(Isa 61:1, 2).
darkness—opposed to "light" (Isa 42:6; Eph 5:8; 1Pe 2:9).The blind eyes; the eyes of their minds blinded with long ignorance, and deep prejudice, and inveterate error, and by the power and policy of the god of this world, 2 Corinthians 4:4, which nothing but the almighty power of God could cure.
The prisoners; sinners, unto are taken captive by the devil at his will, as we read, 2 Timothy 2:26, and as daily experience showeth, and who are enslaved and chained by their own lusts, and made free-men only by Christ, John 8:32,36. Compare this portion of Scripture with Isaiah 61:1, and both with Luke 4:17-21, where it is said to be fulfilled in and by Christ.
to bring out the prisoners from the prison; who were concluded in sin, shut up in unbelief, and under the law, the captives of Satan, and held fast prisoners by him and their own lusts, under the dominion of which they were:
and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house: of sin, Satan, and the law; being under which, they were in a state of darkness and ignorance as to things divine and spiritual. The allusion is to prisons, which are commonly dark places. Vitringa, by the "prisoners", understands the Jews shut up under the law; and by those in "darkness" the Gentiles, destitute of all divine knowledge.To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. to open [the] blind eyes] The subject of this and the following verb might be either Jehovah or His Servant, and the point is not quite settled by ch. Isaiah 49:8. The latter, however, seems more probable from Isaiah 49:6. The reference is no doubt to the Servant’s work on Israel. The “blindness” spoken of is spiritual (see Isaiah 42:18-20); imprisonment is a metaphor for the Captivity (Isaiah 42:22); although a spiritual application may be included here also.Verse 7. - To open the blind eyes. The Messiah was to cure both physical and. spiritual blindness (see Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 32:3; Isaiah 35:5, etc.). Here it is spiritual blindness that is specially intended, as appears both by the symbolic language of the two conjoined clauses, and by the comment of vers. 16-19. To bring out the prisoners from the prison; rather, to bring out prisoners. To deliver from the bondage of sin such as are its slaves, and shut up in its prison-houses. The promise is general, but, like all spiritual promises, conditioned by the willingness of those who are its objects to avail themselves of it. Them that sit in darkness (comp. Isaiah 9:2). Isaiah 41:29 is now followed by a second hēn. With the former, Jehovah pronounced sentence upon the idolaters and their idols; with the latter, He introduces His "servant." In Isaiah 41:8 this epithet was applied to the nation, which had been chosen as the servant and for the service of Jehovah. But the servant of Jehovah who is presented to us here is distinct from Israel, and has so strong an individuality and such marked personal features, that the expression cannot possibly be merely a personified collective. Nor can the prophet himself be intended; for what is here affirmed of this servant of Jehovah goes infinitely beyond anything to which a prophet was ever called, or of which a man was ever capable. It must therefore be the future Christ; and this is the view taken in the Targum, where the translation of our prophecy commences thus: "Hâ' ‛abhdı̄ Meshı̄châ." Still there must be a connection between the national sense, in which the expression "servant of Jehovah" was used in Isaiah 41:8, and the personal sense in which it is used here. The coming Saviour is not depicted as the Son of David, as in chapters 7-12, and elsewhere, but appears as the embodied idea of Israel, i.e., as its truth and reality embodied in one person. The idea of "the servant of Jehovah" assumed, to speak figuratively, the from of a pyramid. The base was Israel as a whole; the central section was that Israel, which was not merely Israel according to the flesh, but according to the spirit also; the apex is the person of the Mediator of salvation springing out of Israel. And the last of the three is regarded (1.) as the centre of the circle of the promised kingdom - the second David; (2.) the centre of the circle of the people of salvation - the second Israel; (3.) the centre of the circle of the human race - the second Adam. Throughout the whole of these prophecies in chapters 40-66 the knowledge of salvation is still in its second stage, and about to pass into the third. Israel's true nature as a servant of God, which had its roots in the election and calling of Jehovah, and manifested itself in conduct and action in harmony with this calling, is all concentrated in Him, the One, as its ripest fruit. The gracious purposes of God towards the whole human race, which were manifested even in the election of Israel, are brought by Him to their full completion. Whilst judgments are inflicted upon the heathen by the oppressor of the nations, and display the nothingness of idolatry, the servant of Jehovah brings to them in a peaceful way the greatest of all blessings. "Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, whom my soul loveth: I have laid my Spirit upon Him; He will bring out right to the Gentiles." We must not render the first clause "by whom I hold." Tâmakh b' means to lay firm hold of and keep upright (sustinere). נפשׁי רצתה (supply בו or אתו, Job 33:26) is an attributive clause. The amplified subject extends as far as naphshii; then follows the predicate: I have endowed Him with my Spirit, and by virtue of this Spirit He will carry out mishpât, i.e., absolute and therefore divine right, beyond the circle in which He Himself is to be found, even far away to the Gentiles. Mishpât is the term employed here to denote true religion regarded on its practical side, as the rule and authority for life in all its relations, i.e., religion as the law of life, νομός.
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