Isaiah 49:7
Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.
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(7) To him whom man despiseth.—Literally, to one despised of soul, where “soul” may either stand for “men” as in the Authorised version, or imply that the contempt enters into the soul of the sufferer. (Comp. Psalm 105:18.) The point of the words lies in the fact that the doer of the great work is to be despised by the world’s judgment or by his own people, by proud rulers (comp. 1Corinthians 1:27); and yet he, and no other, will accomplish it.

Isaiah 49:7. To him whom man despiseth — To Christ, to whom, in the days of his flesh, this description most truly and fully agreed, being the same in effect with that Isaiah 53:3, for men, both Jews and Gentiles, among whom he lived, did despise him from their hearts; and the nation, of which he was a member, abhorred both his person and his doctrine; and he was so far from being a temporal monarch that he came in the form of a servant, and was a servant of rulers, professing subjection, and paying tribute unto Cesar, and being treated by the rulers, both of the Jews and Romans, like a servant, being despitefully used and crucified, which was then a kind of punishment inflicted only on slaves or servants. Kings shall see — Though for a time thou shalt be despised, yet after a while thou shalt be advanced to such glory, that kings shall look upon thee with reverence: and arise — From their seats to worship thee. Because the Lord that is faithful — Because God shall make good his promises to thee. And he shall choose thee — And although thou shalt be rejected by thine own people, yet God will manifest to the world that thou, and thou only, art the person whom he hath chosen to be the Redeemer of mankind. The words imply the wonderful progress of the gospel from small beginnings; and show that the Author of it, from being the contempt of the great men of the world, should come to be the object of their adoration.

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.Thus saith the Lord - This verse contains a promise of the future honor that should await the Redeemer, and of the success which should crown his work. The sense is, that Yahweh had promised to him who was despised and rejected, that kings and princes should yet rise up and honor him.

The Redeemer of Israel - (See the note at Isaiah 43:1).

To him whom man despiseth - On the construction of the Hebrew here, see Gesenius, Vitringa, and Hengstenberg. The phrase לבזה־נפשׁ libezoh-nephesh (to the despised of soul), means evidently one who is despised, rejected, contemned by people. The word 'soul' here (נפשׁ nephesh) means the same as man; that is, every man. It was a characteristic of him that he was despised and rejected by all; and the prophet, in this verse, has given a summary of all that be has said respecting him in Isaiah 53:1-12.

To him whom the nation abhorreth - The word 'nation' here refers doubtless to the Jewish people, as in Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 10:6. The word rendered 'abhorreth' means "for an abomination" (למתעב limetâ‛ēb), Piel participle, from תעב tâ‛ab), and the idea is, that he was regarded as an abomination by the people. The same idea is more fully expressed in Isaiah 53:3-4, that the Messiah would be rejected and treated with abhorrence by the nation as such - a statement which the slightest acquaintance with the New Testament will lead anyone to see has been literally fulfilled. No being ever excited more abhorrence; no man was ever regarded with so much abomination by any people as Jesus of Nazareth was, and still is, by the Jewish people. He was condemned by the Sanhedrim; publicly rejected by the nation; and at the instigation and by the desire of the assembled people at Jerusalem, he was executed as a malefactor in the most shameful and ignominious manner then known (see Luke 23:18-23). To this day, his name excites the utmost contempt among Jews, and they turn from him and his claims with the deepest abhorrence. The common name by which he is designated in the Jewish writings is Tolvi - 'the crucified;' and nothing excites more deep abhorrence and contempt than the doctrine that they, and all others, can be saved only by the merits of 'the crucified.' The Chaldee renders all this in the plural, 'To those who are contemned among the people, to those who have migrated to ether kingdoms, to those who serve other lords.'

To a servant of rulers - This probably means that the Messiah voluntarily submitted himself to human power, and yielded obedience to human rulers. The idea, if interpreted by the facts as recorded in the New Testament, is, that though he was the ruler of all worlds, yet he voluntarily became subject to human laws, and yielded submission and obedience to human rulers. For this purpose he conformed to the existing institutions of his country at the time when he lived; he paid the customary tax or tribute that was laid for the support of religion Matthew 17:27; he submitted to a trial before the Sanhedrim, and before Pilate, though both were conducted in a manner that violated all the principles of justice; and he submitted to the unjust decree which condemned him to die. He was, therefore, all his life, subject to rulers. He was not only exemplary and strict in obeying the laws of the land; but he became, in a more strict sense, their servant, as he was deprived of his liberty, comfort, and life at their caprice. He refrained himself from exerting his divine power, and voluntarily became subject to the will of others.

Kings shall see and arise - That is, kings shall see this, and shall rise up with demonstrations of respect and reverence. They shall see the fulfillment of the divine promises by which he is destined to be the light of the nations, and they shall render him honor as their teacher and Redeemer. To rise up, or to prostrate themselves, are both marks of respect and veneration.

Princes also shall worship - The word used here, (ישׁתחווּ yı̂shettachăvû), from שׁחה shâchâh) means "to bow down, to incline oneself"; it then means "to prostrate oneself" before anyone, in order to do him honor or reverence. This was the customary mode of showing respect or reverence in the East. It consisted generally in falling upon the knees, and then touching the forehead to the ground, and is often alluded to in the Bible (see Genesis 42:6; Genesis 18:2; Genesis 19:1; Nehemiah 8:6). This honor was paid not only to kings and princes as superior 2 Samuel 9:8, but also to equals Genesis 23:7; Genesis 37:7, Genesis 37:9-10. It was the customary form of religious homage, as it is still in the East, and denoted sometimes religious worship Genesis 22:5; 1 Samuel 1:3; but not necessarily, or always (see the note at Matthew 2:11; compare Matthew 8:2; Matthew 14:33; Matthew 15:25; Matthew 18:26; Mark 5:6). Here it does not mean that they would render to him religious homage, but that they would show him honor, or respect.

Because of the Lord that is faithful - It is because Yahweh is faithful in the fulfillment of his promises, and will certainly bring this to pass. The fact that he shall be thus honored shall be traced entirely to the faithfulness era covenant-keeping God.

And he shall choose thee - Select thee to accomplish this, and to be thus a light to the pagan world. It is needless to say that this has been fulfilled. Kings and princes have bowed before the Redeemer; and the time will yet come when in far greater numbers they shall adore him. It is as needless to say, that these expressions can be applied to no other one than the Messiah. It was not true of Isaiah that he was the light of the pagan, or for salvation to the ends of the earth; nor was it true of him that kings arose and honored him, or that princes prostrated themselves before him, and did him reverence. Of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus alone, was all this true; and the assurance is thus given, that though he was rejected by his own nation, yet the time will come when the kings and princes of all the world shall do him homage.

7. whom man despiseth—Hebrew, "the despised of soul," that is, by every soul, by all men (Isa 52:14, 15; 53:3; 50:6-9; Ps 22:6). Lowth translates, "whose person is despised."

abhorreth—literally, "who is an abomination to the nation" (Lu 23:18-23). The Jews contemptuously call Him always Tolvi, "the crucified." I prefer, on account of Goi, the Hebrew term for nation being usually applied to the Gentiles, and that for people to the Jews (Ho 1:9; so the Greek terms respectively also Laos and Ethne, Ro 9:25), to take "nation" here collectively for the Gentile world, which also spurned Him (Ps 2:1-3; Ac 4:25-27).

servant of rulers—(Mt 17:27). He who would not exert His power against the rulers (Mt 26:52, 53).

shall see—namely the fulfilment of God's promises (Isa 49:3, 6), "when He (shall be) a light to the Gentiles."

arise—to reverence Thee (Ps 72:10, 11; Php 2:10).

princes also—rather, for the parallelism, supply the ellipsis, thus, "Princes shall see and shall worship."

faithful—namely, to His promises.

choose thee—as God's elect (Isa 42:1).

His Holy One; the Holy One of Israel, as he is frequently called.

To him whom man despiseth; to Christ, to whom, as he was in the days of his flesh, this description doth most truly and fully agree, being the same in effect with that, Isaiah 53:3; for men, both Jews and Gentiles among whom he lived, did despise him from their very hearts and souls, as is here implied; and the whole nation of which he was a member, and among whom he conversed and preached, abhorred both his person and his doctrine; and he was so far from being a great temporal monarch, as the Jews vainly imagined, that he came in the form of a servant, and was

a servant of rulers, professing subjection and laying tribute unto Caesar, Matthew 17:24,25 22:21, and being treated by the rulers, both of the Jews and the Romans, like a servant, being despitefully used and crucified, which was the proper punishment of servants.

Kings shall see: though for a time thou shalt be despised, yet after a while thou shalt be advanced to such royal majesty and glory, that kings shall look upon thee with admiration and reverence,

and arise from their seats in token of reverence, as was usual, Leviticus 19:32 Judges 3:20 Job 29:8, or to worship thee, as the next clause explains it:

shall see and arise, may be put for when they see thee they shall arise to thee; which is a common Hebraism.

Because of the Lord that is faithful; because God shall make good his promises to thee concerning the raising thee from the dead, and concerning the effusion of his Spirit upon thy disciples, by whose assistance they shall preach most powerfully, and confirm their doctrine by evident and glorious miracles, and concerning the

giving unto thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession, as he promised, Psalm 2:8. These and such-like considerations were the great motives which prevailed with the princes and people of the Gentiles to receive thee as the true Messiah and Saviour of the world.

He shall choose thee: and although thou shalt be rejected by thine own people, and refused by their builders or rulers, as was prophesied, Psalm 118:22, and for a time and in some respects forsaken by God himself, Matthew 27:46; yet God will return to thee and choose thee again, and manifest unto the world, that thou, and thou only, art the person whom God hath chosen to be the Redeemer of mankind, and whom, in spite of all opposition, he will make the Head-stone of the corner. For the phrase, See Poole "Isaiah 48:10". But these words are well rendered by others, who will choose or hath chosen thee, the conjunction and being put for the pronoun relative, as Isaiah 44:14, and in many other places, as hath been observed before.

Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One,.... These are all the titles of the Father of Christ, who is the Jehovah, the self-existent Being, and from whom all have their Being; "the redeemer of Israel", being concerned with his Son in the redemption, of his people, in the contriving and settling the method of it, and bringing it about; "and his Holy One", or the Holy One of Israel, the sanctifier of them, together with the blessed Spirit; who speaks the following words, not to the Prophet Isaiah, as Aben Ezra, nor to the people of the Jews, as the Targum, Jarchi, and Kimchi, but to Christ:

to him whom man despiseth; whom the Jews despised, because of the meanness of his descent, parentage, and education; because of his doctrines, disciples, and followers; and because his kingdom was not of this world, and came not with observation: or "whom a soul despiseth", or "despised in soul" (w); heartily despised, as Christ was; or "who despiseth his soul" (x), or life, as Christ did his, for the sake of his people, for whom he freely laid his life down, and made his soul an offering for sin:

to him whom the nation abhorreth; the nation of the Jews abhorred Christ, his person, doctrine, and miracles; they hated him, and would not have him to rule over them: they persecuted him, and sought to slay him, and at last delivered him up to the Romans to be crucified:

to a servant of rulers; of Jewish rulers in subjection to them, being made under the law; and of Gentile rulers, paying tribute to Caesar, and when scourged by Pilate, and crucified by his order, which was the usual death of servants or slaves. But though he was so ill used, despised, and abhorred, he is encouraged by his divine Father, and great glory and honour are promised him:

kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship; they shall see the glory and majesty of Christ, and rise up in reverence of him, and fall down before him and worship him; which has had its accomplishment in part in Constantine, Theodosius, Valentinian, and other Christian princes, and will have a further fulfilment in the latter day; see Isaiah 49:23. This passage is interpreted by the Jews of the Messiah (y):

because of the Lord that is faithful; to his promises to him in raising him from the dead, and giving him glory; in exalting him at his own right hand; in giving him gifts for men, which he bestowed on them; in spreading and succeeding his Gospel in the Gentile world; and in the enlargement of his kingdom and interest in it; all which obliged, and will oblige, the kings and princes of the earth to own him, and pay homage to him:

and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee; or make it appear that he has chosen thee to be the Saviour and Redeemer of his people, the Head of the church, and the Judge of the whole world.

(w) "ad eum quem contemnens est anima cujusque", Glassius; "ad contemptum anima", Montanus; "contemptui animae", Cocceius. (x) , Sept. "ad contemporem animea suae", Grotius; so the Arabic version. (y) Zohar in Gen. fol. 127. 2.

Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel, and his Holy One, to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a {i} servant of rulers, Kings shall see and {k} arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful, and the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee.

(i) Meaning, the Jews whom tyrants kept in bondage.

(k) The benefit of their deliverance will be so great, that great and small will acknowledge it, and revere God for it.

7. Israel shall be raised from the deepest degradation to the highest honour. The verse is remarkable as anticipating the main idea of ch. Isa 52:13–53:15.

to him whom man despiseth] Lit. to the despised of soul; i.e. “to one who is heartily despised,” the “soul” being the seat of emotion. Comp. Psalm 17:9 (“my deadly enemies,” = “they that hate me in the soul,”). In the parallel phrase to the abhorred of people, “people” seems to be used of men in general (the German Leute) as in Genesis 20:4 (“righteous folk”). The words for “despised” and “abhorred” are both peculiar in form.

a servant of rulers] of tyrants (ch. Isaiah 14:5).

kings shall see (the exaltation of Israel) and arise] in amazement and reverence (cf. ch. Isaiah 52:15). princes also shall worship] princes (sc. shall arise) and do homage (see R.V.).

and he shall choose thee] Better, as R.V. who hath chosen thee (strictly, “and he hath chosen thee”; see Driver’s Tenses, § 76a).

7–12. The Servant’s account of his calling forms the basis of a series of promises; Isaiah 49:7 referring to his influence on the nations, and Isaiah 49:8-12 to the narrower sphere of his activity, the restoration of Israel.

Verse 7. - His Holy One; i.e. "the Holy One of Israel." To him whom man despiseth; literally, who is despised of souls. This is the first place in the prophecies of Isaiah where this note of the Messiah is brought forward. It is found earlier in the Psalms, as especially in Psalm 22:6, et seq., "I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people;" and later on it is expanded into a chapter (ch. 53.). Whom the nation abhorreth; rather, whom mankind abhorreth. The term used is goi, which points to the Gentiles rather than to the Jews. Mankind at large dislikes a "Holy One," since he is a perpetual reproach to it (see Isaiah 30:11; and comp. Plut., 'Republ.,' 7:2, ad fin.). It is not the Jews only who exclaim in such a case, "Away with him! away with him!" (John 19:15). There is such an antagonism between sin and holiness, that the ungodly everywhere and in all ages detest the godly and virtuous. A servant of rulers; or, a slave of despots; treated as a slave, i.e. by such irresponsible rulers as Herod (Luke 23:11) and Pontius Pilate (John 19:1, 16). The "King of kings" bowed himself to a slave's death. Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship (comp. Psalm 72:10, 11; Isaiah 52:15; Isaiah 50:3, 10, 11, etc.). According to a tradition - which, however, cannot be traced back to any very ancient source - the Magi who came to worship our Lord at Bethlehem were "kings." The prophecy is, however, to be regarded as having its main fulfilment in the coming to Christ of so many kings and princes, since his ascension into heaven (comp ver. 23). And the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee; rather, the Holy One of Israel, that hath chosen thee. Kings will rise from their thrones, and prostrate themselves before Messiah, convinced that Jehovah is faithful in the performance of his promises, and has chosen the Son of Mary to be the Redeemer so long announced as about to appear on earth. Isaiah 49:7The words of the servant of God, in which he enforces his claim upon the nations, are now lost in words of Jehovah to him, which are no longer reported by him, but are appended as an independent address. His present condition is one of the deepest humiliation. "Thus saith Jehovah, the Redeemer of Israel, His Holy One, to him of contemptible soul, to the abhorrence of the people, to the servant of tyrants: kings shall see and arise; princes, and prostrate themselves for the sake of Jehovah, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, that He hath chosen thee." As bâzōh with a changeable kamtez (cf., châmōts, Isaiah 1:17) has, if not exactly a passive force, yet something very like a passive circumstantial meaning, בּזה־נפשׁ must mean the man who is contemptible as regards his soul, i.e., held in contempt, or, as Hofmann explains it, whom men do not think worthy to live (though he follows Ewald, and takes bezōh as an infinitive treated as a substantive). Accordingly מתעב is also to be taken personally. The meaning abhorring is unsuitable; but תּעב is also used in a causative sense, to cause to abhor, i.e., to make a thing an abomination (Ezekiel 16:25), or to excite abhorrence: hence, "to him who excites the people's abhorrence," which is the same, so far as the sense is concerned, as "to the object of their abhorrence." But even as a participial substantive מתעב would literally mean the thing exciting abhorrence, i.e., the abhorrence, just as mekhasseh in Isaiah 23:18 signifies the thing covering, i.e., the covering. All these participial substantives of the piel indicate the thing, place, or instrument accomplishing that which the piel affirms. We need not raise the question whether gōi refers to Israel or to the heathen. It signifies the mass of men, the people, like ‛âm in Psalm 62:9, and in those passages in which it is used by our prophet for the human race generally. The mōsheilim, of whom the person here addressed is the servant or enslaved one, are obviously heathen tyrants. What is here affirmed of the "one servant of Jehovah" was no doubt also applicable to the nation generally, and more especially to that portion of the nation which was true to its calling and confession. He in whom Israel's relation of servant to Jehovah was fully realized, did indeed spring out of His own nation, when it was under the oppression of the powers of this world; and all the shame and persecution which those who remained faithful among His people had to endure from the heathen oppressors, and also from the ungodly among their own countrymen (see, for example, Isaiah 66:5), discharge their force like a violent storm upon Him as an individual. When, therefore, we find the sufferings of the people and the glory of which they became partakers described in other passages in just the same terms, we must not infer from this that "servant of Jehovah" is a collective epithet in the passage before us. The person addressed here is the Restorer of Israel, the Light of the Gentiles, the Salvation of Jehovah for all mankind. When kings and princes shall behold Him who was once brought so low, delivered from His humiliation, and exalted to the glorious height of the work to which He has been called, they will rise up with reverence from their thrones, and prostrate themselves upon the ground in worship for the sake of Jehovah, as before Him who (אשׁר emphatic, utpote qui) is faithful, showing Himself sincere in His promises, and for the sake of the Holy One of Israel, in that, as is now made manifest, "He hath chosen thee." The fut. consec. particularizes the general motive assigned, and carries it still further.
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