Isaiah 61:1
The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;
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(1) The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me . . .—We have obviously a new poem in the form of a soliloquy, and we ask, “Who is the speaker.?” The Jewish Targum and many modern critics hear only the voice of Isaiah. Guided by Isaiah 41:1; Isaiah 1:4-9, we recognise here, as there, the utterance of the ideal Servant of Jehovah. That view, it needs scarcely be said, is the one suggested to all Christian minds by our Lord’s application of the passage to His own work in Luke 4:16-22. The opening words repeat what had been said by Jehovah of the Servant in Isaiah 42:1. The “anointing,” as it stands, might be that of king (1Samuel 9:16; 1Samuel 10:1), or priest (Exodus 29:2; Leviticus 7:36), or prophet (1Kings 19:16). As interpreted by its fulfilment, it may be held to include all three.

To preach good tidings . . .—Comp. Note on Isaiah 40:9. To this passage, more than any other, even than Isaiah 40:9, we may trace the use of the word “gospel” (“evangel,” “good tidings”) in our Lord’s teaching and that of the Apostles. Claiming the promise as fulfilled in Himself, He became the great evangelist, and all who followed Him were called to the same office.

To bind up the broken-hearted . . .—The primary thought is that of a healing bandage applied to the heart’s wounds. (Comp. 1:6), The Servant of Jehovah is the great physician as well as the evangelist.

To proclaim liberty.—Phrase and thought are taken from the law of the Year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:10; Ezekiel 46:17; Jeremiah 34:8).

The opening of the prison.—The LXX., adopted in Luke 4:18, gives “recovery of sight to the blind;” and as the verb is never used for the opening of a room or door, and is used in Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 42:7, for the opening of the eyes, that is probably its meaning here.

Isaiah 61:1. The Spirit of the Lord is upon me — To qualify me for effecting what is foretold and promised in the foregoing chapter. As Christ has applied this passage to himself, (see Luke 4:16,) and assured us that it was fulfilled in him, we may, with the utmost reason, conclude that he is here introduced by the prophet in his own person, and not that the prophet speaks of himself, as some have thought. Because, or rather, for, the Lord hath anointed me — Hath commissioned me with authority, qualified me with gifts, and set me apart, for the important offices here mentioned. Prophets, priests, and kings, among the Jews, were usually appointed and set apart to their several offices, as we have repeatedly seen, by anointing them with oil, which ceremony was used by the express command of God, and was intended to show, not only that the persons so anointed were called to, but were, or should be, qualified for, these offices, with suitable gifts and graces. But the anointing of Christ, who was to sustain offices incomparably more important, and productive of infinitely greater effects, was of another nature, he being anointed, not with external and corruptible oil, but with the eternal Spirit of the incorruptible God, which qualified him for every part of the great work to which he was called, beyond all others that were before him. Which Spirit he had without measure, John 3:34; and therefore is said (Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:9) to be anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. To preach good tidings — Namely, tidings of salvation, of pardoning mercy, of renewing grace, and of eternal glory; unto the meek — Or, poor, as the words are rendered by the LXX., whom the evangelists follow Luke 4:18; Matthew 11:5; namely, to the penitent, the humble, and poor in spirit; to whom the tidings of a Redeemer, and of salvation through him, are indeed good tidings, faithful sayings, and worthy of all acceptation. These, and even the poor, as to worldly circumstances, are best disposed to receive the gospel, James 2:5; and then it is likely to profit them when it is received with meekness, as it ought to be. This relates to Christ’s prophetic office. To bind up the broken-hearted — To give relief and comfort to persons burdened and distressed with a sense of the guilt and power of their sins, and of the wrath of God, to which they are obnoxious. It is a metaphor taken from surgeons binding up wounds: see Isaiah 1:6. This relates to Christ’s priestly office, his blood being the true expiation of sin, and the procuring cause of pardon and peace to the guilty. To proclaim liberty to the captives — Namely, liberty from the dominion and bondage of sin and Satan, of the world and the flesh, and from the slavish, tormenting fear of death and hell. This appertains to his kingly office. And those whom he, who is exalted to be a prince, as well as a Saviour, makes free, are free indeed; not only discharged from the miseries of captivity and bondage, but advanced to all the immunities and dignities of citizens. This is the gospel proclamation, and it is like the blowing of the jubilee trumpet, which proclaimed the great year of release, Leviticus 25:9; Leviticus 25:40; in allusion to which, it is here called the acceptable year of the Lord; the time in which men should find acceptance with God, which is the origin of their liberties: or, it is called the year of the Lord, because it publishes his free grace, to his own glory; and an acceptable year, because it brings glad tidings to us; and what cannot but be very acceptable to those who know the capacities and necessities of their own souls.

61:1-3 The prophets had the Holy Spirit of God at times, teaching them what to say, and causing them to say it; but Christ had the Spirit always, without measure, to qualify him, as man, for the work to which he was appointed. The poor are commonly best disposed to receive the gospel, Jas 2:5; and it is only likely to profit us when received with meekness. To such as are poor in spirit, Christ preached good tidings when he said, Blessed are the meek. Christ's satisfaction is accepted. By the dominion of sin in us, we are bound under the power of Satan; but the Son is ready, by his Spirit, to make us free; and then we shall be free indeed. Sin and Satan were to be destroyed; and Christ triumphed over them on his cross. But the children of men, who stand out against these offers, shall be dealt with as enemies. Christ was to be a Comforter, and so he is; he is sent to comfort all who mourn, and who seek to him, and not to the world, for comfort. He will do all this for his people, that they may abound in the fruits of righteousness, as the branches of God's planting. Neither the mercy of God, the atonement of Christ, nor the gospel of grace, profit the self-sufficient and proud. They must be humbled, and led to know their own character and wants, by the Holy Spirit, that they may see and feel their need of the sinner's Friend and Saviour. His doctrine contains glad tidings indeed to those who are humbled before God.The Spirit of the Lord God - Hebrew, The Spirit of the Lord Yahweh.' The Chaldee renders this, 'The prophet said, the spirit of prophecy from the presence of Yahweh God is upon me.' The Syriac, 'The Spirit of the Lord God.' The Septuagint, Πνεῦμα Κυρίου Pneuma Kuriou - 'The Spirit of the Lord,' omitting the word אדני 'ădonāy. So Luke quotes it in Luke 4:18. That this refers to the Messiah is abundantly proved by the fact that the Lord Jesus expressly applied it to himself (see Luke 4:21). Rosenmuller, Gesenius, and some others, suppose that it refers to Isaiah himself, and that the idea is, that the prophet proclaims his commission as authorized to administer consolation to the suffering exiles in Babylon. It cannot be denied that the language is such as may be applied in a subordinate sense to the office of the prophet, and that the work of the Redeemer is here described in terms derived from the consolation and deliverance afforded to the long-suffering exiles. But in a much higher sense it refers to the Messiah, and received an entire completion only as applied to him and to his work. Even Grotius, who has been said to 'find Christ nowhere in the Old Testament,' remarks, 'Isaiah here speaks of himself, as the Chaldee observes; but in him we see not an obscure image of Christ.' Applied to the Redeemer, it refers to the time when, having been baptized and set apart to the work of the Mediatorial office, he began publicly to preach (see Luke 4:21). The phrase 'the Spirit of Yahweh is upon me,' refers to the fact; that he had been publicly consecrated to his work by the Holy Spirit descending on him at Iris baptism Matthew 3:16; John 1:32, and that the Spirit of God had been imparted to him 'without measure' to endow him for his great office (John 3:34; see the notes at Isaiah 11:2).

Because the Lord hath anointed me - The word rendered 'hath anointed' (משׁח mâshach), is that from which the word Messiah is derived (see the notes at Isaiah 45:1). prophets and kings were set apart to their high office, by the ceremony of pouring oil on their heads; and the idea here is that God had set apart the Messiah for the office which he was to bear, and had abundantly endowed him with the graces of which the anointing oil was an emblem. The same language is used in reference to the Messiah in Psalm 45:7 (compare Hebrews 1:9).

To preach good tidings - On the meaning of the word (בשׂר bâs'ar) rendered here 'to preach good tidings,' see the notes at Isaiah 52:7. The Septuagint renders it, Εὐαγγελίσασθαι Euangelisasthai - 'To evangelize,' to preach the gospel.

Unto the meek - The word rendered 'meek' (ענוים ‛ănâviym) properly denotes the afflicted, the distressed, the needy. The word 'meek' means those who are patient in the reception of injuries, and stands opposed to revengeful and irascible. This is by no means the sense of the word here. It refers to those who were borne down by calamity in any form, and would be particularly applicable to those who had been sighing in a long captivity in Babylon. It is not improperly rendered by the Septuagint by the word πτωχοῖς ptōchois, 'poor,' and in like manner by Luke Luk 4:18; and the idea is, that the Redeemer came to bring a joyful message to those who were oppressed and borne down by the evils of poverty and calamity (compare Matthew 11:5).

To bind up the broken-hearted - (See the notes at Isaiah 1:6). The broken-hearted are those who are deeply afflicted and distressed on any account. It may be either on account of their sins, or of captivity and oppressionk, or of the loss of relations and friends. The Redeemer came that he might apply the balm of consolation to all such hearts, and give them joy and peace. A similar form of expression occurs in Psalm 147:3 :

He healeth the broken in heart,

And bindeth up their wounds.

To proclaim liberty to the captives - This evidently is language which is taken from the condition of the exiles in their long captivity in Babylon. The Messiah would accomplish a deliverance for those who were held under the captivity of sin similar to that of releasing captives from long and painful servitude. The gospel does not at once, and by a mere exertion of power, open prison doors, and restore captives to liberty. But it accomplishes an effect analogous to this: it releases the mind captive under sin; and it will finally open all prison doors, and by preventing crime will prevent the necessity of prisons, and will remove all the sufferings which are now endured in confinement as the consequence of crime. It may be remarked further, that the word here rendered 'liberty' (דרור derôr) is a word which is properly applicable to the year of Jubilee, when all were permitred to go free Leviticus 25:10 : 'And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty (דרור derôr) throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof.' So in Jeremiah 34:8-9, it is used to denote the manumission of slaves: 'To proclaim liberty (דרור derôr) unto them; that every man should let his man-servant and every man his maid-servant, being an Hebrew, or an Hebrewess, go free.' So also Isaiah 61:1, of the same chapter.

So also in Ezekiel 46:17, it is applied to the year in which the slave was by law restored to liberty. Properly, therefore, the word has reference to the freedom of those who are held in bondage, or to servitude; and it may be implied that it was to be a part of the purpose of the Messiah to proclaim, ultimately, universal freedom, and to restore all people to their just rights. If this is the sense - and I see no reason to doubt it - while the main thing intended was that he should deliver people from the inglorious servitude of sin, it also means, that the gospel would contain principles inconsistent with the existence of slavery, and would ultimately produce universal emancipation. Accordingly it is a matter of undoubted fact that its influence was such that in less than three centuries it was the means of abolishing slavery throughout the Roman empire; and no candid reader of the New Testament can doubt that if the principles of Christianity were universally followed, the last shackle would soon fall from the slave. Be the following facts remembered:

1. No man ever made another originally a slave under the influence of Christian principle. No man ever kidnapped another, or sold another, BECAUSE it was done in obedience to the laws of Christ.

2. No Christian ever manumitted a slave who did not feel that in doing it he was obeying the spirit of Christianity, and who did not have a more quiet conscience on that account.

3. No man doubts that if freedom were to prevail everywhere, and all men were to be regarded as of equal civil rights, it would be in accordance with the mind of the Redeemer.

4. Slaves are made in violation of all the precepts of the Saviour. The work of kidnapping and selling men, women, and children; of tearing them from their homes, and confining them in the pestilential holds of ships on the ocean, and of dooming them to hard and perpetual servitude, is not the work to which the Lord Jesus calls his disciples.

5. Slavery, in fact, cannot be maintained without an incessant violation of the principles of the New Testament. To keep people in ignorance; to witchold from them the Bible; to prevent their learning to read; to render nugatory the marriage contract, or to make it subject to the will of a master; to deprive a man of the avails of Iris own labor without his consent; to make him or his family subject to a removal against his will; to prevent parents from training up their children according to their own views of what is right; to fetter and bind the intellect and shut up the avenues to knowledge as a necessary means of continuing the system; and to make people dependent wholly on others whether they shall hear the gospel or be permitted publicly to embrace it, is everywhere deemed essential to the existence of slavery, and is demanded by all the laws which rule over the regions of a country cursed with this institution. In the whole work of slavery, from the first capture of the unoffending person who is made a slave to the last act which is adopted to secure his bondage, there is an incessant and unvarying trampling on the laws of Jesus Christ. Not one thing is done to make and keep a slave in accordance with any command of Christ; not one thing which would be done if his example were followed and his law obeyed. Who then can doubt that he came ultimately to proclaim freedom to all captives, and that the prevalence of his gospel will yet be the means of universal emancipation? (compare the notes at Isaiah 58:6).



Isa 61:1-11. Messiah's Offices: Restoration of Israel.

Messiah announces His twofold commission to bring gospel mercy at His first coming, and judgments on unbelievers and comfort to Zion at His second coming (Isa 61:1-9); the language can be applied to Isaiah, comforting by his prophecies the exiles in Babylon, only in a subordinate sense.

1. is upon me; because … hath anointed me—quoted by Jesus as His credentials in preaching (Lu 4:18-21). The Spirit is upon Me in preaching, because Jehovah hath anointed Me from the womb (Lu 1:35), and at baptism, with the Spirit "without measure," and permanently "abiding" on Me (Isa 11:2; Joh 1:32; 3:34; Ps 45:7; with which compare 1Ki 1:39, 40; 19:16; Ex 29:7). "Anointed" as Messiah, Prophet, Priest, and King.

good tidings—as the word "gospel" means.

the meek—rather, "the poor," as Lu 4:18 has it; that is, those afflicted with calamity, poor in circumstances and in spirit (Mt 11:5).

proclaim liberty—(Joh 8:31-36). Language drawn from the deliverance of the Babylonian captives, to describe the deliverance from sin and death (Heb 2:15); also from the "liberty proclaimed" to all bond-servants in the year of jubilee (Isa 61:2; Le 25:10; Jer 34:8, 9).

opening of the prison—The Hebrew rather is, "the most complete opening," namely, of the eyes to them that are bound, that is, deliverance from prison, for captives are as it were blind in the darkness of prison (Isa 14:17; 35:5; 42:7) [Ewald]. So Lu 4:18 and the Septuagint interpret it; Lu 4:18, under inspiration, adds to this, for the fuller explanation of the single clause in the Hebrew, "to set at liberty them that are bruised"; thus expressing the double "opening" implied; namely, that of the eyes (Joh 9:39), and that of the prison (Ro 6:18; 7:24, 25; Heb 2:15). His miracles were acted parables.


Christ and his blessed office, Isaiah 61:1-3. The church’s repair and increase, Isaiah 61:4-6 and joy, Isaiah 61:7-11.

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, as it were, to accomplish that which is foretold and promised in the foregoing chapter, whereby this appears to be either the Holy Ghost; See Poole "1 Kings 18:12"; or the Spirit of prophecy, i.e. the gift of prophecy; so we are often to understand by the Spirit, viz. the gifts; as the Spirit upon Samson, viz. the gift of valour, and courage, and strength: see 1 Corinthians 12:4, &c. Though the prophet may speak this of himself in person, yet that it is principally understood of Christ is evident, because he applieth this text unto himself, Luke 4:18, being the first text he preached upon after his baptism, at which time the Holy Ghost did descend upon him in a visible shape, of which that John, who baptized him, was an ocular witness, John 1:32,33, and so making good the truth of this prophecy; and it is said to rest upon and dwell in him, according as it is prophesied, Isaiah 11:2 42:1.

Hath anointed me; set me apart, i.e. both capacitating him with gifts, and commissioning him with authority; and yet more as it is applied to Christ, a power to make all effectual, from whence he hath also the name of Messiah among the Hebrews, and of Christ among the Greeks; nay, Christ alone among the prophets hath obtained this name, Psalm 45:7: and the prophet seems here to describe first who Christ is, and then what are his offices; this being the usual ceremony for the designing persons to the offices of prophets, priests, and kings, as hath been divers times shown, in all which respects it doth most eminently belong to Christ; so that the prophet doth hereby intimate both the final cause of his unction, viz. that he should execute these offices to which he was anointed; and the effect of it; that unction being upon him as the Head, it would flow from thence to his members, and so is an unction more peculiar to them; arid in a more general way it hath respect unto all the faithful, 2 Corinthians 1:21,22 1Jo 2:20,27.

To preach good tidings unto the meek: being meant of Christ, this relates to his prophetical office. Literally this points at the good news that Isaiah brought of Cyrus’s being raised up to bring them out of Babylon, now they are become meek and humble; but if it be thus taken, it must be understood of his prophecies left behind him, for he died many years before the captivity. But they chiefly signify the good tidings of the gospel, that discovers Christ come in the flesh to redeem poor sinners from the captivity of sin and Satan, such as are meek, and tremble, or afflicted, as the word signifies, because ordinary afflictions make men meek and humble; called also the poor, and our Saviour expresseth it by that word, Luke 4:18. To these the gospel, these

good tidings, are brought, Matthew 11:5. Whether by poor you understand,

1. The Gentiles, void of all grace and salvation, or tenders of it, till now. Or,

2. Properly so called, indigent and needy persons, of which sort were the greatest number that followed Christ, of which the reason might be, because Christ preached the contempt of the world and riches, which the poor would therefore sooner embrace, and the rich be more likely to oppose. Or,

3. The poor in spirit. To bind up: now follow several particular expressions to describe the same thing that he mentioned before more generally: a metaphor taken from chirurgeons, that carefully and tenderly roll up a broken bone, Hosea 6:1; and this relates to Christ’s priestly office.

The broken-hearted; the heart dejected and broken with sorrow. I am sent to ease their pains, whose consciences are wounded with a sense of God’s wrath. To proclaim liberty to the captives; those captives in Babylon, but principally to Satan, that they shall be delivered; and this appertains to Christ’s kingly office, whereby he proclaims liberty from the dominion and bondage of sin, and from the fear and terror of hell. See Isaiah 42:7. The opening of the prison to them that are bound, i.e. supposing them to be in chains and fetters, yet they should be delivered, though in the greatest bondage. The further explication of these things will be found upon Luke 4:18, because there are some passages expressly mentioned here.

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,.... According to the Targum, these are the words of the prophet concerning himself; and so say Aben Ezra and Kimchi; but the latter elsewhere says (p) they are the words of the Messiah, who should say, "because the Lord hath anointed me", &c.; and another of their writers (q) is in a doubt about them; either, says he, they are the words of the prophet with respect to the Messiah, or the words of the prophet concerning himself; but there is no doubt but the Messiah himself is the person speaking, as appears from Luke 4:17, on whom the Spirit of God was; not his grace and gifts only, but the person of the Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, equal with the Father and the Son; to whom several divine actions are ascribed, and to whom many things relating to Christ are attributed, and who is described as residing on him, and who, by the baptist, was seen upon him, Isaiah 11:2 the phrase denotes his continuance with him, whereby he was qualified, as man and Mediator, for his office:

because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek: not the Lord, the Spirit that was upon him, for Christ was anointed with the Holy Ghost; but Jehovah the, Father, he was the anointer of Christ, by whom he was anointed in some sense from everlasting, being invested by him with the office of Mediator, Proverbs 8:21 and in the fulness of time, in the human nature, at his birth and baptism, with the Holy Spirit, his gifts and grace, without measure, Psalm 45:7, hence he has the name of Messiah or Anointed, and from him his people have the anointing which teacheth all things: and hereby he was qualified, as a prophet, to preach good tidings to the meek; such as are sensible of sin, and humbled for it; submit to the righteousness of Christ; ascribe all they have to the grace of God and have a mean opinion of themselves, and patiently bear every affliction: or "poor", as in Luke 4:18, the poor of this world, and as to their intellectuals, and spirit, who are sensible of their spiritual poverty, and seek the true riches, to these the Gospel is "good tidings"; and to such Christ preached good tidings concerning, the love, grace, and mercy of God; concerning peace, pardon, righteousness, life and salvation, by himself; concerning the kingdom of God, and the things appertaining to it:

he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted; whose hearts are smitten and made contrite by the Spirit and Word of God, and are truly humbled under a sense of sin; who are cut to the heart, have wounded spirits, and in great pain; these Christ binds up, by speaking comfortably to them; by applying his blood; by discovering the free and full pardon of their sins; and for this, as Mediator, he had a mission and commission from his Father; he came not of himself, but he sent him:

to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening, of the prison to them that are bound; to such who were captives to sin, Satan, and the law, and as it were prisoners to them, shut up by them, and in them, and held fast there; but Christ, as he is the author of liberty; obtains it for his people, and makes them free with it, so he proclaims it in the Gospel; a liberty from sin, from the damning and governing power of it; a freedom from the curse and condemnation of the law; a deliverance from Satan, as of a prey from the mighty, or as of prisoners from the prison house. The allusion is to the proclamation of liberty, in the year of jubilee, Leviticus 25:10. The Targum is,

"to the prisoners appear in light.''

It may be rendered, "open clear and full light to the prisoners" (r), so Aben Ezra interprets it; See Gill on Luke 4:18.

(p) Sepher Shorash. rad. (q) Ben Melech in loc. (r) "et vinctis visum acutissimum", Vitringa.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is {a} upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the {b} brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the {c} captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

(a) Thus belongs to all the prophets and ministers of God, but chiefly to Christ, of whose abundant graces everyone receives according as it pleases him to distribute.

(b) To them that are lively touched with the feeling of their sins.

(c) Who are in the bondage of sin.

1. The Spirit … upon me] Cf. Isaiah 42:1, Isaiah 48:16 (Isaiah 59:21).

because the Lord hath anointed me] The abiding possession of the spirit is the consequence of this consecrating act of Jehovah. “Anoint” is used, as often, in a metaphorical sense. The idea that prophets were actually anointed with oil is supported only by 1 Kings 19:16, and even there the sense may be metaphorical since (as Cheyne observes) we do not read that the act was performed.

to preach good tidings] The verb is bassçr (εὐαγγελίσασθαι), on which see the notes to Isaiah 40:9 and Isaiah 52:7. It is to be remarked that in ch. 40–55 the mĕbassçr (or mebasséreth) is an ideal personage or company, whose function is quite distinct from that of the prophet or the Servant.

to bind up (i.e. heal) the broken-hearted] Cf. Psalm 147:3; Psalm 34:18; Psalm 51:17.

The terms “meek” and “broken-hearted” denote the religious qualities which characterise the recipients of the prophet’s Evangel. How far the following designations, “captives,” “bound,” “mourners,” are to be understood in a spiritual sense is doubtful. It is not unlikely that the immediate reference is to the social evils whose redress is already demanded in ch. Isaiah 58:6; Isaiah 58:9.

to proclaim liberty] a suggestive expression, shewing that the idea of the year of salvation is based on the institution of the Jubilee; see Leviticus 25:10; and cf. Jeremiah 34:8; Jeremiah 34:15; Jeremiah 34:17, Ezekiel 46:17. These, indeed, are the only occurrences of the word for “liberty,” which is thus seen to denote always a universal emancipation by public decree.

the opening of the prison] The rendering “opening of the eyes” (R.V. marg.) does not suit the context, though it is true that the word is generally used of the opening of eyes (once of ears). [In the Heb. read pĕqaḥqôaḥ as a single word, = “opening.”]

1–3. The prophet as Evangelist.

Verses 1-3. - THE MISSION OF THE SERVANT OF THE LORD. The words of our Lord in Luke 4:21, "This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears," preclude the application of this passage to any other than the Lord himself. It is simply astonishing that some Christian commentators (Ewald, Hitzig, Knobel) have not seen the force of this argument, but, with the Jews, imagine the prophet to be speaking of his own ministry. It is contrary to the entire spirit of Isaiah's writings so to glorify himself, and specially unsuitable that, after having brought forward with such emphasis the Person of "the Servant" (Isaiah 42:1-8; Isaiah 49:1-12; Isaiah 1:4-9; Isaiah 52:13-15; Isaiah 53:1-12), he should proceed to take his place, and to "ascribe to himself those very same official attributes which he has already set forth as characteristic features in his portrait of the predicted One" (Delitzsch). Hence most recent commentators, whatever their school of thought, have acquiesced in the patristic interpretation, which regarded the Servant of Jehovah as here speaking of himself. Verse 1. - The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; literally, the Spirit of the Lord Jehovah (Adonai Jehovah) is upon me. The Septuagint, the Vulgate, and one manuscript omit adonai. In the original announcement of "the Servant" it was stated that God had "put his Spirit upon him" (Isaiah 42:1). The sanctification of our Lord's human nature by the Holy Spirit is very explicitly taught in the Gospels (Matthew 1:20; Matthew 3:16; Matthew 4:1, etc.; Mark 1:10, 12; Luke 1:35; Luke 2:40; Luke 3:22; Luke 4:1, 14, 18-21, etc.; John 1:32, 33; John 3:34, etc.). The Lord hath anointed me. The "anointing" of Jesus was that sanctification of his human nature by the Holy Spirit, which commenced in the womb of the blessed Virgin (Luke 1:35), which continued as he grew to manhood (Luke 2:40, 52), which was openly manifested at his baptism, and never ceased till he took his body and soul with him into heaven. Of this spiritual anointing, all material unction, whether under the Law (Leviticus 8:10-12, 30; 1 Samuel 10:1; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Kings 1:39; 1 Kings 19:15, 16, etc.) or under the gospel (Mark 6:13; James 5:14), was symbolical or typical. To preach good tidings (comp. Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 41:27; Isaiah 52:7; and Nahum 1:15). Unto the meek (see Matthew 5:5; Matthew 11:29; and comp. Isaiah 11:4; Isaiah 29:19). To bind up the broken-hearted (comp. Psalm 147:3, where this is declared to be the office of Jehovah himself). "Binding up" is an ordinary expression in Isaiah's writings for "healing" (see Isaiah 1:6; Isaiah 3:7; Isaiah 30:26). To proclaim liberty to the captives. This was one of the special offices of "the Servant" (see Isaiah 42:7). The "captivity" intended is doubtless that of sin. And the opening of the prison to them that are bound. St. Luke, following the Septuagint, has, "and recovering of sight to the blind." It is thought by some that the original Hebrew text has been corrupted. Others regard the Septuagint rendering as a paraphrase. Isaiah 61:1The words of Jehovah Himself pass over here into the words of another, whom He has appointed as the Mediator of His gracious counsel. "The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is over me, because Jehovah hath anointed me, to bring glad tidings to sufferers, hath sent me to bind up broken-hearted ones, to proclaim liberty to those led captive, and emancipation to the fettered; to proclaim a year of grace from Jehovah, and a day of vengeance from our God; to comfort all that mourn; to put upon the mourners of Zion, to give them a head-dress for ashes, oil of joy for mourning, a wrapper of renown for an expiring spirit, that they may be called terebinths of righteousness, a planting of Jehovah for glorification." Who is the person speaking here? The Targum introduces the passage with נביּא אמר. Nearly all the modern commentators support this view. Even the closing remarks to Drechsler (iii. 381) express the opinion, that the prophet who exhibited to the church the summit of its glory in chapter 60, an evangelist of the rising from on high, an apocalyptist who sketches the painting which the New Testament apocalyptist is to carry out in detail, is here looking up to Jehovah with a grateful eye, and praising Him with joyful heart for his exalted commission. But this view, when looked at more closely, cannot possibly be sustained. It is open to the following objections: (1.) The prophet never speaks of himself as a prophet at any such length as this; on the contrary, with the exception of the closing words of Isaiah 57:21, "saith my God," he has always most studiously let his own person fall back into the shade. (2.) Wherever any other than Jehovah is represented as speaking, and as referring to his own calling, or his experience in connection with that calling, as in Isaiah 49:1., Isaiah 50:4., it is the very same "servant of Jehovah" of whom and to whom Jehovah speaks in Isaiah 42:1., Isaiah 52:13-53:12, and therefore not the prophet himself, but He who had been appointed to be the Mediator of a new covenant, the light of the Gentiles, the salvation of Jehovah for the whole world, and who would reach this glorious height, to which He had been called, through self-abasement even to death. (3.) All that the person speaking here says of himself is to be found in the picture of the unequalled "Servant of Jehovah," who is highly exalted above the prophet. He is endowed with the Spirit of Jehovah (Isaiah 42:1); Jehovah has sent Him, and with Him His Spirit (Isaiah 48:16); He has a tongue taught of God, to help the exhausted with words (Isaiah 50:4); He spares and rescues those who are almost despairing and destroyed, the bruised reed and expiring wick (Isaiah 42:7). "To open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house:" this is what He has chiefly to do for His people, both in word and deed (Isaiah 42:7; Isaiah 49:9). (4.) We can hardly expect that, after the prophet has described the Servant of Jehovah, of whom He prophesied, as coming forward to speak with such dramatic directness as in Isaiah 49:1., Isaiah 50:4. (and even Isaiah 48:16), he will now proceed to put himself in the foreground, and ascribe to himself those very same official attributes which he has already set forth as characteristic features in his portrait of the predicted One. For these reasons we have no doubt that we have here the words of the Servant of Jehovah. The glory of Jerusalem is depicted in chapter 60 in the direct words of Jehovah Himself, which are well sustained throughout. And now, just as in Isaiah 48:16, though still more elaborately, we have by their side the words of His servant, who is the mediator of this glory, and who above all others is the pioneer thereof in his evangelical predictions. Just as Jehovah says of him in Isaiah 42:1, "I have put my Spirit upon him;" so here he says of himself, "The Spirit of Jehovah is upon me." And when he continues to explain this still further by saying, "because" (יען from ענה, intention, purpose; here equivalent to אשׁר יען) "Jehovah hath anointed me" (mâs 'ōthı̄, more emphatic than meshâchanı̄), notwithstanding the fact that mâshach is used here in the sense of prophetic and not regal anointing (1 Kings 19:16), we may find in the choice of this particular word a hint at the fact, that the Servant of Jehovah and the Messiah are one and the same person. So also the account given in Luke 4:16-22 viz. that when Jesus was in the synagogue at Nazareth, after reading the opening words of this address, He closed the book with these words, "This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears" - cannot be interpreted more simply in any other way, than on the supposition that Jesus here declares Himself to be the predicted and divinely anointed Servant of Jehovah, who brings the gospel of redemption to His people. Moreover, though it is not decisive in favour of our explanation, yet this explanation is favoured by the fact that the speaker not only appears as the herald of the new and great gifts of God, but also as the dispenser of them ("non praeco tantum, sed et dispensator," Vitringa).

The combination of the names of God ('Adonai Yehovâh) is the same as in Isaiah 50:4-9. On bissēr, εὐαγγελίζειν (-εσθαι). He comes to put a bandage on the hearts' wounds of those who are broken-hearted: ל חבשׁ (חבּשׁ) as in Ezekiel 34:4; Psalm 147:3; cf., ל רפא (רפּא); ל הצדיק. דרור קרא is the phrase used in the law for the proclamation of the freedom brought by the year of jubilee, which occurred every fiftieth year after seven sabbatical periods, and was called shenath hadderōr (Ezekiel 46:17); deror from dârar, a verbal stem, denoting the straight, swift flight of a swallow (see at Psalm 84:4), and free motion in general, such as that of a flash of lightning, a liberal self-diffusion, like that of a superabundant fulness. Peqach-qōăch is written like two words (see at Isaiah 2:20). The Targum translates it as if peqach were an imperative: "Come to the light," probably meaning undo the bands. But qōăch is not a Hebrew word; for the qı̄chōth of the Mishna (the loops through which the strings of a purse are drawn, for the purpose of lacing it up) cannot be adduced as a comparison. Parchon, AE, and A, take peqachqōăch as one word (of the form פּתלתּל, שׁחרחר), in the sense of throwing open, viz., the prison. But as pâqach is never used like pâthach (Isaiah 14:17; Isaiah 51:14), to signify the opening of a room, but is always applied to the opening of the eyes (Isaiah 35:5; Isaiah 42:7, etc.), except in Isaiah 42:20, where it is used for the opening of the ears, we adhere to the strict usage of the language, if we understand by peqachqōăch the opening up of the eyes (as contrasted with the dense darkness of the prison); and this is how it has been taken even by the lxx, who have rendered it καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν, as if the reading had been ולעורים (Psalm 146:8). Again, he is sent to promise with a loud proclamation a year of good pleasure (râtsōn: syn. yeshū‛âh) and a day of vengeance, which Jehovah has appointed; a promise which assigns the length of a year for the thorough accomplishment of the work of grace, and only the length of a day for the work of vengeance. The vengeance applies to those who hold the people of God in fetters, and oppress them; the grace to all those whom the infliction of punishment has inwardly humbled, though they have been strongly agitated by its long continuance (Isaiah 57:15). The 'ăbhēlı̄m, whom the Servant of Jehovah has to comfort, are the "mourners of Zion," those who take to heart the fall of Zion. In Isaiah 61:3, לשׂוּם ... לתת, he corrects himself, because what he brings is not merely a diadem, to which the word sūm (to set) would apply, but an abundant supply of manifold gifts, to which only a general word like nâthan (to give) is appropriate. Instead of אפר, the ashes of mourning or repentance laid upon the head, he brings פּאר, a diadem to adorn the head (a transposition even so far as the letters are concerned, and therefore the counterpart of אפר; the"oil of joy" (from Psalm 45:8; compare also משׁחך there with אתי משׁח here) instead of mourning; "a wrapper (cloak) of renown" instead of a faint and almost extinguished spirit. The oil with which they henceforth anoint themselves is to be joy or gladness, and renown the cloak in which they wrap themselves (a genitive connection, as in Isaiah 59:17). And whence is all this? The gifts of God, though represented in outward figures, are really spiritual, and take effect within, rejuvenating and sanctifying the inward man; they are the sap and strength, the marrow and impulse of a new life. The church thereby becomes "terebinths of righteousness" (אילי: Targ., Symm., Jer., render this, strong ones, mighty ones; Syr. dechre, rams; but though both of these are possible, so far as the letters are concerned, they are unsuitable here), i.e., possessors of righteousness, produced by God and acceptable with God, having all the firmness and fulness of terebinths, with their strong trunks, their luxuriant verdure, and their perennial foliage - a planting of Jehovah, to the end that He may get glory out of it (a repetition of Isaiah 60:21).

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