I have trodden the wine press alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in my anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled on my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)I have trodden the winepress alone . . .—The “winepress” is here, as elsewhere (Joel 3:13; Lamentations 1:15; Revelation 14:18-20), the received symbol of the carnage of battle. What the hero-conqueror asserts is that the battle was fought by him single-handed. He had no human allies, but God was with him. A slight change in the vowel-points, adopted by some interpreters, turns the verbs into futures: “I will tread . . . will trample, . . .” as in the second clause of the Authorised Version. It is better, perhaps to take the latter verb also as in the past. The work of slaughter is clearly thought of as accomplished before the warrior is seen.Isaiah 34:5-6). The idea here is, that he had completely destroyed his foes in Idumea, and had done it by a great slaughter.
For I will tread - Or rather, I trod them. It refers to what he had done; or what was then past.
And their blood shall be sprinkled - Or rather, their blood was sprinkled. The word used here (נצח nētsach) does not commonly mean blood; but splendor, glory, purity, truth, perpetuity, eternity. Gesenius derives the word, as used here, from an Arabic word meaning to sprinkle, to scatter; and hence, the juice or liquor of the grape as it is sprinkled or spirted from grapes when trodden. There is no doubt here that it refers to blood - though with the idea of its being spirted out by treading down a foe.
And I will stain all my raiment - I have stained all my raiment - referring to the fact that the slaughter was extensive and entire. On the extent of the slaughter, see the notes at Isaiah 34:6-7, Isaiah 34:9-10.
will tread … shall be … will stain—rather preterites, "I trod … trampled … was sprinkled … I stained."
blood—literally, "spirited juice" of the grape, pressed out by treading [Gesenius].I have trodden the winepress, i.e. I have destroyed the enemies of my people, I have crushed them as grapes are crushed; this being a usual metaphor to describe the utter destruction of a people, Psalm 44:5 Isaiah 25:10 Revelation 14:19,20; and the easiness of doing it, no more than to crush a bunch of grapes.
Alone, to note his good-will and great power. The masters of vineyards are not willing to do this drudgery themselves; neither, if they would, could they be able to manage a whole vintage by themselves: but Christ was willing to undertake it, and able to go through it, without calling in the help of any other.
Of the people there was none with me:
1. Not that he excludes the Jews, but the other nations that dwelt about them; therefore he saith
of the people there was none with him; but God and his own people may be reckoned as one, Judges 5:23. And though this be true of his passion, in which sense some would carry it, yet doth it not so well suit with the design; for Christ is described here not as a priest sacrificing, or shedding of his own blood, but as a king, conquering and shedding the blood of his and his church’s enemies; hence it is said
their blood, not his own, to show that it cannot fairly relate to his passion: besides Christ could expect no help in that, for he knew none could; but here he looked, and wondered that there was none, Isaiah 63:5. And though it may be said that he makes use of instruments both in his conquering of temporal enemies, and also spiritual, consider,
1. That here he speaks as a general, and therefore the whole victory is ascribed to him alone.
2. They do it not only by commission and authority derived from him, but by strength conveyed to them from him, without which they could do no more than a watch without a spring, or tool without the workman’s strength and skill: and that Christ may make it appear they are no coadjutors that he needs, he makes them bring about such things as they never designed, as he speaks of the Assyrian; See Poole "Isaiah 10:6", See Poole "Isaiah 10:7"; and this is to be understood in like manner of Christ’s conquest over spiritual enemies, 2 Corinthians 4:7. See Acts 3:12,13.
And trample them in my fury: this latter expression is but an aggravating of the former; it implies a kind of insulting, an allusion to conquerors, who were wont to make the conquered to lie down, that others might trample on them, Isaiah 51:23.
Shall be sprinkled; or, was sprinkled; as in treading of grapes the juice sparkles upon the clothes: q.d. in his answer, Thus came my garments to be sprinkled.
I will stain; it shall not be, or it was not, only sprinkled, but perfectly stained, as it were rolled in blood, Isaiah 9:5. Revelation 14:18.
And of the people there was none with me; either fighting with him, that could oppose him, any more than the clusters of grapes can resist the treaders of them; or to assist him in taking vengeance on his enemies: for though the armies of heaven follow him in white, these are little more than attendants and spectators, at most but instruments; all the power to conquer and destroy is from himself, and owing to the twoedged sword proceeding out of his mouth, Revelation 19:14 even as when he stood in the legal place and stead of his people there were none of them with him; he alone was the author of salvation, none could bear the wrath of God but himself, or engage with spiritual enemies, or work out salvation for them. But of this the texts speaks not, only of the destruction of the enemies of Christ and his church:
for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; with great eagerness, with all his might and strength; and this is the reason why his garments were so stained, even with the blood of his enemies, trodden and trampled under foot by him in this furious manner; as a person in a winepress alone, and treading it with all his might, has his garments more sparkled and stained with the juice of the grape, than when there are many, and these tread lightly. The words being in the future tense show that they respect time to come; and the manner of speaking ascertains the accomplishment of them, and which is further confirmed by what follows:
and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment; just as the garments of those that tread in the winepress are sprinkled and stained with the juice of the grape; this will have its accomplishment when he shall appear in a vesture dipped in blood, or shall be as bloody, with the blood of his enemies, as if it was dipped in it, Revelation 19:13.I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 3. - I have trodden the wine-press. The warrior replies. He accepts the suggestion of the prophet; but metaphorically, not literally. He has indeed been "treading a wine-press," but it is the wine-press of his fury, in which he has trampled down his enemies; and the stains upon his raiment are, consequently, not wine-stains, but stains of blood (comp. Joel 3:13; Lamentations 1:15; Revelation 14:19, 20; Revelation 19:15). Alone. In mine own might, with none to aid me. The literal wine-press was always trodden by a band of men. Of the people; rather, of the peoples; i.e. of the neighbouring nations none took part with God against the special enemies of his people, the Idumaeans. All more or less sympathized with his adversaries, and therefore participated in their punishment (see ver. 6). For I will tread them... trample them; rather, so I trode them ... trampled them (Lowth, Rosenmuller, Delitzsch, Cheyne, by an alteration of the vowel-points). The whole is a prophecy of the future; but the dramatic form of the narrative requires that the verbs should be in the past. As "the peoples" would not help God, but took the side of his enemies, they too were placed in the winepress, and crushed under his feet. Their blood; literally, their juice. Lowth and Kay translate, "life-blood;" Delitzsch, "life-sap;" Mr. Cheyne, excellently, "life-stream." Shall be sprinkled... will stain; rather, was sprinkled... stained. Isaiah 47:12, Isaiah 47:15) is applied to the cultivation of the soil, and includes the service of the heathen who are incorporated in Israel (Isaiah 61:5); whilst אסּף (whence מאספיו with ס raphatum) or אסף (poel, whence the reading מאספיו, cf., Psalm 101:5, meloshnı̄; Psalm 109:10, ve-dorshū, for which in some codd. and editions we find מאספיו, an intermediate form between piel and poel; see at Psalm 62:4) and קבּץ stand in the same relation to one another as condere (horreo) and colligere (cf., Isaiah 11:12). The expression bechatsrōth qodshı̄, in the courts of my sanctuary, cannot imply that the produce of the harvest will never be consumed anywhere else than there (which is inconceivable), but only that their enjoyment of the harvest-produce will be consecrated by festal meals of worship, with an allusion to the legal regulation that two-tenths (ma‛ăsēr shēnı̄) should be eaten in a holy place (liphnē Jehovah) by the original possessor and his family, with the addition of the Levites and the poor (Deuteronomy 14:22-27 : see Saalschtz, Mosaisches Recht, cap. 42). Such thoughts, as that all Israel will then be a priestly nation, or that all Jerusalem will be holy, are not implied in this promise. All that it affirms is, that the enjoyment of the harvest-blessing will continue henceforth undisturbed, and be accompanied with the grateful worship of the giver, and therefore, because sanctified by thanksgiving, will become an act of worship in itself. This is what Jehovah has sworn "by His right hand," which He only lifts up with truth, and "by His powerful arm," which carries out what it promises without the possibility of resistance. The Talmud (b. Nazir 3b) understand by עזו זרוע the left arm, after Daniel 12:7; but the ו of ובזרוע is epexegetical.
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