Isaiah 63:7
I will mention the loving kindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD has bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he has bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his loving kindnesses.
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(7) I will mention . . .—The words begin an entirely new section, of the nature of a psalm of thanksgiving for redemption (Isaiah 63:16). Possibly, in the arrangement of the book it was thought that such a psalm followed rightly on the great dramatic dialogue which represented the victory of the Redeemer. The psalm begins, according to the implied rule of Psalm 50:23, with praise, and passes afterward to narrative and supplication.

Isaiah 63:7. “The remaining part of this chapter” says Bishop Lowth, “with the whole chapter following, contains a penitential confession and supplication of the Israelites in their present state of dispersion, in which they have so long marvellously subsisted, and still continue to subsist, as a people; cast out of their country, without any proper form of civil polity or religious worship; their temple destroyed, their city desolated, and lost to them; and their whole nation scattered over the face of the earth; apparently deserted and cast off by the God of their fathers, as no longer his peculiar people.” Vitringa has nearly the same views of this section of the prophet’s discourse. He supposes that it pertains to the present Jews and their posterity, during this their dispersion, and that when they shall see that wonderful display of God’s power, which will hereafter be made in the destruction of the Papal church and tyranny, they will be converted to the Christian religion. In a view to this, he considers the prophet as here introducing a company of them, who represent the first-fruits at the beginning of this great work of grace, deploring the blindness and hardness of their nation, and with the utmost humility turning themselves to God, and praying for that complete conversion of their people which is to follow the coming in of the fulness of the Gentiles. See Romans 11:25-26.

I will mention the loving-kindness of the Lord — Those penitent Jews, in whose name the prophet is supposed to speak, being convinced themselves of the truth of Christianity, begin here to intercede for the rest of their brethren, still remaining in that state of blindness and darkness under which the nation had long groaned. “They begin with acknowledging God’s great mercies and favours to their nation, and the ungrateful returns made for them on their part; that by their disobedience they had forfeited his protection, and caused him to become their adversary. But now, induced by the memory of the great things he had done for them, they address their humble supplication to him for the renewal of his mercies. They beseech him to regard them in consideration of his former loving-kindness; they acknowledge him for their Father and Creator; they confess their wickedness and hardness of heart; they entreat his forgiveness, and deplore the miserable condition under which they had so long suffered. The whole passage is in the elegiac form, pathetic and elegant, and probably designed as a formulary of humiliation for the Israelites, in order to their conversion.” A few remarks on some of the expressions used therein may tend to place them in a clearer point of view.63:7-14 The latter part of this chapter, and the whole of the next, seem to express the prayers of the Jews on their conversation. They acknowledge God's great mercies and favours to their nation. They confess their wickedness and hardness of heart; they entreat his forgiveness, and deplore the miserable condition under which they have so long suffered. The only-begotten Son of the Father became the Angel or Messenger of his love; thus he redeemed and bare them with tenderness. Yet they murmured, and resisted his Holy Spirit, despising and persecuting his prophets, rejecting and crucifying the promised Messiah. All our comforts and hopes spring from the loving-kindness of the Lord, and all our miseries and fears from our sins. But he is the Saviour, and when sinners seek after him, who in other ages glorified himself by saving and feeding his purchased flock, and leading them safely through dangers, and has given his Holy Spirit to prosper the labours of his ministers, there is good ground to hope they are discovering the way of peace.I will mention - This is evidently the language of the people celebrating the praises of God in view of all his mercies in former days. See the analysis to the chapter. The design of what follows, to the close of Isaiah 64:1-12, is to implore the mercy of God in view of their depressed and ruined condition. They are represented as suffering under the infliction of long and continued ills; as cast out and driven to a distant land; as deprived of their former privileges, and as having been long subjected to great evils. Their temple is destroyed; their city desolate; and their whole nation afflicted and oppressed. The time is probably near the close of the captivity; though Lowth supposes that it refers to the Jews as scattered over all lands, and driven away from the country of their fathers. They begin their petitions in this verse with acknowledging God's great mercies to their fathers and to their nation; then they confess their own disobedience, and supplicate, by various arguments, the divine mercy and favor. The Chaldee commences the verse thus, 'The prophet said, I will remember the mercy of the Lord.' But it is the language of the people, not that of the prophet. The word rendered 'mention' (אזכיר 'azekiyr), means properly, I will cause to remember, or to be remembered (see the notes at Isaiah 62:6).

And the praises of the Lord - That is, I will recount the deeds which show that he is worthy of thanksgiving. The repetitions in this verse are designed to be emphatic; and the meaning of the whole is, that Yahweh had given them abundant cause of praise, notwithstanding the evils which they endured.

7. Israel's penitential confession and prayer for restoration (Ps 102:17, 20), extending from Isa 63:7 to 64:12.

loving-kindnesses … praises … mercies … loving-kindnesses—The plurals and the repetitions imply that language is inadequate to express the full extent of God's goodness.

us—the dispersed Jews at the time just preceding their final restoration.

house of Israel—of all ages; God was good not merely to the Jews now dispersed, but to Israel in every age of its history.

Whether this ought to be the beginning of a new chapter, or no, is not material; but certainly here begins a new matter, which contains the prophet’s prayer, either in his own name or the church’s, to the end of Isaiah 64; wherein he begins with mentioning the great kindnesses that God had shown the Jews, and that emphatically, setting it forth with the greatest advantages; and the more, either to aggravate their great unkindness, or to give them some hope of finding him the like again in their distresses, or by way of argument with God to show them mercy, because he had been so good to them. I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the Lord,.... These are the words of the prophet, as Jarchi and Kimchi observe; who, having heard what the Lord would do for his church and people in later times, by avenging them on their enemies, calls to mind the favours bestowed on Israel of old; and determines to make mention of them, and put the saints in mind of them, as types, earnests, and pledges of what would be done for them; and to encourage their faith and hope in the performance of what was promised them: these he calls "the lovingkindnesses of the Lord"; meaning not only the instances of his providential goodness in bringing them out of Egypt, leading them through the Red sea and wilderness, and settling them in Canaan's land, after particularly mentioned; but also those of his special grace and goodness to the chosen of God among them; called in the plural number "lovingkindnesses", being the acts of all the three Persons displayed in election, redemption, and sanctification; and because these are many and various, and an abundance of grace and love is manifested in them:

and the praises of the Lord, according to all that the Lord hath bestowed on us; which are due to him from all creatures, angels and men, and especially the saints; and which belong to each divine Person, according to the various gifts of grace freely bestowed by them; such as the gift of God himself to his people; the gifts of his Son, and of the blessed Spirit, with all his graces, faith, hope, love, repentance, &c.; and all the blessings of grace; as pardon, justification, adoption, and eternal life; a right unto it, and meetness for it all which call for praise and thankfulness: and the

great goodness towards the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses; the gifts of grace are bestowed, not according to the merits of men, for then they would not be free grace gifts; and, besides, there is no merit in a creature; the best works of the best of men are not meritorious, of anything at the hand of God; but all they have flow from mere sovereign mercy, pure grace, and free unmerited love, which is abundant, yea, boundless, and even infinite. A heap of words is here made use of, and all little enough to express the wonderful kindness of God in the acts of his grace and goodness to his church and people; which ought always to be had in sight and mind, and to be remembered and spoken of in private and in public.

I will {g} mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

(g) The prophet speaks this to move the people to remember God's benefits in times past, that they may be confirmed in their troubles.

7. I will mention] lit. “commemorate,” but with the implied idea of praise, as 1 Chronicles 16:4; Psalm 45:17; Psalm 71:16; Isaiah 26:13, &c.

the praises of the Lord] the praiseworthy deeds, as ch. Isaiah 60:6.

and the great goodness] Cf. Psalm 145:7, where the expression occurs.

according to his mercies &c.] Cf. Psalm 51:1,—one of several points of resemblance,—also Psalm 106:45.

7–9. Celebration of Jehovah’s past mercies to Israel,—a frequent feature of O.T. prayers (Psalm 77:10-15; Psalm 78:1-4; Psalm 89:1 f., Psalm 105:1 f., Psalm 106:2; Nehemiah 9:5 ff., &c.).

Ch. Isaiah 63:7 to Isaiah 64:12. A Prayer of the People for the Renewal of Jehovah’s former Lovingkindness

(1) Isaiah 63:7-9. The prayer begins with thankful commemoration of Jehovah’s goodness to the nation in the days of old (Isaiah 63:7). The reference is to the time of Moses and Joshua, when Jehovah’s loving confidence in His children had not yet been betrayed (Isaiah 63:8), and when He continuously manifested Himself as their Saviour, bearing them safely through all dangers (Isaiah 63:9).

(2) Isaiah 63:10-14. This ideal relation between Israel and its God has indeed long since been broken, through the rebellion and ingratitude of the people (Isaiah 63:10). But in seasons of distress the better mind of the nation dwells wistfully on those ancient wonders of grace, and longs that Jehovah may again put forth His strength and vindicate His glorious name (Isaiah 63:11-14).

(3) Isaiah 63:15-16. From the past the writer turns to the gloomy present, be seeching Jehovah to take notice of and have compassion on the affliction of His people. For He alone, and not Abraham or Israel, is the Father of the nation, and its Redeemer from of old.

(4) Isaiah 63:17-19. From this point the increasing impetuosity of the language reveals for the first time the extremity of the Church’s anguish. The prophet remonstrates with God for so withdrawing Himself from the people as to harden them in sin (Isaiah 63:17) and cause them to be as if He had never ruled over them (Isaiah 63:19).

-5Isaiah 64:1-3. A passionate wish that Jehovah might now rend asunder the solid firmament, and melt the mountains, and make Himself known to the nation by terrible acts, surpassing the expectations of His people.

(6) Isaiah 63:4-7. In a more reflective strain the writer appears to seek for a reconciliation of Jehovah’s attitude to Israel with His eternally righteous character. He, the only God known who meets the righteousman, is yet wroth with His people so that they fall into sin (Isaiah 63:4-5). The lamentable consequences of this hiding of God’s face on the religious condition of the people are described in Isaiah 63:6-7.

(7) Isaiah 63:8-12. Final appeal to the Fatherhood of God, and His consideration for the work of His hands (Isaiah 63:8). Let Him moderate His wrath and remember that we are His people (Isaiah 63:9). For surely the punishment of sin has been sufficient,—the holy cities ruined, Jerusalem a desolation, the Temple burned with fire (Isaiah 63:10-11). Can Jehovah look on these things and yet restrain His compassion (Isaiah 63:12)?

The passage is one of the most instructive of O.T. prayers, and deserves careful study as an expression of the chastened and tremulous type of piety begotten in the sorrows of the Exile. Along with much that is of the permanent essence of prayer,—thanksgiving, confession of sin, and supplication,—it contains utterances which may cause surprise to a Christian reader, although they are paralleled in some of the Psalms, and in other portions of the literature. Very singular is the plea that the sinfulness of the people is due to the excessive and protracted anger of Jehovah, who “causes them to err from His ways” (Isaiah 63:17; cf. Isaiah 64:5; Isaiah 64:7). This feeling appears to proceed from two sources; on the one hand the ancient idea that national calamity is the proof of Jehovah’s anger, and on the other the lesson taught by all the prophets, that the sole cause of Jehovah’s anger is the people’s sins. The writer seems unable perfectly to harmonize these principles. He accepts the verdict of Providence on the sins of the nation, but he feels also a disproportion between the offence and the punishment, which neutralises all efforts after righteousness, unless Jehovah will relent from the fierceness of His wrath. The higher truth that the Divine chastisement aims at the purification of the people, and is therefore a mark of love, is not yet grasped, and for this reason the O.T. believers fall short of the liberty of the sons of God. Yet amid all these perplexities the faith of the Church holds fast to the truth of the Fatherhood of God, and appeals to the love which must be in His heart, although it be not manifest in His providential dealings.

So far as the ideas of the passage are concerned, it might have been composed at any time from the Exile downwards. Nor are the historical allusions so clear as could be desired. From Isaiah 63:18, Isaiah 64:11 f. we learn that the Temple has been burned, and the land laid waste. It is natural to understand this of the destruction of the city and Temple by the Chaldæans in 586, and to conclude that the prayer was written during the Exile or at least before the rebuilding of the Temple in 520. In Isaiah 63:18 it is said that the Holy Land has been possessed “but a little while.” If the prayer was written in exile this must refer to the whole period from Joshua to the Captivity, which is not an interpretation that commends itself at first sight. It would no doubt be more intelligible if written not long after the restoration under Zerubbabel (cf. Ezra 9:8). But then we are confronted with the difficulty of the destruction of the Temple, for Duhm’s explanation that the writer ignores the second Temple because of its inferiority to the first can hardly be regarded as satisfactory; and to assume (with Kuenen and others) a destruction of the Temple by the Samaritans (see Ryle’s note on Nehemiah 1:3) is hazardous in face of the silence of history. Partly for these reasons, and partly because of affinities to ch. 24–27, and some Psalms which he assigns to the same period, Cheyne brings down the date of composition to the time of Artaxerxes Ochus (cf. Vol. i. of this commentary, p. 204). Apart from Isaiah 63:18, the hypothesis of exilic authorship presents no serious difficulty, for although the surrounding discourses are probably post-exilic, it is quite conceivable that an earlier writing might have been incorporated with them as sufficiently expressive of the mind of the nation at the later period.Verses 7-14. - GOD PRAISED FOR HIS MERCIES. The address opens with pure and simple thanksgiving of the most general kind, God being praised for his loving-kindness, compassion, and sympathy with his people (vers. 7-9). An historical survey is then commenced, and Israel's shortcomings contrasted with God's mercies, but with a predominantly thankful and even jubilant tone (vers. 10-14). Verse 7. - I will mention; or, celebrate. The loving-kindnesses; or, mercies (see Isaiah 55:3; and comp. Psalm 89:1). This is the smallest of all the twenty-seven prophecies. In its dramatic style it resembles Psalm 24:1-10; in its visionary and emblematical character it resembles the tetralogy in Isaiah 21:1-22:14. The attention of the seer is attracted by a strange and lofty form coming from Edom, or more strictly from Bozrah; not the place in Auranitis or Hauran (Jeremiah 48:24) which is memorable in church history, but the place in Edomitis or Gebal, between Petra and the Dead Sea, which still exists as a village in ruins under the diminutive name of el-Busaire. "Who is this that cometh from Edom, in deep red clothes from Bozrah? This, glorious in his apparel, bending to and fro in the fulness of his strength?" The verb châmats means to be sharp or bitter; but here, where it can only refer to colour, it means to be glaring, and as the Syriac shows, in which it is generally applied to blushing from shame or reverential awe, to be a staring red (ὀξέως). The question, what is it that makes the clothes of this new-comer so strikingly red? is answered afterwards. But apart from the colour, they are splendid in their general arrangement and character. The person seen approaching is בּלבוּשׁו הדוּר (cf., Arab. ḥdr and hdr, to rush up, to shoot up luxuriantly, ahdar used for a swollen body), and possibly through the medium of hâdâr (which may signify primarily a swelling, or pad, ὄγκος, and secondarily pomp or splendour), "to honour or adorn;" so that hâdūr signifies adorned, grand (as in Genesis 24:65; Targ. II lxx ὡραῖος), splendid. The verb tsâ‛âh, to bend or stoop, we have already met with in Isaiah 51:14. Here it is used to denote a gesture of proud self-consciousness, partly with or without the idea of the proud bending back of the head (or bending forward to listen), and partly with that of swaying to and fro, i.e., the walk of a proud man swinging to and fro upon the hips. The latter is the sense in which we understand tsō‛eh here, viz., as a syn. of the Arabic mutamâli, to bend proudly from one side to the other (Vitringa: se huc illuc motitans). The person seen here produces the impression of great and abundant strength; and his walk indicates the corresponding pride of self-consciousness.

"Who is this?" asks the seer of a third person. But the answer comes from the person himself, though only seen in the distance, and therefore with a voice that could be heard afar off. "I am he that speaketh in righteousness, mighty to aid." Hitzig, Knobel, and others, take righteousness as the object of the speaking; and this is grammatically possible (בּ equals περί, e.g., Deuteronomy 6:7). But our prophet uses בצדק in Isaiah 42:6; Isaiah 45:13, and בצדקה in an adverbial sense: "strictly according to the rule of truth (more especially that of the counsel of mercy or plan of salvation) and right." The person approaching says that he is great in word and deed (Jeremiah 32:19). He speaks in righteousness; in the zeal of his holiness threatening judgment to the oppressors, and promising salvation to the oppressed; and what he threatens and promises, he carries out with mighty power. He is great (רב, not רב; S. ὑπερμαχῶν, Jer. propugnator) to aid the oppressed against their oppressors. This alone might lead us to surmise, that it is God from whose mouth of righteousness (Isaiah 45:23) the consolation of redemption proceeds, and whose holy omnipotent arm (Isaiah 52:10; Isaiah 59:16) carries out the act of redemption.

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