Matthew 12:18
Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit on him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(18) Behold my servant.—The mysterious “servant of the Lord,” who is the central figure of the last part of Isaiah’s prophecies, appears sometimes as the representative of Israel’s righteousness, sometimes of its sins, now as one who bore his witness as a prophet and messenger of God, now as standing apart from all others in solitary greatness, or yet more solitary suffering. In each of these aspects the words of Isaiah found their highest fulfilment in the Son of Man. In referring these words to the Messiah, the Evangelist was following in the footsteps of the Chaldee Paraphrase, but we must remember also that the words recorded as heard at the Baptism of Jesus (almost verbally identical with those of the prophecy now cited) must also have suggested the application, especially as connected with the promise, “I will put My Spirit upon Him,” which had then received its fulfilment.

He shall shew judgment to the Gentiles.—The word “judgment” has a wide range of meaning in the Hebrew of Isaiah, and includes the work of a king, as teaching, no less than as executing, righteousness. As yet, of course, the work of preaching the gospel to the Gentiles had not begun, but St. Matthew notes, as it were, by anticipation, the spirit of love and gentleness which, when he wrote his Gospel, had brought them also within the range of the judgments—i.e., of the life-giving truths—of the righteous Judge. It is one of the many instances in which his record, though obviously written for Jews, is yet emphatically a Gospel for the Gentiles.

12:14-21 The Pharisees took counsel to find some accusation, that Jesus might be condemned to death. Aware of their design, as his time was not come, he retired from that place. Face does not more exactly answer to face in water, than the character of Christ drawn by the prophet, to his temper and conduct as described by the evangelists. Let us with cheerful confidence commit our souls to so kind and faithful a Friend. Far from breaking, he will strengthen the bruised reed; far from quenching the smoking flax, or wick nearly out, he will rather blow it up into a flame. Let us lay aside contentious and angry debates; let us receive one another as Christ receives us. And while encouraged by the gracious kindness of our Lord, we should pray that his Spirit may rest upon us, and make us able to copy his example.My servant - That is, the Messiah, the Lord Jesus; called a servant from his taking the "form" of a "servant," or his being born in a humble condition Philippians 2:7, and from his obeying or "serving" God. See Hebrews 10:9.

Shall show judgment to the Gentiles - The word "judgment" means, in the Hebrew, law, "commands, etc.," Psalm 19:9; Psalm 119:29-30. It means the "whole system of truth;" the law of God in general; the purpose, plan, or "judgment" of God about human duty and conduct. Here it means, evidently, the system of "gospel truth," the Christian scheme.

Gentiles - All who were not Jews. This prophecy was fulfilled by the multitudes coming to him from Idumea and beyond Jordan, and from Tyre and Sidon, as recorded by Mark 3:7-8.

18. Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall show judgment to the Gentiles. The alteration is very little, and we must not expect to meet with quotations out of the Old Testament verbatim: it is enough that the sense is the same.

Behold my servant, whom I have chosen. The word indifferently signifieth a child or a servant, Christ is called the Lord’s servant, because he took upon him the form of a servant, and became obedient even to death, Philippians 2:7,8:

Whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: in Isaiah it is, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth. Matthew seems to have left out whom I uphold, and to have taken the next words, mine elect, and to have translated them, whom I have chosen, which was all said by the prophet. God chose the Lord Jesus Christ to be our Redeemer, and the Head of the elect; hence we are said to be chosen in him, Ephesians 1:4. Peter saith he was foreordained, 1 Peter 1:20 2:6, he is called a chief Cornerstone, elect. My beloved, in whom my soul

is well pleased: in Isaiah it is, in whom my soul delighteth: the sense is the same.

He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles, or to the nations. The words jpvm, in the Hebrew, krisiv in the Greek, and judgment in the English, are all so variously used, as gives interpreters a great latitude to abound in their senses. The most probable to me is this: Judgment signifies a thing adjudged: all judgment is either of approbation or condemnation.

He shall bring forth, or he shall show, the things which God approveth and judgeth right, both in matters of doctrine, worship, and the government of the church of God, and in matters which concern the government of men’s lives and conversations: and to this end God promises to put his Spirit upon him, so Isaiah 11:2 41:1; and John tells us it was not given him by measure, John 3:34, which is the same with being anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, Psalm 45:7, which the apostle applies to Christ, Hebrews 1:9. Behold, my servant whom I have chosen,.... These are the words of God the Father, speaking to the church, concerning Christ, as mediator; who, as such, is God's servant, employed by him, and obedient to him, in the work of man's salvation; and is a righteous, faithful, prudent, and diligent one; whom he, from all eternity, had chosen to this service, and in the fulness of time sent him to do it, and supported and upheld him in it; for it is whom I uphold, in the Hebrew text. My beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased; who always was the object of his love, not only as his own and only begotten Son, but as in his office capacity, as mediator; in regard to which he was his elect, as it is in Isaiah; and, as such, he was always delighted in his person, well pleased with his office, and the discharge of it, and which he declared more than once by a voice from heaven, as at his baptism, and at his transfiguration on the mount: I will put my Spirit upon him; as he did without measure, whereby he was abundantly qualified for his whole work, and particularly for preaching the Gospel, being richly anointed with gifts and graces, above his fellows; of which the descent of the Holy Spirit upon him, as a dove at his baptism, which immediately preceded his public ministry, was a symbol. And he shall show judgment unto the Gentiles; meaning, not the general judgment, at the last day, which is committed to him; nor the laws of Justice and equity; but the Gospel, which is the produce of the God of judgment; best informs the judgment of men about the business of salvation; gives an account of the righteous procedure of God in justifying sinners, by the righteousness of his Son; and teaches men to live soberly, righteously, and godly: this Christ brought forth, and showed, at this time, to the Heathens, the Idumeans, Tyrians, and Sidonians; who flocked unto him; whereby this part of the prophecy had its fulfilment: in the Hebrew it is, "he shall bring forth"; that is, out of his heart and mouth, and is the same as "show" here. Behold my servant, whom I have chosen; my beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased: I will put my spirit upon him, and he shall shew {c} judgment to the Gentiles.

(c) By judgment is meant a godly kingdom, because Christ was to proclaim true religion among the Gentiles, and to cast out superstition; and wherever this is done, the Lord is said to reign and judge there, that is to say, to govern and rule matters.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Matthew 12:18. Isaiah 40:1 ff., a very free rendering of the original Hebrew text, yet not without some reminiscences of the LXX. For the עֶבֶר יְהֹוָה, which the LXX. (Ἰακὼβ ὁ παῖς μου) and modern expositors interpret as applying to Israel as a nation, or the ideal Israel of the prophets, see, besides, the commentaries on Isaiah; Drechsler and Delitzsch in Rudelbach’s Zeitschr. 1852, 2, p. 258 ff.; Tholuck, d. Propheten u. ihre Weissag. p. 158 ff.; Kleinert in the Stud. u. Krit. 1862, p. 699 ff.; F. Philippi in the Mecklenb. Zeitschr. 1864, 5, and 6. Matthew understands it as referring to the Messiah. Similarly the Chaldee paraphrasts and Kimchi, in which they are justified by the Messianic idea, as fulfilled in Christ, running through the whole passage. See Acts 3:13; Acts 3:26; Acts 4:27; Acts 4:30; Hengstenberg, Christol. II. p. 216 ff., compared with Kleinert, l.c.

εἰς ὅν] in regard to whom. Direction of the approbation. Comp. 2 Peter 1:17. The aorists, as in Matthew 3:17.

θήσω τὸ πνεῦμα] i.e. I will make Him the possessor and the bearer of my Holy Spirit, by whose power He is to work, Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 3:16; Acts 4:27.

κρίσιν] not: quod fieri par est (Fritzsche); not: justice and righteousness (Bleek); the good cause (Schegg); or the cause of God (Baumgarten-Crusius); not: recta cultus divini ratio (Gerhard); nor: doctrina divina (Kuinoel),—which interpretations have been given in view of the משׁפט of the original (where it denotes the right, i.e. what is right and matter of duty in the true theocracy. Comp. Ewald on Isaiah, l.c.; Hengstenberg, p. 233; and see in general, Gesenius, Thes. III. p. 1464). But in the New Testament κρίσις has no other meaning but that of final sentence, judgment (also in Matthew 23:23); and this, in fact, is the sense in which the Hebrew was understood by the LXX. Matthew’s Greek expression is doubtless to be understood no less in the sense of a judicial sentence, i.e. the Messianic judgment, for which the Messiah is preparing the way through His whole ministry, and which is to be consummated at the last day.

τοῖς ἔθνεσιν] not: the nations, generally, but the heathen. Similarly also in Matthew 12:21. The point of fulfilment in the prediction here quoted lies simply in its serving to describe, as it does in Matthew 12:19 f., the unostentatious, meek, and gentle nature of Christ’s ministry (Matthew 12:16), so that it is unnecessary to look to what precedes in order to find something corresponding to τοῖς ἔθνεσι (some finding it in the multitudes that followed Jesus). Jesus did not preach to the heathen till He did it through the apostles, Ephesians 2:17, a matter altogether beyond the scope of the present passage. It should be observed generally, and especially in the case of somewhat lengthened quotations from the Old Testament, that it is not intended that every detail is to find its corresponding fulfilment, but that such fulfilment is to be looked for only in connection with that which the connection shows to be the main subject under consideration.18. my servant] Israel as a nation is called the servant of Jehovah, Isaiah 41:8. Here the same title is given to Jesus, as the representative of the nation.

judgment] The Hebrew word is used in a wider sense to denote “religion as the rule of life;” hence judgment may mean (1) “the law of Christ,” “the Gospel,” or (2) adhering to the strict meaning of the Greek word, “the divine sentence or decree.”

to the Gentiles] Possibly our Lord in His retirement addressed Himself more especially to the Gentiles—the Greeks, Phœnicians, and others, settled near the Lake. “They about Tyre and Sidon, a great multitude, … came unto him,” Mark 3:8.Matthew 12:18. Ἰδοὺ ὁ Παῖς Μου, ὃν ᾑρέτισα· ὁ ἀγαπητός Μου, εἰς ὃν εὐδόκησεν ἡ ψυχή Μου· θήσω τὸ πνεῦμά Μου ἐπʼ Αὐτὸν, καὶ κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπαγγελεῖ· οὐκ ἐρίσει οὐδὲ κραυγάσει, οὐδὲ ἀκούσει τὶς ἐν ταῖς πλατείαις τὴν φωνὴν Αὐτοῦ· κάλαμον συντετριμμένον οὐ κατεάξει, καὶ λίνον τυφόμενον οὐ σβέσει· ἓως ἂν ἐκβάλῃ εἰς νῖκος τὴν κρίσιν· καὶ ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι Αὐτοῦ ἔθνη ἐλπιοῦσι,—Behold My Servant, whom I have chosen; My Beloved, in whom My soul is well pleased; I will put My Spirit upon Him, and He shall announce judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not strive nor cry; neither shall any man hear His voice in the streets. A bruised reed shall He not break, and smoking flax shall He not quench, till He send forth judgment unto victory. And, in His name shall the Gentiles trust. The LXX. thus render Isaiah 42:1-4,—Ἰακὼβ ὁ παῖς Μου, ἀντιλήψομαι αὖτοῦ· Ἰσραὴλ ὁ ἐκλεκτός Μου, προσεδέξατο αὐτὸν ἡ ψυχή Μου, ἔδωκα τὸ πνεῦμά Μου ἐπʼ αὐτὸν, κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἐξοίσει· οὐ κράξεται, οὐδὲ ἀνήσει, οὐδὲ ἀκουσθήσεται ἔξω ἡ φωνὴ αὐτοῦ· κάλαμον συντεθλασμένον οὐ συντρίψει, καὶ λίνον καπνιζόμενον οὐ σβέσει, ἀλλὰ εἰς ἀλήθειαν ἐξοίσει κρίσιν, κ.τ.λ.[559] Jacob is My servant; I will defend him. Israel is my chosen; My soul has accepted him: I have given my Spirit upon him; he shall bear forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up [his voice]; nor shall his voice be heard without. A bruised reed shall he not crush, and smoking flax shall he not quench; but he shall bear forth judgment unto truth.—ὁ παῖς μου, my servant = the Hebrew עבדי,[560] in Isaiah 42:1. And the LXX. frequently express that Hebrew word[561] by παῖς,[562] e.g. where Moses, or even the Messiah, is spoken of. Cf. Acts 3:13; Acts 3:26; Acts 4:27; Acts 4:30. For it is not again repeated in the New Testament concerning the Messiah, either because neither the Greek παῖς, or any other word, corresponds sufficiently to that Hebrew word, which the apostles also used in the beginning, or else because neither of them is suitable to our Lord’s state of glorification. The words, servant and beloved, are parallel; and also, I have chosen, and I am well pleased.—ᾑρέτισα, I have chosenαἱρετίζειν = αἱρετὸν ὁρίζειν, to set apart as chosen.—εἰς ὅν, towards whom) The preposition εἰς denotes the perpetual tendency of the Father’s mind towards His Beloved [Son]. See 2 Peter 1:17.—κρίσιν, judgment) salutary to men. See Matthew 12:20, and John 16:11.—κρίσις, judgment, is the separation of sin and righteousness.—τοῖς ἔθνεσιν, to the Gentiles) when He shall have departed from the Jews.—ἀπαγγελεῖ, He shall announce) He both performed and announced it. The future tense is employed here; but the past afterwards by St Paul, Ephesians 2:17 [with reference to the same matter].

[559] In E. V. it stands thus—“Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him; he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.”—(I. B.)

[560] Sc. עבד servant, with the pronominal suffix י, my.—(I. B.)

[561] עֶבֶד, i.e. a servant: the minister or ambassador sent by God for accomplishing some service: also a familiar servant chosen and beloved of God on account of his piety and approved fidelity; also a term especially applied to the Messiah. See GESENIUS, etc.—(I. B.)

[562] παῖς. According to Schleusner, (1) a child in age; (2) a child in relation to its parents; (3) one pre-eminently beloved; (4) a servant; (5) the minister of a king, etc. According to Liddel and Scott, (1) a child in relation to its parents; (2) a child in age; (3) a servant. The passages, however, in these writers are too long for insertion, and cannot be adequately abridged.—(I. B.)Verse 18. - Behold my servant. Primarily, as would appear, Israel in its ideal, up to which true Israelites came in measure, but only One came fully. Whom I have chosen (ο{ν ᾑρέτισα). The Hebrew denotes "lay hold of" (אתמד), i.e. for myself. Bengel has a beautiful note on the εἰς ὅν of the Received Text, "Αἰς, in, denotat perpeluam mentis paternae tendentiam erga dilectum, 2 Peter 1:17." According to the LXX. of 1 Chronicles 29:1, David's expression about Solomon affords a curious parallel, Ὁ υἱός μου εἰς ο{ν ᾑρέτικεν ἐν αὐτῷ Κύριος (edit. Dr. Swete). But Lagarde's edition of the Lucianic text punctuates and accents differently, Ὁ υἱός μου εϊς ο{ν ᾑρέτικεν ἐν αὐτῷ κύριος, and this is much nearer to the Hebrew. My beloved, in whom my soul is well pleased (Matthew 3:17, note): I will put my Spirit upon him, and he shall show (declare, Revised Version) judgment to the Gentiles (καὶ κρίσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ἀπαγγελεῖ). Although κρίσις usually represents in the New Testament God's decision as to the character and life of men, it here must be understood, like mishpat in the original, of the Divine right as made known to them for their acceptance and imitation. It is "the true religion viewed on its practical side as a norm and standard for life in all its relations" (Delitzsch). The thought here, therefore, is not of Christ's power to punish and avenge (though he refused to use it as yet), but of his bringing a revelation which should eventually spread, not only to the Jews who now rejected him, but to the Gentiles whom they despised.
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