Isaiah 61 Commentary

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NOTE: This Verse by Verse Commentary page is part of an ongoing project to add notes to each verse of the Bible. Therefore many verses do not yet have notes, but if the Lord tarries and gives me breath, additions will follow in the future. The goal is to edify and equip you for the work of service (Eph 4:12-13+) that the Lord God might be glorified in your life and in His Church. Amen (Isa 61:3b, Mt 5:16+)

Click Chart by Irving Jensen to Enlarge
Another Chart by Charles Swindoll
("Jehovah is Salvation")

See Excellent Timeline for Isaiah - page 39
Judgment & Character

(Isaiah 1-39)
Comfort & Redemption

(Isaiah 40-66)




Salvation &








Judah &
Is 1:1-12:6
the Nations
& Promises
Prophetic Historic Messianic
Holiness, Righteousness & Justice of Jehovah Grace, Compassion & Glory of Jehovah
God's Government
"A throne" Is 6:1
God's Grace
"A Lamb" Is 53:7

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed Me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent Me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

Septuagint - Lxx  pneuma kuriou ep eme ou eineken echrisen (AAI) me euaggelisasthai (AMN)  ptochois apestalken (Perfect Active Indicative) me iasasthai (AMN) tous suntetrimmenous (Perfect Passive Participle) te kardia keruxai (AAN) aichmalotois aphesin kai tuphlois anablepsin 

Comment - The words in bold are the words Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth over 700 centuries later as recorded in Luke 4:18-note. Jesus also added a portion of the passage in Isaiah 58:6 "TO SET FREE THOSE WHO ARE OPPRESSED." Notice also that the original Hebrew text does not have the phrase "and recovery of sight to the blind." However the Septuagint does have that specific phrase which clearly indicates that Jesus was reading the Septuagint Greek and not the Masoretic Hebrew. Below is the English translation from the Septuagint.

English Translation of Septuagint - The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me; he has sent me to preach glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken in heart, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and recovery of sight to the blind; 

Comment - As noted above Jesus did not read "to heal the broken in heart" which is present in the Septuagint. However He did read "recovery of sight to the blind" which is present in the Septuagint, but not in the original Hebrew text. Clearly Jesus accepted the Septuagint as the inspired word of God. 

ICB - The Lord God has put his Spirit in me. This is because he has appointed me to tell the good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort those whose hearts are broken. He has sent me to tell the captives they are free. He has sent me to tell the prisoners that they are released.

Amplified  The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed and qualified me to preach the Gospel of good tidings to the meek, the poor, and afflicted; He has sent me to bind up and heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the [physical and spiritual] captives and the opening of the prison and of the eyes to those who are bound,

NET  The Spirit of the sovereign LORD is upon me, because the LORD has chosen me. He has commissioned me to encourage the poor, to help the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners,

KJV  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;

ESV   The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;

NLT   The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is upon me, for the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.

CSB   The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the LORD has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and freedom to the prisoners;

GWN  The Spirit of the Almighty LORD is with me because the LORD has anointed me to deliver good news to humble people. He has sent me to heal those who are brokenhearted, to announce that captives will be set free and prisoners will be released.

BHT   rûªH ´ádönäy yhwh(´élöhîm) `äläy yaº`an mäšah yhwh(´ädönäy) ´ötî lebassër `ánäwîm šelähanî laháböš lenišberê-lëb liqrö´ lišbûyìm derôr wela´ásûrîm peqah-qôªh

NAB  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has anointed me; He has sent me to bring glad tidings to the lowly, to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners,

NIV  The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners,

NJB  The spirit of Lord Yahweh is on me for Yahweh has anointed me. He has sent me to bring the news to the afflicted, to soothe the broken-hearted,

YLT   The Spirit of the Lord Jehovah is on me, Because Jehovah did anoint me To proclaim tidings to the humble, He sent me to bind the broken of heart, To proclaim to captives liberty, And to bound ones an opening of bands.

BBE   The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because I am marked out by him to give good news to the poor; he has sent me to make the broken-hearted well, to say that the prisoners will be made free, and that those in chains will see the light again;

To help you place Isaiah 61 in its proper context, see the Book Chart above and the outline below from John Hannah...

  • The glory of the kingdom  (Isa 60:1-63:6)
    1. The position of Israel in the kingdom  (Isa 60:1-22)
      1. Her enlightenment  (Isa 60:1-3)
      2. Her prominence  (Isa 60:4-14)
      3. Her peace  (Isa 60:15-22)
    2. The ministry of the Messiah  (Isa 61:1-11)
      1. The two advents of Messiah  (Isa 61:1-3)
      2. The results of the second advent  (Isa 61:4-11)
        1. The restoration of Israel  (Isa 61:4-9)
        2. The gift of righteousness  (Isa 61:10-11)
    3. The position of Jerusalem in the kingdom  (Isa 62:1-63:6)
      1. The resolve to bless Jerusalem  (Isa 62:1)
      2. The restoration of Jerusalem  (Isa 62:2-5)
      3. The promise of Jerusalem's permanent deliverance  (Isa 62:6-12)
      4. The destruction of Jerusalem's enemies  (Isa 63:1-6)

Allen Ross - One expository arrangement that could be used in preaching from this passage is as follows (as in a message for people called to service):

I.  God’s servants are appointed by God’s Spirit to proclaim God’s message (Isa. 61:1a)
         A.  They are anointed by God.  
         B.  They are anointed by God to proclaim good news.
II.  The proclamation of the Word of God transforms the lives of those who believe (Isa. 61 1b-3)
         A.  The good news is that there is hope for the hopeless.
         B.  The good news is that there is liberty from bondage.
         C.  The good news is that there is grace for the debtor.
         D.  The good news is that there is joy in place of sorrow.
    III.  God’s program of redemption fits us for service (Isa. 61:4-11).
         A.  We have been blessed with reconciliation. 
         B.  We have been made a kingdom of priests.
         C.  We have every reason to praise.     


Spirit (Ruah)...Lord GOD (Adonai YHWH)...anointed Me (Messiah) - This verse speaks of the Trinity. (Ref 1, Ref 2, Ref 3) It is amazing that even Jesus depended on the Spirit of God to accomplish the Mission of God! (cf Peter's summation of Jesus' mission = Acts 10:37-38+) Reasoning from greater to lesser, how can we not do the same beloved? We are all on mission for God and His Gospel (Sign on back of church as you leave "You are now entering the Mission Field!"), but we can only complete our mission by continually depending on the Spirit's supernatural empowerment. Are you trying to accomplish God's mission in and through your life in your power or in dependence on His power? Remember Jesus' words that "apart from Me you can do (absolutely) nothing (that will remain for eternity - cf Jn 15:16)" (John 15:5). So as believers on mission we must daily die to self and abide in the Vine (Jesus) by being continually filled with the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7+, Php 1:19, Eph 5:18+). His Spirit then bears the fruit through us as willing, surrendered vessels for honor prepared for every good (Spirit empowered) work. (2 Ti 2:21+). 

Isaiah 61:1-2a is significant as this is the text Jesus chose to read from in Luke 4:16-21-note on the Sabbath in the the synagogue in Nazareth. After reading these passages, He applied the text to Himself stating “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.” (Lk 4:21-note) He was declaring to all the Jews in the synagogue that He was the long expected Messiah, the fulfillment of Isaiah's prophecy, if they had ears to hear and eyes to see!

W E Vine - Up to the end of the last chapter the speaker was Jehovah. In the first verse of this chapter there comes a change; the speaker is not Isaiah but Christ the Messiah. In confirmation of this, what He says about Himself is identical with what has already been said about the Servant of Jehovah.

Allen Ross - It was a portion of this passage that Jesus read in the Synagogue (in Luke 4) and reported fulfilled in their hearing.  Thus, no matter what the actual historical application might have been for the speaker (the prophet, or the remnant, or the compiler), the ultimate and fullest meaning is that the Holy Spirit anointed Jesus to declare the Good News. But the theology of both the Old and New Testament settings corresponds.  The Good News in the historical setting was release from the bondage of the exile to full and free service of the LORD once again, a jubilee-like experience; but in the New Testament that bondage is sin and death, and the deliverance is spiritual and eternal as well as physical.  Once again the New Testament captures the spirit as well as the letter of the Old Testament passage; but it takes it to its divinely intended-and lofty-fulfillment.

Some question who is speaking here. For example Jewish writers apply these words to the prophet Isaiah, but no prophet ever uttered words in this manner! Except the Prophet Jesus (cf Dt 18:15)These are the words of the Servant of the Lord (Isa 42:1, 50:4,5). Indeed the task outlined in the first 3 verses is such that only God Himself could carry it out, doing so through His Servant, the Messiah. 

In Isaiah 61:2 God speaks of "the favorable year of the LORD" which is a reference to the  Year of Jubilee prescribed in Leviticus 25

‘You are also to count off seven sabbaths of years (7 "sevens" = 49 years) for yourself, seven times seven years (49 years), so that you have the time of the seven sabbaths of years, namely, forty-nine years (NOTICE 3 TIMES GOD EMPHASIZES 49 YEARS SO THE MESSAGE WAS CRYSTAL CLEAR!). ‘You shall then sound a ram’s horn abroad on the tenth day of the seventh month; on the day of atonement you shall sound a horn all through your land. 10 ‘You shall thus consecrate the fiftieth year and proclaim a release (deror; Lxx = aphesis - cf use in Lk 4:18-note) through the land to all its inhabitants. It shall be a jubilee for you, and each of you shall return to his own property, and each of you shall return to his family. 11 ‘You shall have the fiftieth year as a jubilee; you shall not sow, nor reap its aftergrowth, nor gather in from its untrimmed vines. 12 ‘For it is a jubilee; it shall be holy to you. You shall eat its crops out of the field.  13 ‘On this year of jubilee each of you shall return to his own property. (Lev 25:9-13-note)

Comment: Notice the key feature of the fiftieth year is to proclaim a release, the Hebrew word deror being translated in the Septuagint by the noun aphesis which means release from captivity (deliverance), cancellation of a debt and primarily in the NT speaks of forgiveness of sins (Mt 26:28). And so the Year of Jubilee was for Israel in the OT remission of literal debts which served as a picture of a NT believer's remission of their debt of sin, which would certainly be a "favorable year" (and a favorable eternity!). Jesus used the picture of Isaiah 61:1 to describe the purpose of His coming to earth when He read it in the synagogue at the outset of His Galilean ministry in Luke 4:18-note.

As Warren Wiersbe explains during the "favorable year" of Jubilee "all debts were canceled, all land was returned to the original owners, the slaves were freed, and everybody was given a fresh new beginning. This was the Lord’s way of balancing the economy and keeping the rich from exploiting the poor. If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you are living today in a spiritual “Year of Jubilee.” You have been set free from bondage; your spiritual debt to the Lord has been paid; you are living in “the acceptable year of the Lord.” Instead of the ashes of mourning, you have a crown on your head; for He has made you a king (Rev. 1:6). You have been anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit, and you wear a garment of righteousness (Isa. 61:3, 10).

Related Resource


Rod Mattoon - Remember that Isaiah is giving this message to Israelites who will soon be facing captivity in Babylon. This message is certainly one of hope to all people who read it, but it must have been of tremendous comfort to the Jews to know that their captivity would not last forever and that there was a glorious reward awaiting them one day in the future.

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me (Lu 4:18, 19+): This fact signifies that this oracle is inspired by the Holy Spirit (See What was the role of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament?)  What does it mean that the Spirit was "upon" Messiah? Comparison with the NT, especially the book of Luke indicates that the phrase "Spirit upon" is tantamount to the Spirit anointing and filling and controlling and empowering Jesus for ministry. Study Lk 3:22+ = "the Holy Spirit descended upon Him", Lk 4:1+, Lk 4:14+, Luke 4:18+, Acts 10:38+,). Adrian Rogers once described his ideal state of the Church as "God the Holy Spirit upon the throne of every man's heart, upon every man's life, directing, controlling, and supplying all, that Jesus might get the glory." Is the Holy Spirit "upon" you today? Don't be confused. Every believer has the indwelling Spirit (Ro 8:9+), but not every believer is Spirit filled and controlled and empowered. Father, like a might rushing river, fill Your Church, the Body of Christ, with Your Holy Spirit, reviving her in post-Christian America, so that Your Son might be mightily glorified throughout this dark land. Amen. The Church desperately needs the Spirit upon the individual members for as Jesus said "you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” (Acts 1:8+, cf Acts 2:1-4+,  Pr 1:23+

Jesus reads from this section during His visit to the synagogue in Nazareth and closes His reading with the statement, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing" (Lu 4:21+). Thus, He applies the verses to Himself. These verses describe the character and office of the Messiah. The reference to "liberty" and "opening of the prison" allude to the Year of Jubilee, during which all debts and obligations were erased (cf. Lev 25:8,9+). We see the Spirit coming on 

Isaiah 42:1 Behold, My Servant (MESSIAH IN HIS INCARNATION cf. Mt 12:17-20), Whom I uphold; My Chosen One in Whom My soul delights (cp Mt 3:17+). I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations (PROPHECY TO BE FULFILLED AT HIS SECOND COMING - cf Isa 11:3-5+).  2 “He will not cry out or raise His voice, Nor make His voice heard in the street.  3 “A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.  4 “He will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law.”

Isaiah 11:1Then a shoot will spring from the stem of Jesse, And a branch from his roots will bear fruit.  2 The Spirit of the LORD will rest on Him, (THE MESSIAH) The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the LORD.  3 And He will delight in the fear of the LORD, And He will not judge by what His eyes see, Nor make a decision by what His ears hear;  4 But with righteousness He will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.  5 Also righteousness will be the belt about His loins, And faithfulness the belt about His waist.  6 And the wolf will dwell with the lamb, And the leopard will lie down with the young goat, And the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; And a little boy will lead them. (IN THE MILLENNIUM) 7 Also the cow and the bear will graze, Their young will lie down together, And the lion will eat straw like the ox. 

NET Note on who is "me" (who the Speaker most likely is) - The Speaker is not identified, but He is distinct from the Lord and from Zion’s suffering people. He possesses the divine spirit, is God’s Spokesman, and is sent to release prisoners from bondage. The evidence suggests He is the Lord’s special Servant, described earlier in the Servant Songs (see Isa 42:1–4, 7; 49:2, 9; 50:4; see also Isa 51:16).

There is no need to speculate on who the Me is because Christ applies these words to Himself and His work of salvation in Luke 4:18.

Spurgeon - The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; - These are the words of the Lord Jesus Christ the prophet, looking forward to the tune of his coming into the world, put them into his mouth; and in due time our Saviour read them, and applied them to himself in the synagogue at Nazareth as he said, “This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears:” “the Spirit of the Lord God is upon me;” —God has sent Christ to bind up the broken-hearted; then, will he not do it? Will he refuse, my broken-hearted brother or sister, to bind you up? O deeply-troubled, tempest-tossed spirit, will the Anointed One reject you, and refuse to fulfill his office upon you? never; it is both his name and his office to save, for he is called Jesus, the Saviour. O broken-hearted one, look to him; hear him say, at this moment, “Jehovah hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,” — to proclaim liberty to the captives- Where are you, poor, wretched bond-slaves of sin, lettered with the iron chains of despair? Christ proclaims liberty even to you. Trust him, and you shall be —

“Freed from sin, and walk at large,
Your Saviour’s blood your full discharge.”
“Jehovah hath sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives,” — 

And the opening of the prison to them that are bound - There is a general discharge of prisoners; the time has come for it. Christ died to make it possible: he lives to perfect the emancipation of all for whom he died. He comes, by his Spirit, to give you the experience of it: “the opening of the prison to them that are bound.” (Spurgeon Expositions)

Because the LORD has anointed me - NET Bible = "He has commissioned me to encourage the poor." The verb anointed is related to the word for Messiah, the Anointed One (Hebrew =  mashiach and used of Him in Da 9:25-note, and Da 9:26-note), Who was designated and empowered to carry out the Father's assignment.

Psalms 45:7 (Quoted as referring to the Messiah in Heb 1:9-note) You have loved righteousness and hated wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of joy above Your fellows. 

John 1:41 He *found first his own brother Simon and *said to him, “We have found the  Messiah” (which translated means  Christ [Anointed One]).

Allen Ross - The idea of anointing with oil is explained theologically: theocratic leaders so anointed would be receiving the enablement by God to rule--the Holy Spirit. Zechariah 4:1-14 explains that the olive oil to the lamps represented the Spirit. And John in his first epistle explains we have the Spirit, the anointing from God (1 Jn 2:20-note, 1 Jn 2:27-note). A prayer for anointing by the Spirit today can only be used in the sense that we desire the manifestation of the anointing that we already have (Ed: In other words, every believer possesses the Holy Spirit so perhaps our daily prayer should be that the Spirit might possess us, so to speak! Amen!).

Here is R A Torrey's Summary of Anointing of the Holy Spirit

Is from God - 2 Corinthians 1:21


Foretold - Psalm 45:7; Isaiah 61:1; Daniel 9:24

Fulfilled - Luke 4:18,21 ; Acts 4:27 ; 10:38 ; Hebrews 1:9

God preserves those who receive  - Psalm 18:50 ; 20:6 ; 89:20-23

Saints receive - Isaiah 61:3 ; 1 John 2:20

Is abiding in saints - 1 John 2:27

Guides into all truth - 1 John 2:27

Typified - Exodus 40:13-15; Leviticus 8:12; 1 Samuel 16:13; 1 Kings 19:16

When did this anointing take place? While one cannot be dogmatic, it was most likely at Messiah's baptism (Lk 3:22). In Acts Peter adds

You yourselves know the thing which took place throughout all Judea, starting from Galilee, after the baptism which John proclaimed. You know of Jesus of Nazareth, how God anointed Him with the Holy Spirit and with power (HERE PETER ASSOCIATES THE BAPTISM OF JESUS WITH THE ANOINTING WITH THE SPIRIT), and how He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. (Acts 10:37,38)

Comment - Do not misunderstand what Peter is saying. Jesus as the God-Man ALWAYS had the Holy Spirit, but now at the beginning of His last three years of ministry God is showing us where Jesus received His power for ministry and how we who are to imitate Jesus' steps must do likewise! Dearly beloved, no believer can live a supernatural life, a life like Christ, without continual dependence on the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, much less preach or teach with supernatural power! Are you continually filled with the Spirit? Are you walking by the power of the Spirit? Are you abiding in the Vine (via the Spirit of Jesus)? If your answer is not an unequivocal "Yes" to each of these three questions, then "by default" you are ministering in the power of the fallen human flesh and are producing absolutely NO FRUIT that will remain throughout eternity!

Anointed (04886)(masah/maschah)  is a verb which basically means to smear something on, to rub with oil, to anoint (as in setting one apart for office or function - Elisha as prophet = 1Ki 19:16, kings for office = 1Sa 9:16 = Saul,1Sa 16:12 = David, 1Ki 1:39 = Solomon) and by implication to sanctify (set aside for sacred purpose) or consecrate (dedicate for a sacred purpose) (altar = Nu 7:10; vessels for worship - Ex 29:36 = "you shall anoint it to consecrate it;" Ex 30:26, 40:9-10). In the first OT use, Jacob "anointed a pillar" and made a vow to God (Ge 31:13; Lxx = aleipho = to anoint by applying a liquid - Jesus' feet were anointed with perfume - Lk 7:38, 46).

Baker adds that "The anointing was done with oil to symbolize the elevation of the person to a new position such as priest or king (2Sa 5:3)."

Daniel 9:24-25 alludes to this anointing for Daniel uses the word "Messiah" which means "Anointed One." If one interprets this passage literally, the time of the Messiah's first coming can be determined. 

Daniel 9:24-25 - note Seventy weeks (70 seven's or 490 and in context the best "unit" is years - so 490 years - see more detailed explanation) have been decreed for your people and your holy city, to finish the transgression, to make an end of sin, to make atonement for iniquity, to bring in everlasting righteousness, to seal up vision and prophecy and to anoint (masah/maschah) the most holy place. 25 “So you are to know and discern (NOTICE TWO VERBS "KNOW" AND "DISCERN" EMPHASIZING THAT THIS IS TRUTH THAT IS ACCESSIBLE TO THE ONE WHO SINCERELY SEEKS IT!) that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem (THIS IS WHEN THE "STOPWATCH" GOES OFF ON THE 490 YEARS) UNTIL Messiah the Prince there will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks (7 x 7 + 62 x 7 = 483 years); it will be built again, with plaza and moat, even in times of distress.

Jesus Himself alluded to the fact that the Jews should have known the time of "your visitation" declaring

Luke 19:43 "For (What's Jesus explaining? See Lk 19:42) the days shall come upon you (OT expression of coming judgment cf. Isa 39:6; Hos 9:7; Am 4:2) when your enemies will throw up a bank before you, and surround you, and hem you in on every side, 44  and will level you to the ground and your children within you, and they will not leave in you one stone upon another (PROPHECY OF THE SIEGE AND SACKING OF JERUSALEM FULFILLED SOME 40 YEARS LATER IN 70 AD), because (THIS IS A CRITICAL term of explanation) you did not recognize (ginosko) the time (kairos - A FIXED AND DEFINITE TIME - THE "WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY") of your visitation (Greek = episkope = JESUS' IMPLICATION IS CLEAR - THE JEWS COULD HAVE AND SHOULD HAVE KNOWN THE TIMING OF HIS FIRST COMING!)."

Henry Morris writes - This terrible prophecy was fulfilled in A.D. 70 when the Roman army under Titus destroyed the temple completely. The destruction of the city and dispersion of its people was completed in A.D. 135. Did not recognize - If the Jewish scribes had really searched and studied the Scriptures (especially Daniel 9:24,25 - note), they could have known "the time of thy visitation." (Defender's Study Bible)

Comment - The Greek word visitation was used either of a visit that brought good or bad. The tragic irony of Jesus' statement is that if Israel had recognized His time of visitation, it would have meant salvation, but their failure to recognize His visit meant it would bring judgment.

John MacArthur adds "All that horrific judgment would come about because Israel refused to recognize the time of her visitation, when the Lord Jesus Christ, God incarnate, offered them salvation and redemption. “He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, [but] the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him” (John 1:10–11). (MacArthur NT Commentary - Luke)

Thomas Constable - The reason for its (Jerusalem's prophesied) destruction was its failure to realize Messiah’s visit and His offer of salvation. Consequently His visit would result in judgment.

MacDonald - A day of visitation is any time the Lord draws near, either in grace or in judgment. The expression is used in Luke 19:41-42, 43, 44. Jesus wept over Jerusalem because it did not know the time of its visitation, that is, Jerusalem did not realize that the Messiah had come in love and mercy.  (Believer's Bible Commentary)

Comment on the related phrase day of visitation (1Pe 2:12-note)-- This was common phrase in the OT and the fundamental sense is visitation, especially a visitation of God or the time when God visits.  In the OT God visited man in a number of ways, basically for two reasons; blessing or judgment. In Isa 10:3 there is recorded a visit of God for judgment. In Jer 27:22 where the same idea occurs also, God visits for blessing, for deliverance, for rescue, for salvation.  In the OT God is said to visit His people to bring them out of Egyptian bondage. God is also said to visit His people to bring them out of Babylonian bondage. In 1 Sa 2:21 it says God visited Hannah to rescue her from barrenness ("and she conceived"), and thus it was a visit for blessing. But all of the NT usages of "divine visitation" refer to a visit for redemption. Lk 1:68 says "Blessed be the Lord God of Israel for He visited us and accomplished redemption." In Lu 7:16 regarding Christ, "God has visited His people" obviously for redemption. And as you move toward the end of Jesus' life in Lu 19:44 it talks about the time of the future when judgment will come "Because you didn't recognize the time of your visitation." That is. Israel was going to be judged because they not know when God visited them with His offer of redemption, but instead they rejected His visitation for salvation, so that He would then in judgment (as occurred in Jerusalem 70 AD and which will occur to the nation in the end times). 

Finally here is an excerpt from the testimony of Leopold Cohn, founder of Chosen Peoples Ministry - “Why does the Messiah tarry? When will He come?” These were questions which continually agitated the young Rabbi’s mind. One day, while poring over a volume of the Talmud, he came upon the following citation: “The world will stand six thousand years. There will be two thousand years of confusion, two thousand years under the law, and two thousand years of the time of the Messiah.” With quickened interest he turned for light on the passage to the writings of Rashi, the foremost Jewish commentator, but the explanation he found there seemed to him to be of little help. “After the second two thousand years,” it read, “the Messiah will come and the wicked kingdoms will be destroyed.” When he turned away from the ponderous volumes, the solution of his problem appeared to him to have become more difficult than ever. According to Talmudical reckoning the Messiah should long since have come; yet, there was the exile, still the bitterest fact of Jewish life, to be accounted for. “Can it be possible,” he asked himself, “that the time appointed by God for the coming of the Messiah has passed and the promise has not been fulfilled?” Sorely perplexed, Rabbi Cohn decided to begin a study of the original predictions of the Prophets, but the very contemplation of the act filled him with fear, for, according to the teaching of the Rabbis, “Cursed are the bones of him who calculates the time of the end.” And so it was that with trembling hands, expecting at any moment to be struck by a bolt from heaven, but with an eagerness irresistible, he opened the book of the prophet Daniel and began to read. When he reached the ninth chapter, light began to dawn upon him. He had struck a mine of hitherto concealed truth, covered up by the commentaries of the revered doctors of the law. From the twenty fourth verse of the chapter before him he deduced without difficulty that the coming of the Messiah should have taken place 400 years after Daniel received from the Divine messenger the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks. (Ed: Compare Jesus' words in Lk 19:44b to the Jews "you did not recognize the time of your visitation") The scholar, accustomed to the intricate and often veiled polemical treatises of the Talmud, now found himself strangely captivated by the clear and soul satisfying declarations of the Word of God, and it was not long before he began to question in his mind the reliability of the Talmud, seeing that in matters so vital it differed from the Holy Scriptures. (Read the full testimony)(Another testimony of Leopold Cohn)

Related Resources on Anointing:


To bring good news to the afflicted: "to encourage the poor" = NET, "to preach good tidings to the meek," = KJV, "to bring good news to the poor" = NLT. W E Vine comments that "The word rendered “the meek” (in KJV) primarily signifies suffering ones."

The anointing with the Spirit provides the power, here the proclamation is the good news, the Gospel, and the audience are those in need, which is all mankind for all have been afflicted by the curse of sin!

Bring good news (01319)(basar) to bear tidings, to preach good news, proclaim good news, in many contexts good news in terms of victory over enemies (1 Sa 4:17, 31:9, etc) and in several passages good news of salvation (Isa 52:7, Isa 61:1, etc). 

John Oswalt on Basar - In the historical literature, the occurrences of bāśar cluster around two events: the death of Saul (1 Samuel 31:9; 2 Samuel 1:20; 2 Samuel 4:10), and the defeat and death of Absalom (2 Samuel 18:19f.) Although David received them differently, both were felt by the messenger to be good news. This concept of the messenger fresh from the field of battle is at the heart of the more theologically pregnant usages in Isaiah and the Psalms. Here it is the Lord who is victorious over his enemies. By virtue of this success, he now comes to deliver the captives (Psalm 68:11 [H 12]; Isaiah 61:1). The watchman waits eagerly for the messenger (Isaiah 52:7; cf. 2 Samuel 18:25f.) who will bring this good news. At first, only Zion knows the truth (Isaiah 40:9; Isaiah 41:27), but eventually all nations will tell the story (Isaiah 60:6). The reality of this concept is only finally met in Christ (Luke 4:16-21; 1 Cor. 15:54-56; Col. 1:5, 6; Col. 2:13-15). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Brown-Driver-Briggs on basar...

†[‏בָּשַׂר‎] verb bear tidings (rub smooth the face; compare Arabic  remove the face of surface of a thing, compare Arabic be glad, joyful; he rejoiced him with the message of the birth of a son; Ethiopic bring a joyful message, so Assyrian bussuru (Pa.) DlPr 170, Sab. ‏תבשר‎ DHMMV, also ‏בשר‎, DHMZMG 1883, 358, CISiv. 1, 41, 1. 3)—

Piel Pf. ‏בִּשַּׂר‎ Je 20:15 + 2 t.; Imperfect ‏תְּבַשֵּׂר‎ 2Sa 18:20 + 4 t.; ‏אֲבַשְּׂרָה‎ 2Sa 18:19; Imperative ‏בַּשְּׂרוּ‎ 1Ch 16:23 = Psalm 96:2; Infinitive ‏לְבַשֵּׂר‎ 1Sa 31:9 + 2 t.; Pt. ‏מְבַשֵּׂר‎ Isa 41:27 + 6 t.; f. ‏מְבַשֶּׂרֶת‎ Isa 40:9; 40:9; pl. ‏מְבַשְּׂרוֹּת‎ Psalm 68:12;—

1. gladden with good tidings: birth of a son Je 20:15; victory 1Sa 31:9 2Sa 1:20 1Ch 10:9 Psalm 68:12; ‏היה כמבשׂר בעיניו‎ he was in his eyes as a bearer of good tidings 2Sa 4:10.

2. bear tidings 2Sa 18:19; 18:20; 18:20; 18:26; even of evil 1Sa 4:17, and so with accusative ‏בשׂר טוב‎ 1Ki 1:42.

3. herald as glad tidings: the salvation of God, peach (chiefly exilic usage) the advent of ‏י׳‎ in salvation Nah 2:1 Isa 40:9; 40:9 41:27 52:7; 52:7; the praises of Yahweh 60:6; His righteousness in the great congregation Psalm 40:10; His salvation daily Psalm 96:2 = 1Ch 16:23; the Messianic servant preaches good tidings to the meek Isa 61:1.

Hithpael Imperfect ‏יִתְבַּשֵּׂר‎ 2Sa 18:31 receive good tidings (so Kirkp. Klo; compare Arabic IV. X; otherwise AV). (The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon)

Basar - 24x in 21v - Usage: bear good news(1), bearer of good news(2), bring good news(1), bring the news(1),, bringing good news(2), brings good news(3), brought the news(2), carry the good news(2), carry news(1),, messenger of good news(1), proclaim(1), proclaim good tidings(2), proclaim the good tidings(1), proclaimed glad tidings(1), receive good news(1).

1 Samuel 4:17  Then the one who brought the news (messenger = KJV) replied, "Israel has fled before the Philistines and there has also been a great slaughter among the people, and your two sons also, Hophni and Phinehas, are dead, and the ark of God has been taken."

1 Samuel 31:9  They cut off his head and stripped off his weapons, and sent them throughout the land of the Philistines, to carry the good news (Lxx = euaggelizo) to the house of their idols and to the people.

2 Samuel 1:20  "Tell it not in Gath, Proclaim (Lxx =  anaggello - announce, openly declare) it not in the streets of Ashkelon, Or the daughters of the Philistines will rejoice, The daughters of the uncircumcised will exult.

2 Samuel 4:10  when one told me, saying, 'Behold, Saul is dead,' and thought he was bringing good news (Lxx = euaggelizo), I seized him and killed him in Ziklag, which was the reward I gave him for his news.

2 Samuel 18:19  Then Ahimaaz the son of Zadok said, "Please let me run and bring the king news (Lxx = euaggelizo) that the LORD has freed him from the hand of his enemies."

2 Samuel 18:20  But Joab said to him, "You are not the man to carry news this day, but you shall carry news (Lxx = euaggelizo) another day; however, you shall carry no news (Lxx = euaggelizo) today because the king's son is dead."

2 Samuel 18:26  Then the watchman saw another man running; and the watchman called to the gatekeeper and said, "Behold, another man running by himself." And the king said, "This one also is bringing good news (Lxx = euaggelizo)."

2 Samuel 18:31  Behold, the Cushite arrived, and the Cushite said, "Let my lord the king receive good news (Lxx = euaggelizo), for the LORD has freed you this day from the hand of all those who rose up against you."

1 Kings 1:42  While he was still speaking, behold, Jonathan the son of Abiathar the priest came. Then Adonijah said, "Come in, for you are a valiant man and bring good news (Lxx = euaggelizo)."

1 Chronicles 10:9  So they stripped him and took his head and his armor and sent messengers around the land of the Philistines to carry the good news (Lxx = euaggelizo) to their idols and to the people.

1 Chronicles 16:23  Sing to the LORD, all the earth; Proclaim good tidings (Lxx =  anaggello) of His salvation from day to day.

Psalm 40:9  I have proclaimed glad tidings (Lxx = euaggelizo) of righteousness in the great congregation; Behold, I will not restrain my lips, O LORD, You know.

NET Note - Heb “I proclaim justice in the great assembly.” Though “justice” appears without a pronoun here, the LORD’s just acts are in view (see Isa 40:10). His “justice” (צֶדֶק, tsedeq) is here the deliverance that originates in his justice; he protects and vindicates the one whose cause is just.

Psalm 68:11  The Lord gives the command; The women who proclaim the good tidings (Lxx = euaggelizo) are a great host:

NET Note - Heb "the ones spreading the good news [are] a large army." The participle translated "the ones spreading the good news" is a feminine plural form. Apparently the good news here is the announcement that enemy kings have been defeated (see Ps 68:12). 

Psalm 96:2  Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings (Lxx = euaggelizo) of His salvation from day to day.

MacArthur - Genuine praise includes a testimony to others of God’s plan of redemption.

Isaiah 40:9  Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news (Lxx = euaggelizo), Lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news (Lxx = euaggelizo); Lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, "Here is your God!"

NET Note -The second feminine singular imperatives are addressed to personified Zion/Jerusalem, who is here told to ascend a high hill and proclaim the good news of the Lord’s return to the other towns of Judah. Isa 41:27 and Isa 52:7 speak of a herald sent to Zion, but the masculine singular form מְבַשֵּׂר (mévaser) is used in these verses, in contrast to the feminine singular form מְבַשֶּׂרֶת (mévaseret) employed in 40:9, where Zion is addressed as a herald.

Isaiah 41:27  "Formerly I said to Zion, 'Behold, here they are.' And to Jerusalem, 'I will give a messenger of good news.'

Isaiah 52:7  How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news  (Lxx = euaggelizo), Who announces peace And brings good news  (Lxx = euaggelizo) of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Comment - This clearly refers to the Gospel of salvation for it is quoted in that sense by Paul in Ro 10:15+.

MacArthur has an interesting note - Messengers will traverse the mountains around Jerusalem to spread the good news of the return of redeemed Israel to the Land (40:9; 61:1; Na 1:15). Paul broadened this millennial reference to the preaching of the gospel in the kingdom to include spreading the gospel of God’s grace from the time of Jesus Christ on (Ro 10:15+; cf. Eph 6:15+).

Isaiah 60:6  "A multitude of camels will cover you, The young camels of Midian and Ephah; All those from Sheba will come; They will bring gold and frankincense, And will bear good news (Lxx = euaggelizo) of the praises of the LORD.

Isaiah 61:1  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

Jeremiah 20:15  Cursed be the man who brought the news To my father, saying, "A baby boy has been born to you!" And made him very happy.

Nahum 1:15  Behold, on the mountains the feet of him who brings good news (Lxx = euaggelizo), Who announces (Lxx =  anaggello) peace! Celebrate your feasts, O Judah; Pay your vows. For never again will the wicked one pass through you; He is cut off completely.

Bring good news in the Lxx in Isaiah 61:1 is euaggelizo/euangelizo the NT verb meaning predominately to make known God's message of salvation with authority and power, in short to preach the Gospel (as translated in Lk 4:18, cf. Ps. 25:16–21; Matt. 9:12–13; Mark 2:17; Luke 5:31–32).

This prophecy was clearly fulfilled in Messiah's first coming but sadly was largely rejected by those in Israel (Read John 1:9-11-note)

Mark 1:1+ The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God.....(Mk 1:15+) and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the Gospel.” 

Matthew 4:23+ Jesus was going throughout all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues and proclaiming the Gospel of the kingdom, and healing every kind of disease and every kind of sickness among the people.  

To the afflicted ("the poor") - ("He has commissioned me to encourage the poor." = NET; "because the LORD has anointed me to bring good news to the poor" = ESV)

The intended audience is not the "rich and famous" but the "down and out!" Jesus' addressed a similar audience in the NT, an audience much more likely to be receptive to the Gospel...

Matthew 9:12-13+ But when Jesus heard this, He said, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. 13 “But go and learn what this means: ‘I DESIRE COMPASSION, AND NOT SACRIFICE,’ for I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”

Mark 2:17+  And hearing this, Jesus *said to them, “It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick; I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” 

Luke 5:31-32  And Jesus answered and said to them, “It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 “I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.” 

Afflicted (06035)(anav from 'anah = to be bowed down, afflicted, humbled) can speak of literal affliction, but more often is used figuratively to speak of spiritual affliction or spiritual poverty. The first OT use describes Moses as "very humble." (Nu 12:3)

Anav is translated in Isaiah 61:1 in the Septuagint with the adjective ptochos which speaks of abject literal poverty but more importantly of total spiritual poverty outside of salvation in Christ. Jesus used ptochos with this sense when He declared "Blessed are the poor (ptochos) in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 5:3-note) Some uses of anav (Ps 21:27) are translated in the Septuagint with the word penes which "pertains to being obliged to work for a living, but not being reduced to begging (as with ptochos)"(BDAG)

The root verb 'anah helps understand the mean of the adjective anav for the verb refers to affliction God uses "to prompt repentance; for example, the purpose of the wilderness wandering was to humble Israel (Deut. 8:2-3). This is a recurrent theme in Scripture. The Exile is similarly viewed as to nature and end (Psalm 102:23; Isaiah 64:12; Zech. 10:2). God is therefore thanked for affliction (Psalm 88:7; Psalm 90:15; Psalm 119:75; Lament. 3:33). Another theological theme frequently connected with this word (Verb - 'anah) is self-inflicted inner pain expressing contrition and often accompanied by fasting. These are commanded by God (Leviticus 16:29, 31) for the Day of Atonement. It is striking that this is the only time such fasting and contrition are enjoined by God." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Leonard Coppes on the adjective 'anav - This adjective stresses the moral and spiritual condition of the godly as the goal of affliction implying that this state is joined with a suffering life rather than with one of worldly happiness and abundance. ʿānāv expresses the intended outcome of affliction: humility. Moses' description of himself (Numbers 12:3) as such a man is no proud boast, but merely a report of his position: absolute dependence on God (cf. Paul's statement in Acts 20:19). Of all men he was most properly related to God. Throughout the rest of scripture such an attitude and position is lauded as blessed and to be desired. This is the goal which God intended when he afflicted his people and toward which they are to endure affliction. The humble consider and experience God as their deliverer (Ps 10:17; 76:9) receiving grace (undeserved favor) from him (Proverbs 3:34). They rejoice when God is praised, seek God (Ps 69:32), and keep his ordinances (Zeph. 2:3). They wait on God (Ps 37:11) and are guided by him (Ps 25:9). As such they are commended as being better than the proud (Pr 16:19). They are contrasted with the wicked (Ps 37:11) and the scoffers (Proverbs 3:34). Isaiah (Isaiah 61:1) writes that it is to such that the anointed of the Lord is to preach the good news of salvation (the parallel here is "the brokenhearted"). They are conscious of divine approval and are confident that in the eschaton God will save them (Ps 76:9; 147:6;149:4). It is interesting that the unleavened bread of Passover is called the bread of affliction (Dt. 16:3) inasmuch as it constitutes a material reminder of sin which is the ultimate (sometimes immediate) cause of affliction (Ps 25:18), the bondage of sin (especially that hardship in Egypt), and God's deliverance (Lam 3:19). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Gilbrant on anav - Affliction occurs in every life, and God intends to use it to develop humility in his people. In the OT, godliness is connected with suffering much more often than with worldly abundance. The noun ʿānāv expresses the desired moral and spiritual result of affliction. Some uses of ʿānāv emphasize the fact of poverty and need. Solomon said that one who is gracious to the poor will be blessed (Prov. 14:21). But Amos complained that the needy were being sold as slaves for the price of a pair of sandals (Amos 2:6f). Some will trample the afflicted (Amos 8:4). A dominant characteristic of the afflicted is their vulnerability to being abused by the powerful. But God takes the role of Protector for the godly who fall in this category. Remembering their plight (Ps. 9:12, 18), God rises in judgment to save them (Ps. 76:9). The Messiah will decide in equity for them (Isa. 11:4). The Lord strengthens their heart (Ps. 10:17), leads them in justice, teaches them his ways (Ps. 25:9), supports them (Ps. 147:6) and promises to beautify them with salvation (Ps. 149:4). They will inherit the land, delight in abundant prosperity (Ps. 37:11) and be filled with gladness (Ps. 34:2). Moses described himself as the one who most fully exemplified this trait (Num. 12:3). This was not an arrogant claim to perfection; it was simply a recognition that he had been most thoroughly humbled by the afflictions God had allowed in his life. He would surely agree that it is better to be of humble spirit with the lowly than to divide the spoil with the proud (Prov. 16:19). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Anav - 20x in 19v - Usage: afflicted(8), afflicted ones(1), humble(10), poor(1).

Numbers 12:3  (Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth.)

Psalm 9:12  For He who requires blood remembers them; He does not forget the cry of the afflicted.

Psalm 10:12  Arise, O LORD; O God, lift up Your hand. Do not forget the afflicted.

Psalm 10:17  O LORD, You have heard the desire of the humble; You will strengthen their heart, You will incline Your ear

Psalm 22:26  The afflicted will eat and be satisfied; Those who seek Him will praise the LORD. Let your heart live forever!

Psalm 25:9  He leads the humble in justice, And He teaches the humble His way.

Psalm 34:2  My soul will make its boast in the LORD; The humble will hear it and rejoice.

Psalm 37:11  But the humble (Lxx =  praus = gentile) will inherit the land And will delight themselves in abundant prosperity.

ESV Study Bible Note - Jesus uses the first half of this verse in the third beatitude (Matt. 5:5). The benefits Jesus describes there are all revealed at the last day, and it is legitimate to see Ps. 37:11 referring to this in its original context. First, the psalm is concerned with ultimate outcomes, not simply the benefits of this present world; second, OT Wisdom Literature as a whole addresses the same concern (cf. note on v. 9).

Spurgeon - Above all others they shall enjoy life. Even if they suffer, their consolations shall overtop their tribulations. By inheriting the land is meant obtaining covenant privileges and the salvation of God. Such as are truly humble shall take their lot with the rest of the heirs of grace, to whom all good things come by a sacred birthright. “And shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.” Peace they love and peace they shall have. If they find not abundance of gold, abundance of peace will serve their turn far better. Others find joy in strife, and thence arises their misery in due time, but peace leads on to peace, and the more a man loves it the more shall it come to him. In the halcyon period of the latter days, when universal peace shall make glad the earth (Ed: The Millennium), the full prophetic meaning of words like these will be made plain.

Psalm 69:32  The humble have seen it and are glad; You who seek God, let your heart revive.

Psalm 76:9  When God arose to judgment, To save all the humble of the earth. Selah.

Psalm 147:6  The LORD supports the afflicted; He brings down the wicked to the ground.

Psalm 149:4  For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation.

Spurgeon -  They are humble, and feel their need of salvation; he is gracious, and bestows it upon them. They lament their deformity and he puts a beauty upon them of the choicest sort. He saves them by sanctifying them, and thus they wear the beauty of holiness, and the beauty of a joy which springs out of full salvation. He makes his people meek, and then makes the meek beautiful. Herein is grand argument for worshiping the Lord with the utmost exultation: he who takes such a pleasure in us must be approached with every token of exceeding joy.

Proverbs 3:34  Though He scoffs at the scoffers, Yet He gives grace to the afflicted (Literally "he who bends himself”).

William MacDonald - the choice is between God’s scorn and His grace. He scorns the scoffer but gives grace to the humble. The importance of this choice is seen in that the verse is quoted twice in the NT (Jas 4:6-note; 1 Pe 5:5-note).

Expositor's Bible - The verse uses a strong anthropomorphic idea: “He mocks the proud mockers.” The LXX has a softened interpretation: “The Lord resists the proud” (cf. Jas 4:6-note; 1 Pe 5:5-note).

UBS HandbookHumble (afflicted) renders a word that is related to a verb meaning “bowed” or “bent” and may suggest someone who bows beneath a hostile force, such as a slave or a suffering, poor person.

Proverbs 14:21  He who despises his neighbor sins, But happy (blessed in Ps 1:1-note) is he who is gracious to the poor.

ESV Study Bible Note - Proverbs commends being generous to the poor, particularly those among God’s people (see Pr 14:31; 19:17; 21:13; 22:9; 28:27; 31:20; cf. Deut. 15:7–11)

William MacDonald - The man who has mercy on the poor is blessed in the act. We should never forget that the Lord Jesus came into the world as a poor man. Someone referred to Him as “my penniless friend from Nazareth.”

Isaiah 11:4-note  But with righteousness He (MESSIAH) will judge the poor, And decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; And He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, And with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked.

MacArthur - The Messiah will reverse Israel’s earlier dealings with the underprivileged (Isa 3:14, 15; 10:2).

Isaiah 29:19  The afflicted also will increase their gladness in the LORD, And the needy of mankind will rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.

Isaiah 61:1  The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, Because the LORD has anointed me To bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to captives And freedom to prisoners;

Amos 2:7  "These who pant after the very dust of the earth on the head of the helpless Also turn aside the way of the humble; And a man and his father resort to the same girl In order to profane My holy name.

Zephaniah 2:3  Seek the LORD, All you humble of the earth Who have carried out His ordinances; Seek righteousness, seek humility. Perhaps you will be hidden In the day of the LORD'S anger.

Comment - Who would seek Jehovah? Not the proud of this earth, the rich and famous, but those who are bent over and humble in spirit.


He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted (Isa 57:15 66:2 Ps 34:18 51:17 147:3 Ho 6:1 2 Co 7:6) - This description of Messiah is not included in most modern translations but is found in the KJV. Luke 4:18KJV+ reads "He hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted." While it may not be in accepted as authentic by most modern experts, one cannot deny the beauty of this phrase which is found here in the original passage. It is also worth noting that the verb for "bind up" (chabash) is used several times in the setting of the future restoration of Israel in the Millennium.

W E Vine writes that "The binding up of the brokenhearted is that of applying a relieving bandage to heart wounds. The Gospel of Luke almost immediately records the Lord’s tender acts in this respect (see Lk 4:40+; also the case of the widow of Nain, Lk 7:13–15+; the woman with the issue of blood, and the daughter of Jairus, Lk 8:43–56+; the women with the spirit of infirmity, Lk 13:11–13+; and the lepers in Samaria, Lk 17:11–19+). (Collected Writings of W E Vine)

Spurgeon - God has sent Christ to bind up the broken-hearted; then, will he not do it? Will he refuse, my broken-hearted brother or sister, to bind you up? O deeply-troubled, tempest-tossed spirit, will the Anointed One reject you, and refuse to fulfill his office upon you? never; it is both his name and his office to save, for he is called Jesus, the Saviour. O broken-hearted one, look to him; hear him say, at this moment, “Jehovah hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted

Bind up - The Septuagint translates the Hebrew word for bind, chabash, (bind up, bandaged, given relief) with the Greek verb  iaomai which means literally to heal (Lk 22:51+) and  figuratively, speaks of deliverance from sin and its evil consequences (restore, make whole, renew as in Mt 13.15).

Chabash is used in similar contexts in the following passages...

Psalm 147:3 He heals (Lxx =  iaomai as in Isa 61:1) the brokenhearted (suntribo - crushed completely, broken in pieces) and binds up (chabash) their wounds.

Spurgeon - This the Holy Spirit mentions as a part of the glory of God, and a reason for our declaring His praise: the Lord is not only a Builder, but a Healer; He restores broken hearts as well as broken walls. The kings of the earth think to be great through their loftiness; but Jehovah becomes really so by His condescension. Behold, the Most High has to do with the sick and the sorry, with the wretched and the wounded! He walks the hospitals as the good Physician! His deep sympathy with mourners is a special mark of His goodness. Few will associate with the despondent, but Jehovah chooses their company, and abides with them till He has healed them by His comforts. He deigns to handle and heal broken hearts: He himself lays on the ointment of grace, and the soft bandages of love, and thus binds up the bleeding wounds of those convinced of sin. This is compassion like a God. Well may those praise Him to whom He has acted so gracious a part. The Lord is always healing and binding: this is no new work to Him, He has done it of old; and it is not a thing of the past of which He is now weary, for He is still healing and still binding, as the original hath it. Come, broken hearts, come to the Physician who never fails to heal: uncover your wounds to Him Who so tenderly binds them up!

Isaiah 30:26 (In the Millennium) The light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day the LORD binds up (chabash; Lxx = iaomai) the fracture of His people and heals the bruise He has inflicted. 

Gleason Archer - “Evidently [this is] a description of the glories of the Millennium (since this kind of prosperity has no appropriateness for a heavenly existence).”

ESV Study Bible Note on Isaiah 30:23–26  "Isaiah portrays the anticipated new order that will establish the messianic kingdom (cf. Deut. 28:1–14). 

Bible Knowledge Commentary on Isaiah 30:23–26 - Isaiah then described what times will be like when the people live according to God’s Word and are obedient to Him. In the Millennium God will send … rain, and crops will be plentiful (cf. Deut. 28:1–14). Even the animals will have plenty to eat (Isa. 30:23–24). The day of great slaughter may refer to the Battle of Armageddon (cf. Rev. 16:16; 19:17–21). After Israel’s and God’s enemies are defeated, Israel will enjoy great peace and an abundance of water in the land (Isa. 30:25). Also light will be increased, for the moon will be like the sun and the sun will be seven times brighter than normal. Perhaps this is figurative language but it is difficult to know for sure. At that time the Lord will heal (Ed: "binds up") His people of the wounds (cf. Isa 1:5) He inflicted, that is, He will restore them to the place of blessing.

Hosea 6:1+ "Come, let us return to the LORD. For He has torn us, but He will heal us; He has wounded us, but He will bandage (chabash) us.

MacArthur on Hos 6:1–3 - "Coming with the beginning of Christ’s Millennial reign (cf. Zec 12:10–13:1; Is 43:1–6), Hosea records Israel’s future words of repentance (cf. Hos 5:15).

Thomas Constable - Israel has never prayed like this. The fulfillment must still be future, at the beginning of Christ’s Millennial reign.

Brokenhearted is two Hebrew words shabar (to break, break in pieces, crush) and leb (heart). The Septuagint translates with two Greek words, suntribo (crushed completely, shattered, or to broken in pieces) and kardia (heart).

Constable says good news in this section means Messiah "would mend the hearts of those so broken by life that they despair of having any hope."

The NET Note comments on this extra phrase in Lk 4:18KJV - The majority of MSS, especially the later Byzantines, include the phrase "to heal the brokenhearted" at this point (A Q Y 0102 ¦(1 )Û). The phrase is lacking in several weighty MSS (a B D L W X ¦(13 )33 579 700 892* pc lat sy(s )co), including representatives from both the Alexandrian and Western text types. From the standpoint of external evidence, the omission of the phrase is more likely original. When internal evidence is considered, the shorter reading becomes almost certain. Scribes would be much more prone to add the phrase here to align the text with Isaiah 61:1 ("He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted") the source of the quotation, than to remove it from the original.

Isaiah 57 is a similar passage

Isaiah 57:15  For thus says the high and exalted One Who lives forever, whose name is Holy, “I dwell on a high and holy place, And also with the contrite and lowly of spirit In order to revive the spirit of the lowly And to revive the heart of the contrite. 


To proclaim liberty to captives - The Greek reads "aichmalotois (aichmalotos) aphesin (aphesis)"

Isaiah 42 gives a similar promise speaking of what Messiah will perform spiritually for the nation of Israel in the future, but of course applicable now to Gentiles who are spiritually blind (cf Jn 8:12), imprisoned by sin and Satan (cf Jn 8:31-32) and inhabiting Satan's kingdom of darkness (cf Acts 26:18-note)...

Isaiah 42:7 (cf also Isa 49:9)  To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison. 

As W E Vine says this promise "will be made true in regard to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, concerning Israel, in a day to come."

John MacArthur adds that "Jesus fulfilled these words (Isa 9:1, 2; Mt 4:13–16) when He applied them to miracles of physical healing and freedom from spiritual bondage during His incarnation (Mt 11:5; Lk 4:18). Under the Servant’s Millennial reign on earth, spiritual perception will replace Israel’s spiritual blindness and her captives will receive their freedom (Isaiah 29:18; 32:3; 35:5; 61:1).

KJV Bible Commentary on open blind eyes and bring out prisoners - The statement here is very similar to that of Isaiah 61:1–2, which the New Testament definitely states was fulfilled in Jesus Christ (cf. Lk 14:18; 2 Tim 2:26; Heb 2:14–15).

Robert Neighbour - The devil has many bound, but Jesus Christ can open the prison bars and give deliverance to the captive (cf Isa. 61:1, 2).

Liberty (01865)(deror) means a flowing or free running (this literal use found in Ex 30:23). Figuratively deror described a release, liberty or emancipation. Deror refers to the freedom proclaimed during the year of Jubilee (Lev. 25:10; cp Jer. 34:8, 15, 17). In the Year of Jubilee, slaves were released and allowed to return to their families and land was restored to its original owners. In our current passage Isaiah 61:1 deror is a prophetic sense to describe Messiah's announcing good news to captives. 

The Septuagint (Lxx) translate deror with the Greek noun aphesis which literally means to send away and thus refers to a remission as when one remits (pardons, cancels) a debt. To release from captivity. Aphesis is used to describe what characterizes redemption Paul writing....

In Him (Messiah) we have redemption (apolutrosis) through His blood, the forgiveness (aphesis) of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace (Ephesians 1:7-note)

in Whom (Messiah) we have redemption, the forgiveness (aphesis) of sins. (Colossians 1:14-note)

Related Resources:

Illustration - A band of Algerian pirates had taken many prisoners, who were chained to the oars to row their masters. Suddenly ships of war were seen in the distance, and the captives knew the re was hope. But their masters came on deck. "Pull for your lives," cried they. The whip was laid on, and the poor captives were forced to pull, and thus, by their own efforts, to fly from their rescuers. So Satan is a hard taskmaster, and when Jesus comes to the soul, and it is about to yield, Satan places all sorts of snares for it.


And freedom to prisoners - This phrase is not directly translated in the Septuagint (Lxx). Instead the Greek of Isaiah 61:1 reads "kai tuphlois anablepsin " which translated means "recovery of sight to the blind," which in fact are the very words Jesus read in Luke 4:18.

Spurgeon has a wonderful note regarding "recovery of sight to the blind" -- How often is the mental eye closed in moral night! And who can remove this dreary effect of the fall but the Almighty God? This miracle of grace he has performed in myriads of cases, and it is in each case a theme for loftiest praise.

James Hastings adds "It is their eyes that are bound. And so these are in worst case of all, for they cannot see their condition (Ed: A perfect description of deception). They are as good as dead—dead in trespasses and sins. “She that liveth in pleasure (sin) is dead while she liveth.”  (1 Ti 5:6KJV) When Lazarus came forth from the tomb his face was bound about with a napkin, for that was the way they did with the dead. The eyes were closed and bound. These are they who say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” and do not know that they are “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” (Rev 3:17) (See his full message below)

Freedom (06495)(peqach-qoach from paqach = to open eyes) is used only in Isa 61:1 and as noted is derived from the verb pāqach (06491) which means to open. The combination word peqach-qôach literally means "opening of the eyes." Here it reflects Messiah's mission to proclaim liberty to captives (Isa. 61:1). 

Victor Hamilton says the root verb paqach refers to the opening of the eyes with two exceptions (Isaiah 42:20, the opening of the ears; Isaiah 61:1, the opening of a prison to those who are bound [cf. Luke 4:18-19]).

The ESV Marginal Note on "the opening of the prison to those who are bound" (Isa 61:1ESV) says this could also be read "the opening of the eyes to those who are blind" and adds the Septuagint (Lxx) has "and recovery of sight to the blind." (Ed: And as stated above, in Luke 4:18 Jesus was reading from the Septuagint and thus read this phrase "recovery of sight to the blind.")

There is a similar promise regarding prisoners in Psalm 146 

Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free. 8 The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous;  (Ps 146:7-8)

Spurgeon “Which executeth judgment for the oppressed.” He is a swift and impartial administrator of justice. Our king surpasses all earthly princes because he pays no deference to rank or wealth, and is never the respecter of persons. He is the friend of the down-trodden, the avenger of the persecuted, the champion of the helpless. Safely may we trust our cause with such a Judge if it be a just one: happy are we to be under such a Ruler. Are we “evil entreated”? Are our rights denied us? Are we slandered? Let this console us, that he who occupies the throne will not only think upon our case, but bestir himself to execute judgment on our behalf.
“Which giveth food to the hungry.” Glorious King art thou, O Jehovah! Thou dost not only mete out justice but thou dost dispense bounty! All food comes from God; but when we are reduced to hunger, and providence supplies our necessity, we are peculiarly struck with the fact. Let every hungry man lay hold on this statement, and plead it before the mercy-seat, whether he suffer bodily-hunger or heart-hunger. See how our God finds his special clients among the lowest of mankind: the oppressed and the starving find help in the God of Jacob
“The LORD looseth the prisoners.” Thus he completes the triple blessing: justice, bread, and liberty. Jehovah loves not to see man pining in dungeons, or fretting in fetters; he brought up Joseph from the round-house, and Israel from the house of bondage. Jesus is the Emancipator, spiritually, providentially, and nationally. Thy chains, O Africa! were broken by his hand. As faith in Jehovah shall become common among men freedom will advance in every form, especially will mental, moral, and spiritual bonds be loosed, and the slaves of error, sin, and death shall be set free. Well might the Psalmist praise Jehovah, who is so kind to men in bonds! Well may the loosened ones be loudest in the song!
8. “The LORD openeth the eyes of the blind.” Jesus did this very frequently, and hereby proved himself to be Jehovah. He who made the eye can open it, and when he does so it is to his glory. How often is the mental eye closed in moral night! And who can remove this dreary effect of the fall but the Almighty God? This miracle of grace he has performed in myriads of cases, and it is in each case a theme for loftiest praise.
“The LORD raiseth them that are bowed down.” This also Jesus did literally, thus doing the work peculiar to God. Jehovah consoles the bereaved, cheers the defeated, solaces the despondent, comforts the despairing. Let those who are bowed to the ground appeal to him, and he will speedily upraise them.
“The LORD loveth the righteous.” He gives to them the love of complacency, communion, and reward. Bad kings affect the licentious, but Jehovah makes the upright to be his favoured ones. This is greatly to his glory. Let those who enjoy the inestimable privilege of his love magnify his name with enthusiastic delight. Loved ones, you must never be absent from the choir! You must never pause from his praise whose infinite love has made you what you are. (Treasury of David)

Vine comments on the KJV phrase "the opening of the prison to them that are bound" The phrase rendered “the opening of the prison” (Ed: NAS = "freedom to prisoners") should probably read as in the Revised Version margin, “the opening of the eyes” (as in Isaiah 35:5; 42:7). There were many who were spiritually imprisoned and blinded by the religions of the Pharisees, Scribes and Sadducees (the Lord remarks upon their blindness in Mt 23:24 = "You blind guides, who strain out a gnat and swallow a camel!")." Great the joy when the blinding film of human tradition and religion is removed by the power of the ascended Lord through the Spirit! great the gladness and gratitude in the possession of liberty and spiritual sight! (Collected Writings of W E Vine)

Allen Ross on freedom to the prisoners - The difficulty here is that the expression translated “release” (freedom) is used most often for opening eyes and ears, hence the Greek has it “open eyes to the blind.”  The idea of “recovery of sight” could have been used metonymically for people as if in a dark dungeon, and when released would see the light of day.  Jesus made the blind to see-but that by His own explanation was also a symptom of release from the bondage of sin, for there were many who saw but were blind spiritually and still imprisoned by sin (John 9).

F B Meyer - Our Daily Homily - Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me.

We can never disassociate those words from that memorable scene at the Jordan, when, after the Lord’s baptism, the heavens were opened, and the Spirit, like a dove, rested upon Him. Forty days of fierce temptation could not deprive Him of that holy anointing; and He came to Galilee, stood up in the synagogue of Nazareth, and announced the anointing He had received. If the Master needed it, how much more do we! If He did not attempt to bind up the broken-hearted, proclaim liberty to the captives, or the opening of the prison to the bound; if He would not preach, or comfort, or communicate joy, until that memorable unction had been imparted — how absurd it is for us to attempt similar works without this anointing! What a marvelous forecast is here of the mission of Christ through his Church to the world during the present age. She is sent to take up and pass on this blessed ministry. What a true forecast also of the needs of mankind! It is as though the Holy Spirit desired to reveal the salient characteristics of the great sad world, that it would be full of the broken-hearted, of captives, prisoners, and mourners, needing Divine assistance and ministration. Man is so fallen and helpless that he needs the entire Trinity: The Lord God, the Father; Me, the Son; and The Spirit, the Holy Ghost. When Jesus quoted these words He stopped at the comma in the second verse, which stood therefore for at least nineteen hundred years which intervene between the proclamation of the year of mercy and of the day of vengeance. The time for repentance is lengthening out, since God desires not the sinner’s death, but that he should turn and live. 

A Mile in Every Message - Robert Morgan

When Jesus Christ entered the ministry at age 30, He returned to His hometown of Nazareth to preach before His family and friends, and He chose text from Isaiah, announcing Himself as its ultimate fulfillment. Many preachers since Christ have sensed a certain application of these words to themselves as well, for no one can minister effectively without the anointing and empowering of the Holy Spirit. Consider, for example, the unconventional Billy Sunday, who won thousands to Christ though his voice was husky and strained and his words ordinary and crude. Sunday preached in a sensational style—shouting, jumping, swinging fists, running from one end of the stage to the other. One editor estimated he traveled a mile in every message. As a former baseball player, Sunday had the physique of an athlete, and he used every muscle. He sometimes slid across the platform as if stealing a base, or leaped atop his pulpit or onto the pews. Some of his acrobatics made audiences gasp. Yet his content was hardly spontaneous. Sunday painstakingly composed elaborate notes, bound in large, black leather notebooks. Arriving at the pulpit, he habitually placed his notes atop a Bible opened to Isaiah 61:1—“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings.” Sunday considered most preaching devoid of spiritual power. While at Pentecost one sermon saved 3,000 people, now it takes 3,000 sermons to get one old buttermilk-eyed, whiskey-soaked blasphemer. Ever since God saved my soul and sent me out to preach, I have prayed Him to enable me to pronounce two words, and put into those words all they mean. One word is “Lost” and the other is “Eternity.” Ten thousand years from now we will all be somewhere. I never preach a sermon but that I think it may be the last one some fellow will hear or the last I shall ever be privileged to preach.

Today’s Suggested Reading - Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound. Isaiah 61:1 (From This Verse)

From Mourning to Dancing

Read: Isaiah 61:1–4

He has sent me . . . to bestow on [those who grieve] a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning. Isaiah 61:1, 3

“We’re cutting your job.” A decade ago those words sent me reeling when the company I worked for eliminated my position. At the time, I felt shattered, partly because my identity was so intertwined with my role as editor. Recently I felt a similar sadness when I heard that my freelance job was ending. But this time I didn’t feel rocked at my foundation, because over the years I have seen God’s faithfulness and how He can turn my mourning to joy.

Though we live in a fallen world where we experience pain and disappointment, the Lord can move us from despair to rejoicing, as we see in Isaiah’s prophecy about the coming of Jesus (Isa. 61:1–3). The Lord gives us hope when we feel hopeless; He helps us to forgive when we think we can’t; He teaches us that our identity is in Him and not in what we do. He gives us courage to face an unknown future. When we wear the rags of “ashes,” He gently gives us a coat of praise.

God can bring times of growth out of our times of heartache.

When we face loss, we shouldn’t run from the sadness, but neither do we want to become bitter or hardened. When we think about God’s faithfulness over the years, we know that He’s willing and able to turn our grief to dancing once again—to give us sufficient grace in this life and full joy in heaven.

Father God, You turned Jesus’s pain on the cross into our best gift ever. Deepen my faith that I may welcome Your life-changing love into my life.

God can bring times of growth out of our times of heartache.

INSIGHT: Having warned the Israelites of exile in Babylon (Isa. 39:6–7), Isaiah now offers comforts that God will restore them (chapters 40–66). Isaiah 61 speaks of God’s grace as He delivers His people from bondage (vv. 1–3) and of God’s glory as He blesses them (vv. 4–11). In today’s passage, Isaiah writes about the identity and ministry of the Deliverer (vv. 1–3). At the start of His public ministry, Jesus read from this passage (Luke 4:18–19) and publicly affirmed that He is the Messiah Isaiah spoke of (v. 21). Already anointed by the Spirit (3:21–22; 4:1), Jesus came to preach the good news, to heal, to deliver, to restore, and to bless (Isa. 61:1–3) so that we can live holy lives that display “his splendor” (v. 3).

By Amy Boucher Pye  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

New Start For A Broken Heart

Read: Isaiah 61:1-3 | Bible in a Year: 1 Chronicles 13-15; John 7:1-27

He has sent me to heal the brokenhearted. —Isaiah 61:1

The Museum of Broken Relationships in Zagreb, Croatia, is filled with anonymously donated remnants of love gone wrong. There is an axe that a jilted lover used to destroy the furniture of an offending partner. Stuffed animals, love letters framed in broken glass, and wedding dresses all speak volumes of heartache. While some visitors to the museum leave in tears over their own loss, some couples depart with hugs and a promise not to fail each other.

The Old Testament prophet Isaiah wrote, “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted” (Isa. 61:1). When Jesus read from Isaiah 61 at the synagogue in Nazareth, He said, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Extending far beyond help for an emotional wound, Isaiah’s words speak of a changed heart and a renewed spirit that come by receiving God’s gift of “beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:3).

All of us have experienced regret and broken promises in our lives. Whatever has happened, the Lord invites us to find healing, hope, and new life in Him.

Lord, You are the promise-keeping God who has said He will make all things new. Today we give You our ashes in exchange for Your beauty, our mourning for the joy of finding comfort in You. Thank You!

God can transform tragedies into triumphs.

INSIGHT: Today’s Bible reading is a prophetic text that points to the arrival of the Messiah. It is not surprising, therefore, that in the synagogue of Nazareth Jesus selected a portion of this passage to announce His arrival and mission (Isa. 61:1-2). Luke 4:18-19 records for us this significant announcement rooted in Isaiah’s ancient words. In the verbs used by Isaiah, we see the core of Christ’s work (preach, heal, proclaim), and in the nouns we find word-pictures of the needy people for whom He had come (poor, brokenhearted, captives, bound).

By David McCasland (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

James Hastings - Great Texts of the Bible - He entitles 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.—61:1.

AS we speak of the “The Lord’s Prayer” we may call this “The Lord’s Sermon.” He adopted it as His own (Luke 4:16–22) as He did not the Lord’s Prayer. It is the model of all sermons. It contains all that a sermon need or can contain—(1) The Audience, (2) the Message, (3) the Preacher.

I The Audience There are four classes.

1. The meek, or “the poor.”

It is the same word that is applied to Moses in Num. 12:3, and it means the opposite of self-seeking. In Luke 4:18 it is given as “the poor,” the same word being used as Jesus uses when He says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” (Matt. 5:3). “Blessed be ye poor” (Luke 6:20). Perhaps its meaning is best expressed by the phrase, “poor and needy.” The “poor” may not be blessed as such, and the rich may; but the poor are more likely to be blessed because more likely to feel their need. It is a gospel to them that need and know it. It is for all the young, all the helpless, all but the self-sufficient.

The Hebrew word has just a shade of ambiguity between “poor” simply and “poor in spirit,” and we can easily imagine it susceptible of both renderings. It is a word, too, which comes into one of those central passages of the Old Testament which our Lord took up most directly as His own teaching. It will be observed that, in the Revised Version of Isa. 61:1, the old rendering is retained: “The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek”: but “poor” is given in the margin as an alternative for “meek”; and in the quotation of this passage in St. Luke 4:18, “poor” “is the rendering both in the Greek and in the English. In Ps. 9:18, “The expectation of the poor shall not perish for ever,” the Revised Version has “poor” in the text, “meek” in the margin. There can be little doubt that the Hebrew (or Aramaic) corresponding to this was the word originally used in the first beatitude, and that the evangelist has represented it to us by an apt and just paraphrase.

When ‘ānāw is translated “the poor” or “the afflicted, oppressed,” or “the helpless, the meek,” its exact significance will be best understood if we bear in mind the traits in the character of the toil-worn man, his poverty of spirit, his slowness to insist upon his rights, his patient forbearance, his long enduring of any number of wrongs. It may be said that this is introducing into the slow-moving, tranquil Eastern world the conditions of life which pertain only to Western civilisation. But an enslaved nation, as the Israelites were more than once in the earlier part of their history, would be likely to know something of the wearing effect of laborious toil on both the body and the mind, and that knowledge has left its impression on the plastic surface of their language.

¶ The Rev. Thomas Guthrie, fresh from his Forfarshire parish, bounded by the restless North Sea, with singing larks and decent peasants, looked down through the iron gratings on George IV. Bridge on the one he had come to cultivate. It was before the age of the City Improvement Commission, and the Cowgate showed battered humanity in a state not now visible there. High-flatted houses, each having the population of a village, with windows innocent of glass and stuffed with dirty rags, some of these tenements were the scene of domestic tragedies, for in one of their upper flats five families had been made fatherless through the fever. But the dwellers did not mind, for Guthrie noted women lying over window-sills, and others at close mouths with children in arms, chaffing passers-by, or screaming each other down. It looked to the new minister a venture into the darkness of a coal-pit from the light of day. A hand was laid on his shoulder. Then the voice of Dr. Chalmers, whose face glowed with enthusiasm as, waving his arm, he exclaimed, “A beautiful field, sir, a very fine field of operation.”

2. The broken-hearted.—

These have more than a general sense of need. They have learned in the school of suffering. They can recall loss, perhaps betrayal, at least disappointment. They cannot help recalling it. For its scar is on them. They bear about in their hearts the marks of wrong—wrong which they have suffered, and, yet more deeply, wrong which they have done. They are broken-hearted; they cannot receive or they cannot give restitution.

The exact significance of shābar is “to break in pieces”; thus there is contained in it the idea of destruction, with its resultants, “helplessness, uselessness, inactivity.” For instance, shābar is used of ships broken by the storm, of the tearing asunder of wild beasts, of the dismembering of corporate bodies, e.g. a kingdom, a city, a people. And the verb must suffer no impoverishment of meaning if the exact significance of the now familiar expression, “the broken-hearted,” is to be retained.

The phrase, “a broken heart,” is descriptive not simply of an organ full of aching and suffering, but of an organ which, while it is racked with pain, is also helpless, unable to do what is required of it. That which can happen to any physical organ or limb of the body can happen also to the heart conceived of as the centre of man’s emotional life. Struck with a sudden blow, the arm is broken, hangs down suffering and useless. Overtaken by a sudden calamity the heart is broken, suffering intensely, but amid all its suffering useless. The broken heart can still feel, it is not dead or hardened like the heart of the wicked or the stubborn, but it can no longer prompt, purpose inspire, urge on to fresh effort, to victory or death; its vitol strength is gone. Some forms of suffering act as a stimulus, they arouse new energy in a man, but the suffering of the broken-hearted is accompanied by a listlessness, an apparent inability to do anything but suffer, an utter helplessness not simply of body but also of mind and soul. It is this element of helplessness which constitutes the tragedy of a broken heart, and it is this element of helplessness which is emphasised in the Hebrew term nishberē-lēbh. Yet even in this most disastrous effect of human trouble, when sorrow robs the heart of its last resources and strength, the Bible discovers an opportunity for the coming of God: “The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart,” “a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.” Is not every form of human helplessness a recommendation to the Deity? Must not this extreme form be so most of all?

¶ An old woman came into the city from the country to buy medicine at a native medicine vendor’s. While the man was preparing the medicine, his wife came into the shop, and noticing the old woman looking very sad and unhappy, asked her the reason. The old woman replied, “Last year I lost my husband. Now my eldest son is ill at home, and I am afraid he is going to die, and I am taking this medicine to see if it will do him any good.” “Ah,” replied the shopman’s wife, “I am sorry for you. I wish I could help you. If you want the words that comfort men’s hearts, go to the Gospel Hall across the way there. They have the words that comfort men’s hearts.”

3. The captives.—

The description grows denser. These are more needy than even the broken-hearted. They are the victims of habit, evil habit, ill-regulated deeds settling or settled down into an ill-regulated life. If women, they are such as St. Paul describes (2 Tim. 3:6), “silly women laden with sins, led captive with divers lusts.”

The word does not describe those whose condition is a woeful one by reason of bonds and imprisonment. It has nothing to do with either gaol or dungeon. By paying attention to the exact significance of the original meaning we shall best know how to interpret the Hebrew. The term means literally “those carried off as booty.” It depicts what must have been one of the bitterest moments in the experience of the prisoner of war, the moment when the power of the conqueror dragged him away from home and native city, when he saw for the last time loved walls and ways and faces without which life was without joy. Thus, as generally used, it denotes the ever present bitterness of the enslaved among strange faces in a strange country; the sad memories, the troublous longings which would haunt him even when the treatment he experienced was the kindest and his lot was of the easiest and pleasantest.

¶ Crouched in the corner of every house sat a thing, without home, without rights, without hope, called the slave; the victim of every caprice, the safety-valve of every passion, the tool of every lust. The work of construction Christianity wrought out. It restored the family life by restoring the marriage relation. It made every Christian home a retreat where purity might repose in the bosom of order. It created that type of Christian gentleness which we see in our mothers and sisters and wives. It touched the brow and heart of the slave—not just snapping the chains and then leading him forth to a freedom he could not use. It first touched the slave’s soul, and taught him to raise his branded brow, and to know that he was a free man, that Christ had made free—free from the yoke of sin, and therefore free one day to walk as king.

4. Them that are bound.—

The proper and more general sense of the verb ’asāv is “to bind,” but in its special sense as applied to prisoners the original meaning seems to have faded out. The history of the word presents us with an excellent illustration of the elasticity of the Hebrew language. In earliest times one can understand how “a prisoner” and “a bound-man” were synonymous terms. But when arrangements for confining a person guilty of some offence were rendered more secure, the bonds might be dispensed with and a man might be shut up in prison without being pinioned. However, the old word was still used, and such a man was known as ’āsīr, literally “one bound,” properly “a prisoner.” The place where he was confined was known as “the house of the bound,” “the prison house.” Illustrations of this can be found in the histories of Joseph and of Samson (Gen. 40:3 and 39:20; Jdg. 16:21). A reference to the context will make it clear that though referred to as ’āsīr Joseph and Samson were evidently not pinioned. But, while losing its old significance, ’āsīr gathered about itself a fresh meaning. One of the most dreadful horrors of the prison house was its darkness, and, if this were not absolute, its sunless gloom. Thus the word came to signify a prisoner, as one to whom light was denied. In several passages “prisoners” are classed in the same category with “the blind” and “them that sit in darkness” (Isa. 42:7, 49:9; Ps. 146:7, 8). It is evident that it would be a mistake to adhere strictly to the original significance of the word. The literal meaning “the bound” is no longer applicable, and there must be substituted for it, as characteristic of “the prisoner,” “one who is longing for the light.” In the interpretation of Isa. 61:1, it is quite possible that even the idea expressed in the term “the prisoner” may be dismissed, and only the broader significance of “one who is longing for the light” retained.

It is their eyes that are bound. And so these are in worst case of all, for they cannot see their condition. They are as good as dead—dead in trespasses and sins. “She that liveth in sin is dead while she liveth.” When Lazarus came forth from the tomb his face was bound about with a napkin, for that was the way they did with the dead. The eyes were closed and bound. These are they who say, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing,” and do not know that they are “wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.”

         A spirit lay bound in a house of clay,
         Closed to the light of God alway,
         Dark with the gloom of mortal sin,—
         Earth without and a Spirit within.

         But how can Earth with Spirit agree?
         Or Death with Immortality?

         There moved a Form in the shadows dim,
         And a tender radiance flowed from Him;
         But the light disclosed in the prison cell
         Ignorance, Pride, and Hate as well.

         His voice was sweet, and soft, and low,
         And the poor dumb Spirit loved it so;
         But Ignorance, Pride, and Hate unite,
         To drown the voice, and hide the light.

         O who will set the Spirit free,
         And save her from the hideous three?

         The Light has pierced the gloom of sin,
         The Word has silenced the strife and din,
         The Saviour has broken the house of clay,
         And borne the ransomed Spirit away.

         O hidden Life! O Christ within!
         Break Thou the fetters of my sin!
         My soul from mortal limits free
         And bear me up to Heaven with Thee.

II The Message

The message is determined by the audience. It is fitted to be good tidings to each class, each person.

1. To the poor and needy it is simply a Gospel.

What they need most is hope. It is the hopelessness of the poor that is the most striking, the most characteristic thing about them. Watch the faces of the tramps—they are all hopeless. This is a message of hope. And it is a hope that does not die out, “that maketh not ashamed.” To poor shepherds, working lads, came the first Gospel sermon: “To you is born this day a Saviour.” Jesus is a Saviour from hopelessness.

(1) First of all, this Gospel goes to the very root of the matter, in its cause and in its history. “Know you certainly that it is God’s visitation.” It is the will of God that you should be poor. Suppose that your poverty be even the result of folly, misconduct, or sin, still it is now, for you, the will of God. There is repose, there is satisfaction, at once. Whatever second causes have been at work—sickness or misfortune, wrongdoing of another, wrong doing of your own—this, to-day, in fact, is the will of God concerning you; poverty—poverty as a providence, or else poverty as a chastisement. It is the will of God.

(2) Again, the Gospel of Jesus Christ says this to me. The life that is, is the mere porch and vestibule of the life that shall be. I must walk by faith. I must claim and I must practise already that equality of being which is mine, in God’s sight, not only with the greatest of earth’s heroes, but even with just men already made perfect. These distinctions of birth and rank, of fortune and station, are absolutely unrecognised in heaven. It is difficult, I know, to see it so: it is of the very nature of these inequalities to strut and parade themselves; it is natural to us, it is even our duty, to feel and to own these varieties below; it is a part of Christian virtue to order myself lowly and reverently towards those who are here above me. But let mine be a willing subordination—willing, because it is also erect, independent, dignified. Let me live already as one whose citizenship is in heaven—whose fellow-citizens are saints and angels, the souls of the faithful here, the spirits of the righteous in glory. There is no degradation in that poverty which, within a few years, will be transfigured and recreated into glory.

2. It heals the broken-hearted.

Macbeth said to the physician, “Canst thou not minister to a mind diseased?” and the physician answered, No. This Physician can bind up a broken heart, can heal a wounded spirit. He came as a Physician to the sick. “They that are whole need not a physician, but they that are sick; I came to call sinners.” He healed the “woman that was a sinner,” broken-hearted perhaps through men’s sins. He healed Zacchæus, whose extortions had broken others’ hearts, and sent him to restore what yet was in his power.

¶ A great thinker has said that Christianity first taught man the reverence for things beneath him. It is profoundly true. The Spirit of Christ can say distinctively, “He hath sent me to bind the broken heart.” It has come through other channels for other purposes, but through this channel it has had but one purpose. Sometimes its mission has been to teach me God’s majesty, sometimes to reveal His beauty, sometimes to proclaim His law. But here in the heart of Jesus the mission of the Spirit is to show me a new exhibition of God’s power—His power of infinite stooping.

3. It is a message of liberty to the captives.

Jesus did not loose any one’s chain, so far as we know, when He was on earth. He sent John’s messengers back to John in prison, not with a message to open the prison door, but with “Blessed is he whosoever shall not be offended in me.” But He gave liberty to the captive in sin. He said to the paralytic, “Son, thy sins are forgiven thee.” He did more than break the chains of sin for the moment. He set in a large place, gave liberty to go in and out, victory over the very temptation that it became no temptation longer. He brought His banished home again, with the Father’s welcome and the Son’s place.

¶ I do not know whether you generally read the daily newspaper. I think we might get up a “Society for the Suppression of Useless Knowledge.” A great deal that appears in the newspapers amounts only to that, and much time is wasted thereon; but sometimes we get a gem amongst the news, and to my mind there was a gem contained in a Reuter’s telegram from Rio Janeiro, 10th May:—“The Brazilian Chamber of Deputies has voted the immediate and unconditional abolition of slavery in Brazil.”

¶ The island of Capri in the Bay of Naples is a very tiny island, only about three and a half miles square. But it is a very beautiful island, for small though it is, it has upon it two mountains, connected with each other by a ridge or saddle. And the sides of these mountains are covered with gardens and trees. There are orange trees and lemons and olives and vines. And the air in the summer time is heavy with the sweet fragrance they send forth. There are remains also upon the island of Roman villas and baths and temples. And on one side of the island is a wonderful grotto, which can be reached only from the sea.

Now if we were in the island of Capri on Easter morning we might see a very curious sight. Rising early, we should climb the long flight of steps that lead upward from the shore, past the quaint old houses, by the vineyards and the orange groves, until we reached the church. There we should find a crowd of people waiting; dark-eyed boys and girls with jet black hair; women wearing the many-coloured costume of the island; men with their faces sunburnt from their daily exposure to the rays of the hot, fierce sun.
By and by there comes the priest, with the boy acolytes behind him, chanting as they come. First they enter the church, where they hold a service; then, after a while, they reappear outside the church, and people and priests and boys all stand together on the great open square in front, with the wide sea below and the great broad dome of the blue sky above. But what are those people carrying in their hands? Cages. And what are in the cages? Birds. Let us watch. See, there is a signal given. What does it mean? The doors of the cages are being opened; and the men, or the boys, or the girls who hold them are putting in their hands. And now they are taking out the birds. They must be about to set them free. And so they are. Another moment and there is a little cloud of birds just above the people’s heads, and in another the birds which a minute ago were captives in their cages are flying upward, here and there and everywhere, into the wide sky beyond. They, every one of them, are free. This is what may be seen every Easter morning on the island of Capri, and it may be seen also, I believe, in other places, especially in Russia.

         Conquering kings their titles take
         From the foes they captive make.
         Jesus by a nobler deed
         From the thousands He hath freed.

4. And it is a message of the opening of the eyes to the blind. None of Christ’s miracles astonished more than His making the blind to see; none cost Him more. In the spiritual sphere it verges on the impossible. The blindness of ignorance is removable: we are to blame if we do not remove that. But who so blind as he that will not see? Whose eyes are so hard to open as theirs who say, “we see,” while yet their sin remaineth? But the things which are impossible with men are possible with God. This Worker is anointed for His work. Therefore He has the Spirit, and the Spirit will stay with Him till his work is done—even to the opening of the eyes of the blind.

    Lo! the light cometh that shall never cease;
    Soon shall the veil be lifted; be at peace!
    Light, and more light, shines from the eternal shore,
    Light of the life that dieth nevermore.

III The Preacher

In a dialogue between a Christian and a Jew, which was written in the beginning of the second century, but published in English only a few years ago (Expos. 5th ser. v. 302, 443), the Christian quotes this prophecy of Isaiah, upon which the Jew remarks, “All this is to be in the future, though the time is not yet.” That is the Jew’s admission of the extraordinary wealth of promise this prophecy contains. He does not acknowledge Jesus Christ, but he sees that no one else has yet come to fulfil it. We acknowledge Jesus Christ. We know that He took this sermon and made it His. We believe that

         He comes the broken hearts to bind,
           The bleeding souls to cure;
         And with the treasures of His grace
           To enrich the humble poor.

The majority of people do not think of Christ as a great preacher. They look at Him as a man of supreme love, gentleness of spirit, kindness of manner, and as thoroughly good and unselfish in all He did; but they do not think of Him as possessing the qualities which we think necessary to make what we call a great preacher. The wonderful gift of language, the skilful choice of words, the ability to gather His arguments and focus His thought so as to carry His audience to the point of decision, most people, I say, do not thus think of Christ. When the great preachers of history are named, people speak of Brooks, Beecher, Finney, and Edwards in America; Spurgeon, Chalmers, Whitefield, and Wesley in Britain; Luther, Savonarola, and Chrysostom of the old world. But did you ever hear any one put Christ in this category?

1. That Christ was a great preacher is evident from our text, for the requisites, which all concede as necessary, are here set forth as being in His possession.

(1) First, He had the right qualification for His work, namely, the anointing of the Holy Spirit. “The Lord hath anointed me to preach.” Christ received this special qualification at the time of His baptism, with the declaration, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” It was this anointing for the work that gave Christ His power. The account in Luke closes with the suggestive sentence, “His word was with power,” and immediately following the text occurs the statement, “And they wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.”

The fact that Christ’s earthly life became effectual through the ministry of the Holy Spirit within Him, and not alone through the inherent virtue and power He brought with Him from His pre-existent state, has become one of the commonplaces of theology; and yet how little do we realise its true import, and cultivate that humility and dependence of soul which would distinguish us if the great truth were ever in view! In spite of our formal adhesion to this doctrine, it seems still strange to us that one whom we think of as holy and Divine should be indebted at every stage of His earthly life to that inward mystic ministry which is so necessary to us because of our sinfulness. We speak of the Holy Ghost as a Deliverer from inbred corruption, and are ready to assume, quite unwarrantably, that where there is no corruption in the nature, the stimulating forces and fervours of His benign indwelling are needless. We are accustomed to look upon this ministry, which perpetuates in our souls the saving work of the Lord Jesus, as though it were a special antidote to human depravity only. For the Spirit to abide moment by moment with Jesus Christ, and work in His humanity, seems like painting the lily, gilding fine gold, and bleaching the untrampled snow.

But that is a mistaken view. When the universal Church shall have been built up and consecrated to its high uses, it will be “by the Spirit” that God will dwell in the temple. And the temple of Christ’s sacred flesh needed this same indwelling presence. It was imperative that to the Son in His humiliation the Father should give the Spirit, and give Him, too, upon no grudging scale—give Him for His own sake as well as for ours, whom He came to represent and to save. The great Sanctifier blends the essential forces of His personality into this divinest type of goodness, to show that goodness in even the only begotten Son is not self-originated. In the less mature stages of Christ’s expanding humanity implicit and docile dependence on this inward leading was the test of His entire acceptability to the Father.

(2) He had also the second requisite of a preacher, whose sermon must always be about Christ. Christ’s sermon in Nazareth was about Himself. “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, He has sent me.” The personal pronoun runs through all He has to say. The subject of His discourse was, in a word, Himself. Just after the resurrection, when Christ was on the road to Emmaus with two of the disciples, we are told that, “Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the thing concerning Himself.” Again, He said: “I am the Vine.” “I am the Resurrection and the Life.” “I am the Son of God.” “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”

More than that, Christ’s sermon was Himself. He gave His life a ransom, His soul an offering for sin. That day this Scripture was fulfilled. He preached the sermon in Nazareth by anticipation; for He delighted to do the Father’s will,—and it was as good as done already, even to the last agony.

¶ I once heard a prayer of a rough ploughman in a village schoolroom; and this was in his prayer—“Dear Lord, if there be any poor stricken one in this room to-night, come and bind him up, and bind Thyself, Lord, into the binding.”

2. It is because Christ is this sermon, not because He preached it, that the prophet could preach it, and that we can preach it now. The Cross of Christ looks before and after. One arm stretches backward and gives this prophet the right to preach a sermon he has no power himself to fulfil; the other stretches forward and gives the same right to us. For the Spirit of the Lord is not straitened by time or circumstance. As the prophet spoke, the Cross of Christ was already raised in His sight, and it stands erected in His sight to-day.

Thus the preacher can say, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach glad tidings to the meek.” This is his work. It is a special work. Like every work for which one is anointed, it is honourable and glorious. He has been chosen to accomplish it. And because he has been chosen to accomplish this work, the Spirit of the Lord will be with him as long as he gives himself to its accomplishment.

¶ The question very naturally arises, if one of the offices of Christ was that of physician, and He healed the sick and made the lame to walk, and gave sight to the blind, will He not do these same things to-day? In other words, it is asked, have we not here Scripture which supports the theory known as Divine healing, or faith cure? Christ undoubtedly could heal the sick to-day, and give sight to the blind, just as much as when He was here upon earth, for He has the same power now that He had then. “Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever.” But what He can do and what He will do are two different things, and while many would willingly concede that He could do these things, yet most Christians believe that He will not now work miracles of physical restoration.
The reason for this is that such miracles are not needed. God could inspire men to prophecy, but the probability is that He will not. Simply because Christ has come, the acme of all prophecy has been fulfilled, and the necessity does not now exist. So God could inspire men to write a Bible, for He has the same power as when He spoke to Isaiah, and Paul, and James; but the probability is that He will not thus inspire men to-day, for we have a Bible, and such inspired writings are not needed. On the same basis do we believe that Divine healing is not to be expected in present times. The purpose of Christ’s physical miracles was to support His authority as a spiritual healer. He restored the sight of the blind that the world might be more easily convinced that He had the power to heal spiritual blindness. He bound up the broken-hearted that people might be taught to trust Him as the physician of the soul.

Open (06491)(paqach) to open especially in reference to one's eyes (either literal or figurative opening) and once to ears (Isa 42:20). The first use of paqach is figurative where the devil tempted Eve with the promise "your eyes will be opened" (Ge 3:5, 3:7). God figuratively (supernaturally) opened Hagar's eyes to see a well (Ge 21:19). God used Elisha to bring a dead lad back to life so that he literally opened his eyes (2 Ki 4:35). Elisha prayed for his servant's eyes to be figuratively (supernaturally) opened to see chariots of fire (2 Ki 6:17) and later he literally opened eyes of men blinded (2 Ki 6:20). Hezekiah prayed to God to open His eyes regarding his enemy (2 Ki 19:16, Isa 37:17). To open one's eyes is an idiom meaning to pay attention, to be watchful, to notice what is going on (2 Ki. 19:16; Dan. 9:18; Zech. 12:4); or to bring judgment on someone (Job 14:3). In Da 9:18 the prophet asked God to open His eyes or have compassion on Judah in exile. 

Victor Hamilton on paqach - refers to the opening of the eyes with two exceptions (Isaiah 42:20, the opening of the ears; Isaiah 61:1, the opening of a prison to those who are bound [cf. Luke 4:18-19]). In Pr 20:13 the idea of "open your eyes" is to be diligent and industrious. Paqach is used in a proverb to indicate the shortness of life or the possession of riches (Job 27:19). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Renn notes that "God's eyes, too, are opened in an anthropomorphic sense. For example, Jer. 32:19 speaks of God's eyes always being open to humankind. 2 Kgs. 9:16, Isa. 37:17; Da 9:18 contain a plea for God to "open his eyes" and consider the plight of his people (see also Zech. 12:4). Isa. 42:20 refers to the ears of God being open." (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words)

Hamilton adds that "The references to God's eyes (2 Ki 19:16, Isa 37:17), an anthropomorphism, may suggest the idea that God is attentive and aware, as opposed to passive and uninvolved...Only in 2 Kings 4:35 does pāqaḥ seem to refer to the opening of the eyes in a physical miracle (the son of the Shunemite woman). One is reminded of Jesus' healing of the man with congenital blindness (John 9) and especially John 9:39, "It is for judgment that I have come into the world so that they which see not might see, and that they which see might be made blind." (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Paqach - 21x in 19v - Usage: open(10), opened(7), opens(2), watch*(1).

Genesis 3:5  "For God knows that in the day you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil."

Genesis 3:7  Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coverings.

Genesis 21:19  Then God opened her eyes and she saw a well of water; and she went and filled the skin with water and gave the lad a drink.

2 Kings 4:35  Then he returned and walked in the house once back and forth, and went up and stretched himself on him; and the lad sneezed seven times and the lad opened his eyes.

2 Kings 6:17  Then Elisha prayed and said, "O LORD, I pray, open his eyes that he may see." And the LORD opened the servant's eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

2 Kings 6:20  When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, "O LORD, open the eyes of these men, that they may see." So the LORD opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria.

2 Kings 19:16  (Hezekiah - see also Isa 37:17) "Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and listen to the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to reproach the living God.

Job 14:3  "You also open Your eyes on him And bring him into judgment with Yourself.

Job 27:19  "He lies down rich, but never again; He opens his eyes, and it is no longer.

Psalm 146:8  The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous

Proverbs 20:13  Do not love sleep, or you will become poor; Open your eyes (GET BUSY IS THE IDEA), and you will be satisfied with food.

Isaiah 35:5+  Then the eyes of the blind will be (SUPERNATURALLY, SPIRITUALLY) opened And the ears of the deaf will be unstopped.

Comment: Isaiah 35 describes the Messianic Age (the Millennium) and stands in stark contrast with the destruction (cf Great Tribulation) in the previous chapter. 

KJV Bible Commentary - After the great and awesome destruction predicted in the preceding chapter, the prophet turns again to a message of hope for the future. There shall come a time when the desert shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. In the millennial kingdom of the coming Messiah, all spiritual evil, as well as physical catastrophe, shall be reversed; and the land, as well as the people, shall be blessed.

HCSB Study Bible - God's work transforms those who are blind...deaf... lame, and mute. Elsewhere in Isaiah these physical disabilities are metaphors for spiritual shortcomings (29:18; 42:18-19; 43:8). They have been physically dead to godliness, but in the future they will come alive. Not only will the lame walk, but they will leap like a deer. Not only will the mute speak, but they will sing for joy. A similar transformation is described with the language of nature. The parched ground will flow with water. Land that was only suitable for wilderness animals like jackals will be verdant.

Henry Morris (Defender's Study Bible) - After the desolations left by the tribulation catastrophes, the earth's geography and climatology will have been restored to pristine antediluvian conditions. Originally there were no deserts or other uninhabitable regions, for all was "very good" (Genesis 1:31). These conditions will be restored, at least in some measure, during the coming kingdom age on earth.

W E Vine - The Millennial conditions of peace and prosperity foretold in this chapter and the definite contrasts with what is predicted in chapter thirty-four, make clear that the judgments of the wrath of God foretold in that chapter are those to be carried out at the close of the present age. The overthrow of the antichristian powers by the Second Advent of Christ will be followed by what set forth. In contrast to the barren condition of Edom, the land of Palestine will “blossom as the rose” (Isa 35:1).... The woeful conditions of distress in the Great Tribulation will yield place to all that makes for the glory of God in the happiness of His redeemed.

Isaiah 37:17  "Incline Your ear, O LORD, and hear; open Your eyes, O LORD, and see; and listen to all the words of Sennacherib, who sent them to reproach the living God.

Isaiah 42:7  To open blind eyes, To bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison.

W E Vine on Isaiah 42 - The way is now open for the first great revelation and prophecy, in this second part of the book, concerning Christ. All the promises of restoration and its consequent blessing are shown to center in Him. Later on His sacrificial Death will be before us. Now we are to see the delight of God the Father in Him, and what great things will be accomplished by Him. We are given a view of His life and character in the days of His flesh, His tenderness as well as His power, and of the great deliverance He will accomplish hereafter....The demonstration of the delight of the Father in Him was the coming of the Holy Spirit upon Him (Isa 42:1), in fulfillment of this prophecy (Mt. 3:16; Mk 1:10; Lk 3:22; John 1:32, 33). This statement, “I have put My Spirit upon Him,” is the center one of three great declarations in Isaiah concerning the Holy Spirit in connection with Christ. The first is in Isa 11:2, which speaks of His Incarnation. The second, here, points to His baptism. The last is in Isa 61:1, pointing to the beginning of His public ministry....The purposes (of the Father for His Servant Son) are: (1) “to open the blind eyes,” (2) “to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon,” (3) “and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” All this will be made true in regard to the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, concerning Israel, in a day to come. Yet what a comfort it all is to us in its secondary application to ourselves as servants of God! We are justified in applying Isa 42:6, 7 to ourselves by the fact that the Lord Jesus uses similar language to His apostle as recorded in Acts 26:18-note. He who has called us in righteousness will still hold our hand, and will keep us, making us ministers of His Gospel, enabling us to bring light and liberty to those who are in spiritual darkness and captivity. (Collected Writings)

Isaiah 42:20  You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; Your ears are open, but none hears.

Jeremiah 32:19+  great in counsel and mighty in deed, whose eyes are open to all the ways of the sons of men, giving to everyone according to his ways and according to the fruit of his deeds;

Daniel 9:18  "O my God, incline Your ear and hear! Open Your eyes and see our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You on account of any merits of our own, but on account of Your great compassion.

Zechariah 12:4+  "In that day," declares the LORD, "I will strike every horse with bewilderment and his rider with madness. But I will watch ("I WILL OPEN MY EYES") over the house of Judah, while I strike every horse of the peoples with blindness.

Comment - The time phrase "that day" in this verse refers to the end times and occurs 16 times in Zech 12-14 = Zech. 12:3; Zech. 12:4; Zech. 12:6; Zech. 12:8; Zech. 12:9; Zech. 12:11; Zech. 13:1; Zech. 13:2; Zech. 13:4; Zech. 14:4; Zech. 14:6; Zech. 14:8; Zech. 14:9; Zech. 14:13; Zech. 14:20; Zech. 14:2. Although the situation for the Nation of Israel will look very bleak in the Daniel's Seventieth Week, Jehovah promises "I will open My eyes" and intervene supernaturally on behalf of Israel even though there would be destruction in the Nation of Israel.

John MacArthur - The prophecy described a future siege against the nation, indicating that there would be significant devastation before there was repentance and conversion in Israel (cf. Zech 14:1, 2).

Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn

Lxx - kalesai eniauton kuriou dekton (favorable, acceptable, pleasing; cp use in 2 Cor 6:2 which quotes from Isa 49:8) kai hemeran antapodoseos parakalesai pantas tous penthountas  

BGT καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτὸν καὶ ἡμέραν ἀνταποδόσεως παρακαλέσαι πάντας τοὺς πενθοῦντας

English translation of Septuagint -   to summon the acceptable year of the Lord and the day of retribution, to comfort all who mourn

NET  Isaiah 61:2 to announce the year when the LORD will show his favor, the day when our God will seek vengeance, to console all who mourn, 

NLT  Isaiah 61:2 He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the LORD's favor has come, and with it, the day of God's anger against their enemies.

KJV  Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

ESV  Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

NIV  Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn,

ASV  Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the year of Jehovah's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

CSB  Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of our God's vengeance; to comfort all who mourn,

NKJ  Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,

NRS  Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;

YLT  Isaiah 61:2 To proclaim the year of the good pleasure of Jehovah, And the day of vengeance of our God, To comfort all mourners.

NAB  Isaiah 61:2 To announce a year of favor from the LORD and a day of vindication by our God, to comfort all who mourn;

NJB  Isaiah 61:2 to proclaim liberty to captives, release to those in prison, to proclaim a year of favour from Yahweh and a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all who mourn

GWN  Isaiah 61:2 He has sent me to announce the year of the LORD's good will and the day of our God's vengeance, to comfort all those who grieve.

  • favorable: Lev 25:9-13 Lu 4:19 2Co 6:2 
  • and: Isa 34:8 35:4 59:17,18 63:1-6 66:14 Ps 110:5,6 Jer 46:10 Mal 4:1-3 Lu 21:22-24 1 Th 2:16 2 Th 1:7-9 
  • to comfort: Isa 25:8 57:18 66:10-12 Jer 31:13 Mt 5:4 Lu 6:21 7:44-50 John 16:20-22 2 Co 1:4,5 2 Th 2:16,17 



To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD ("to announce the year of the Lord's favor") - This passage was read ("proclaimed" and expounded) by Jesus in the Synagogue in Lu 4:19+. However Jesus stopped His reading in the middle of the verse! His first advent was to die as the Lamb of God (Jn 1:29), which would bring in a day of grace, which we are in today. His Second Advent will bring the day of vengeance.

Vine on year - The year stands not for a particular date but for a season. That season lasted during the days of the Lord’s testimony and subsequently in the proclamation of the Gospel to Israel; it applies in a wider sense to the whole period of Gospel grace. God in mercy will shorten the period of the exercise of His wrath (Ed: Vine is alluding to the Seven Year period known as Daniel's Seventieth Week). The Lord, in quoting this passage in the synagogue (in Luke 4:16-21), finished His quotation at the preceding clause. He had not come to earth to usher in the day of vengeance. Later He foretold that the days of vengeance would come upon the nation, and that Jerusalem would be “trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled” (Luke 21:22-24).

Herman Austel has an interesting comment on year stating that some uses are "not date formulas, yet highly descriptive and sometimes with prophetic significance are such year names as shenat rāṣôn "year of favor" (Isaiah 61:2). This speaks of the salvation provided by the Messiah and uses imagery derived from the shenat derôr "year of release" (Leviticus 25:10-11; Ezekiel 46:17), also called the shenat yôbēl "year of Jubilee" (Leviticus 25:13) in which all who had sold themselves into slavery are released. Similar is the shenat shemiṭṭâ "year of remission" (of debts, every seven years, Dt. 15:1; 31:10). The shenat̠ ge’ûlîm "year of vengeance," is a time of deliverance for God's people as God deals with their former oppressors (Isaiah 63:4-note). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Favorable (07522)(ratson/rason from ratsah) is a masculine noun meaning pleasure, delight, desire, will, favor, acceptance. P In Isa 49:8 God promises "“In a favorable (ratson) time I have answered You, And in a day of salvation I have helped You; And I will keep You and give You for a covenant of the people, To restore the land, to make them inherit the desolate heritages." Ps 5:12 says "it is You who blesses the righteous man, O LORD, You surround him with favor (ratson) as with a shield."

The Septuagint translates ratson here with dektos means acceptable, welcome, pleasing as used in Lk 4:24+.  It conveys the picture of a "open" reception, much like when one puts the "welcome mat" on their front door step.

Vine adds that ratson represents a concrete reaction of the superior to an inferior. When used of God, ratson may represent that which is shown in His blessings (Dt. 33:16). Thus Isaiah speaks of the day, year, or time of divine “favor”-in other words, the day of the Lord when all the blessings of the covenant shall be heaped upon God’s people (Isa 49:8; 58:5; 61:2). (Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words)


And the day of vengeance of our God Isa 35:4): This portion of the verse was not fulfilled in Jesus' first coming but awaits His Second Coming His His return when He will "judge the living and the dead, and by His appearing and His kingdom" (2 Ti 4:1+)

Earlier Isaiah promised

For the LORD has a day of vengeance, A year of recompense (PAYDAY SOMEDAY!) for the cause of Zion.  (Isa 34:8+)

Say to those with anxious heart (Say to the hasty of heart," i.e., those whose hearts beat quickly from fear) , “Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God will come with vengeance; The recompense of God will come, But He will save you.”  (Isa 35:4+)

Paul describes this day of vengeance...

For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire, 8 dealing out retribution (vengeance - ekdikesis literally that which proceeds "out of justice" thus giving justice to someone who has been wronged) to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey (believe - see Obedience of faith) the Gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 These will pay (PAYDAY SOMEDAY!) the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, 10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed–for our testimony to you was believed. (2 Th 1:6-10)

Day of vengeance - See notes below on this phrase. 

Vengeance (05359)(naqam from the verb naqam = to avenge or take vengeance) is the act of taking revenge (harming someone in retaliation for something harmful they have done). It refers to punishment inflicted or retribution exacted for an injury or wrong and can refer to punishment beyond what is physical.

Vengeance is translated with the Greek noun antapodosis (from antí = in turn + apodídomi = render. Verb form = antapodidomi = give back in return for something received) which describes the action of recompensing, repaying or rewarding and stresses the action of giving back an equivalent and can be a positive or negative recompense. In the present context it is used in a negative sense (contrast positive sense in Col 3:24).

The Hebrew noun naqam is used also in Isaiah 63:4 (Isaiah 63:1-4 describing the time of the Great Tribulation) which helps understand the next phrase "to comfort all who mourn.

Isaiah 63:4-commentary  "For the day of vengeance was in My heart, And My year of redemption has come.

Comment: In Isaiah 63 Messiah is explaining why He had trodden "the wine trough" and "the peoples." It is not because He is some "heavenly tyrant gone berserk!" (Oswalt). For some His Second Coming will accomplish divine vengeance. For others it will accomplish divine deliverance (redemption), with the primary application being to the persecuted nation of Israel in the last days as the Antichrist unleashes his satanic inspired fury on God's Chosen People (cf Rev 12:13-17-note where the "woman" is not a literal woman but in context is the nation of Israel - see explanation of "woman" in Revelation 12).


Day of vengeance - This phrase is found 5 times in the OT - Pr 6:34, Isa 34:8, 61:2, 63:4 and Jer 46:10. This day reflects to a large degree the consummation of the Day of the Lord, described in many OT passages, such as Zephaniah...

“Therefore, wait for Me,” declares the LORD, “For the day when I rise up to the prey. Indeed, My decision is to gather nations (= goyim = Gentiles), to assemble kingdoms, to pour out on them My indignation ( intense anger), all My burning anger (nose, nostril, and anger); For all the earth will be devoured By the fire of My zeal. (Zeph 3:8-note)

The day of vengeance was promised earlier in Isaiah's prophecy Isaiah 34 describing the "LORD'S indignation...against all the nations...a day of vengeance" (Isa 34:2, 8) following in Isaiah 35 by a description of God's salvation...

"Say to those with anxious heart, "Take courage, fear not. Behold, your God (He is speaking to Judah/Israel) will come with vengeance. The recompense of God will come, but (this is an important contrast) He will save you (cf "mighty to save" Isa 63:1-note. The "you" refers to the believing remnant in Isaiah's day but more fully to those Jews in the last days [Great Tribulation = the ultimate day of vengeance] who place their faith in Messiah = believing remnant of Israel). 5 Then (When? When the Redeemer returns and saves) the eyes of the blind will be opened, and the ears of the deaf will be unstopped (compare Jesus' first "sermon" in Lk 4:16-21-note which was based on the text of Isa 61:1-2a). 6 Then (When is then? When Messiah returns as described here in Isaiah 63:1-6-note) the lame will leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb will shout for joy (cf the concept of the Year of Jubilee). For waters will break forth in the wilderness and streams in the Arabah (The topography will change when Messiah returns to defeat His enemies and establish His Millennial Kingdom-see description). 7 And the scorched land will become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; In the haunt of jackals, its resting place, Grass becomes reeds and rushes. 8 And a highway will be there, a roadway, And it will be called the Highway of Holiness (leading the redeemed to the Holy City and Messiah's Holy Temple, cp Mal 3:1-4-note). The unclean will not travel on it, but it will be for him who walks that way, And fools will not wander on it. (Isa 35:4-8)

Comment: Remember the context. Isaiah is speaking to Judah and Jerusalem. Those who walk on the Highway of Holiness will be "the redeemed" (Isa 35:9), "the ransomed of the LORD" (Isa 35:10), in short, the believing Jewish remnantJ Vernon McGee adds (and I agree with him) that the redeemed refers not just to Israel but "will include the (Gentile) redeemed who enter the Millennium upon the earth. In Zechariah 14:16 we read, “Then it will come about that any who are left (the Gentile "remnant") of all the nations (Gentiles) that went against Jerusalem will go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to celebrate the Feast of Booths.”

In His first coming, Jesus did not emphasize the day of vengeance, a truth dramatically illustrated by His quotation of Isaiah 61:1-2 in what appears to be His first "sermon" in the synagogue. Luke records...

And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read. And the book of the prophet Isaiah was handed to Him. And He opened the book and found the place where it was written,


And He closed the book, gave it back to the attendant and sat down; and the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, "Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing." (Lk 4:16-21-see commentary)

To reiterate in Luke 4:19-note Jesus (in His First Coming) quoted only the first half of Isaiah 61:2, but stopped at the phrase "the day of vengeance of our God" because the latter prophecy awaits a future fulfillment at His Second Coming. His first advent was to die as the perfect Sacrificial Lamb (John 1:29), a day of grace, "the year of the LORD's favor," but His Second Coming will be for judgment (2 Ti 4:1, Ro 2:16) and fulfillment of the day of vengeance! His first coming was to bear God's wrath on the Cross. His Second Coming will be to carry out God's wrath on all who reject the gift of His grace (Ro 3:23-24-note). 


To comfort all who mourn : Mt 5:4 - Why would there be mourning and thus a need for comfort? As discussed above, the context describes the dreadful day of vengeance when God would take "recompense" Israel for their continued sin against Him. The pinnacle of this prophesied punishment is the Great Tribulation (Mt 24:21-note) a 3.5 year period which Jesus warned the Jews about in the Olivet Discourse declaring

"Therefore when you see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), (Mt 24:15-note)

W E Vine writes - The objects next mentioned, “to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion” (Isa 61:3) will be fulfilled after the time of “Jacob’s trouble,” (Ed: synonymous with the Great Tribulation) when the godly remnant in Israel will have passed through their time of unprecedented sorrow (Ed: See discussion below). The Lord, coming as their Deliverer at His Second Advent (Ro 11:26-note), will delight to minister His comfort, giving them (what follows is the object of the verb “appoint,” lit., to put upon, resumed in the verb to give) “a garland for ashes,” (literally, a diadem, to adorn the head). For the sprinkling of ashes on the head of those in sorrow see, e.g., 2 Samuel 13:19.

Comfort (console) (05162)(naham/nacham) is a verb which means to be sorry, to pity, to console oneself, comfort. According to the TWOT nacham reflects the idea of "breathing deeply" and hence refers to the physical display of one's feelings, such as sorrow, or in this case compassion or comfort. The Septuagint (Lxx) renders nacham in this verse with the Greek verb parakaleo (para = beside + kaleo = call) which has the basic picture of calling someone to oneself, to call to one's side, to encourage, to instill someone with cheer and so to comfort (used this way in the Beattitude in Mt 5:4-note, cp Lazarus comforted in hades - Lk 16:25).

All who mourned - As discussed below this word in the verb form is often used in the context of mourning over loss of life. In the coming  Great Tribulation there will be much loss of life among in the nation of Israel, a loss that will even surpass the horrors of the Nazi Holocaust. The prophet Zechariah describes this horrible coming day of vengeance... 

“It will come about in all the land (ISRAEL),” Declares the LORD, “That two parts in it will be cut off and perish (2/3's OF THE JEWS WILL PERISH IN THE TIME OF JACOB'S TROUBLE - SEE DISCUSSION OF The Time of Jacob's Trouble IN Jeremiah 30:7, cf THE SYNONYMOUS TERM = "TIME OF DISTRESS" IN Da 12:1-note); But the third will be left in it. 9 And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The LORD is my God.’” (Zechariah 13:8,9, cf parallel description stating "many [in Israel] will be purged, purified and refined" in Da 12:10-note).

Comment - Notice the terms "fire", "refine," and "test" which are another way to describe the salvation of the One Third Jewish remnant when they will by grace (see Zech 12:10 below) through faith enter into the New Covenant Jehovah promised the houses of Israel and Judah in (Jer 31:31-34-note). Notice God's affirmation "They are My people" and their response "Jehovah is my God" which are both phrases characteristic of "covenant language." In a word, this third portion of the nation of Israel will be saved, and it is this godly remnant (hold pointer over remnant) which Paul described in Romans 11  - "and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “THE DELIVERER WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY THEIR SINS.”  (Ro 11:26-27-note)

The third of Israel which is refined by the fire of the Great Tribulation will be comforted by Jehovah. Zechariah 12:10 while using a different Hebrew word for "mourn" alludes to the national mourning among Jews when the Messiah returns. On this remnant, Jehovah makes the following promise...

I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me Whom they have pierced; and they will mourn (Hebrew = saphad = wail, lament) for Him, as one mourns (saphad) for an only son, and they will weep bitterly (marar) over Him like the bitter weeping (marar) over a firstborn. (Zechariah 12:10 - commentary Wil PoundsT V Moore - Future Repentance and Blessing of JerusalemJ Vernon McGee)

Mourn (057)(abel  from abal = to mourn - see below) means to be in mourning process and speaks of actions and persons. As discussed more below the root verb abal describes mourning for the dead as did Jacob when he thought Joseph had died (Ge 37:34). Obstinate Israel heard the sad word in Ex 33:3 and went into mourning (Ex 33:4). Israel mourned after God killed the spies who gave a bad report in their foray to Canaan (Nu 14:39). 

TWOT on the root verb abal - ʾābal describes mourning rites for the dead, though often, in its thirty-nine occurrences, it is used figuratively, "The land mourneth" (Isaiah 24:4). Some propose a separate meaning, "to dry up," when ʾābal parallels yābēsh (Jeremiah 12:4; Jeremiah 23:10; Amos 1:2; KB, p. 6): but "mourning" is contextually preferable (Jeremiah 12:11). Biblical mourning for the dead (expressed by abal, sāpad, etc.) involved emotion, usually expressed audibly (Jeremiah 22:18; Jeremiah 48:36) and visibly (Genesis 37:34; Psalm 35:14; Micah 1:8), especially for the decease of important leaders (2 Chr. 35:24-25; Ezek 31:15). Professional mourning women could be hired (Jeremiah 9:17; Eccles. 12:5), or the emotion could be merely simulated (2 Sa 14:2, ʾābal, Hithpael, "feign oneself a mourner"; Matthew 11:17). Yet the OT forbad such pagan exhibitions as tearing one's hair or flesh for the dead (Leviticus 19:28; Leviticus 21:5; but see Jeremiah 16:6; Jeremiah 41:5); for the OT gave an underlying assurance of immortality (Psalm 73:24; Job 19:25-27, Proverbs 15:24) and held out the prospect of bodily resurrection (Psalm 16:9-11; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2). (Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament)

Abal (056) - 38 uses in the OT - Usage: caused lamentations(1), grieve(1), grieved(1), lament(1), mourn(13), mourned(7), mourning(3), mourns(10), pretend to be a mourner(1), went into mourning(1).

Gen. 37:34; Exod. 33:4; Num. 14:39; 1 Sam. 6:19; 1 Sam. 15:35; 1 Sam. 16:1; 2 Sam. 13:37; 2 Sam. 14:2; 2 Sam. 19:1; 1 Chr. 7:22; 2 Chr. 35:24; Ezr. 10:6; Neh. 1:4; Neh. 8:9; Job 14:22; Isa. 3:26; Isa. 19:8; Isa. 24:4; Isa. 24:7; Isa. 33:9; Isa. 66:10; Jer. 4:28; Jer. 12:4; Jer. 12:11; Jer. 14:2; Jer. 23:10; Lam. 2:8; Ezek. 7:12; Ezek. 7:27; Ezek. 31:15; Dan. 10:2; Hos. 4:3; Hos. 10:5; Joel 1:9; Joel 1:10; Amos 1:2; Amos 8:8; Amos 9:5

Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon.

I. ‏אָבֵל‎ adj. mourning—‏א׳‎ Gn 37:35 Est 6:12; construct ‏אֲבֶל־‎ Psalm 35:14; ‏אֲבֵלִים‎ Jb 29:25 Isa 61:2 etc.;—for dead Gn 37:35, calamity Est 6:12, compare figurative La 1:4 (pred., inanim. subj.), elsewhere as subst. mourner; sg. Psalm 35:14 (construct) for dead (‏קדר ׀׀‎); pl. Jb 29:25 absolute; for calamity Isa 57:18 61:2; 61:3 (where mourners for Zion, or of Zion, see A. Dillmann).

Abel is used 8x in the OT - Usage: mourn(2), mourners(2), mourning(3), one who sorrows(1).

Genesis 37:35  Then all his sons and all his daughters arose to comfort him, but he refused to be comforted. And he said, "Surely I will go down to Sheol in mourning for my son." So his father wept for him.

Esther 6:12  Then Mordecai returned to the king's gate. But Haman hurried home, mourning, with his head covered.

Job 29:25  "I chose a way for them and sat as chief, And dwelt as a king among the troops, As one who comforted the mourners.

Psalm 35:14  I went about as though it were my friend or brother; I bowed down mourning, as one who sorrows for a mother.

Isaiah 57:18  "I have seen his ways, but I will heal him; I will lead him and restore comfort to him and to his mourners,

Isaiah 61:2  To proclaim the favorable year of the LORD And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,

Isaiah 61:3  To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified.

Lamentations 1:4  The roads of Zion are in mourning Because no one comes to the appointed feasts. All her gates are desolate; Her priests are groaning, Her virgins are afflicted, And she herself is bitter.

Gibrant on the verb abal (he spells it "ʾāval ") - 

The primary meaning of the verb ʾāval is "to mourn" or "to lament." It employs this sense in 39 passages in the OT, the vast majority of which are of the prophetic-poetic genre. Another usage, closely related, is "to show oneself a mourner." This meaning occurs primarily in the Torah and historical books, beginning with Genesis 37:34. There are four instances of ʾāval being used thus in the prophetic literature (Isa. 66:10; Ezek. 7:12, 27; Dan. 10:2), each conveying this latter meaning.

Two root meanings emerge among cognate occurrences of ʾāval in other ancient Near Eastern languages. The first of these connotes the act or actions associated with the process of mourning for the dead. The other, in substantive (noun) form, contracts with verbal forms which mean "to mourn" to convey the concept of "stream" or "brook." Associations from the physiology of weeping to the flow of streams/brooks, combined with the emotional aspects of the weeping process, may explain this semantic domain.

Biblical usage affirms the connotation of mourning for the dead, both literally and figuratively (cf. Isa. 24:4, where the land is "mourning"). In the passages which convey this sense, (i.e., mourning for the dead), the emphasis seems to be on outward behavior as contrasted with inner feelings (cf. Gen. 37:34; 1 Sam. 16:1; 2 Sam. 13:31-37; 14:2; Neh. 1:4; Dan. 10:2). Such overt expressions would include shedding of tears, wearing sackcloth, sprinkling with ashes, lying on the ground and shaving of head and beard. The term (ʾāval) may also designate ritual mourning (cf. 2 Sam. 14:2; Jer. 9:17; Ecc. 12:5).

ʾAval does not exclude the sharing of inner feelings. The majority of usages which include the emotional aspects of mourning are contained in the poetic and prophetic literature. For instance, Job 14:22 conveys inner emotion ("and his soul will mourn over it"), as does 29:25 (cf. Isa. 33:9; Jer. 12:11; 14:2; 22:18).

There is a category of biblical uses of ʾāval which refer to nature and vegetation, rather than human beings. These passages alluded to above are (with the exception of the single occurrence in Job 14:22) prophetic in nature and belong to pronouncements of judgment (cf. Isa. 3:26; 24:4, 7; 33:9; Jer. 4:28; 12:4, 11; Hos. 4:3; 10:5; Joel 1:10; Amos 1:2). The language is therefore figurative. The connotation of mourning comes through the association with calamity which has, or will, come upon the land. Nature itself participates in the humiliation of the people visited with the calamity.  (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

The Answers Can Wait

Read: Luke 4:14-22

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. —1 Timothy 1:15

David Herwaldt, a thoughtful, reflective pastor friend of mine, was slowly dying after 50 years of faithful ministry. He often talked with me about the nature of God and the eternity he would soon enter. We realized that we had only a superficial grasp of these mysteries, but we were not distressed. We knew that God had rescued us from our sin and guilt, and we rejoiced in our salvation. We had all we needed to obey the Lord gladly, live confidently, and serve Him gratefully.

When we are distressed by our inability to answer life’s most vexing questions, we must remember that Christ did not come to satisfy our curiosity. Rather, He saw us as fallen and hurt, and He came to lift and heal.

When Jesus read Isaiah 61:1-2 to the people in the synagogue (Luke 4:16-21), He presented Himself as the promised Messiah, whose primary purpose for coming was spiritual. He came to deliver us from the helplessness of our spiritual poverty, to release us from the shackles of our guilt, to heal our sin-caused blindness, and to set us free from sin’s enslaving power.

Let us therefore trust Him and make obeying Him our highest goal. This is the path to a grateful, joyous, and hope-filled life. The answers can wait.

When trouble seeks to rob your very breath,
When tragedy hits hard and steals your days,
Recall that Christ endured the sting of death;
He gives us hope, and merits all our praise.

Christ came not to satisfy our curiosity but to save our souls.

By Herbert VanderLugt (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Isaiah 61:3 To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified

  • beauty (KJV): Isa 12:1 Es 4:1-3 8:15 9:22 Ps 30:11 Eze 16:8-13 
  • the oil (KJV): Ps 23:5 45:7 104:15 Ec 9:8 Joh 16:20 
  • the garment (KJV): Isa 61:10 Zec 3:5 Lu 15:22 Rev 7:9-14 
  • called (KJV): Isa 60:21 Ps 92:12-15 Jer 17:7,8 Mt 7:17-19 
  • that he (KJV): Mt 5:16 Joh 15:8 1Co 6:20 Php 1:11 2Th 1:10 1Pe 2:9 4:9-11,14 

Lxx - dothenai tois penthousin Sion doxan anti spodou aleimma euphrosunes tois penthousin katastolen doxes anti pneumatos akedias kai klethesontai geneai dikaiosunes phuteuma kuriou eis doxan 

English translation of Septuagint  - so that to those who mourn for Sion be given glory instead of ashes, oil of joy to those who mourn, a garment of glory instead of a spirit of weariness. They will be called generations of righteousness, a plant of the Lord for glory. 

ESV  to grant to those who mourn in Zion-- to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he may be glorified.

International Children's Bible - He has sent Me (Ed: Messiah) to the sorrowing people of Jerusalem. I will give them a crown to replace their ashes. I will give them the oil of gladness to replace their sorrow. I will give them clothes of praise to replace their spirit of sadness. Then they will be called Trees of Goodness. They will be like trees planted by the Lord and will show his greatness.

KJV   To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified.

NET to strengthen those who mourn in Zion, by giving them a turban, instead of ashes, oil symbolizing joy, instead of mourning, a garment symbolizing praise, instead of discouragement. They will be called oaks of righteousness, trees planted by the LORD to reveal his splendor.

NLT   To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the LORD has planted for his own glory.

CSB  to provide for those who mourn in Zion; to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, festive oil instead of mourning, and splendid clothes instead of despair. And they will be called righteous trees, planted by the LORD, to glorify Him.

NIV  and provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.

NAB  To place on those who mourn in Zion a diadem instead of ashes, To give them oil of gladness in place of mourning, a glorious mantle instead of a listless spirit. They will be called oaks of justice, planted by the LORD to show his glory.

NJB  (to give to Zion's mourners), to give them for ashes a garland, for mourning-dress, the oil of gladness, for despondency, festal attire; and they will be called 'terebinths of saving justice', planted by Yahweh to glorify him.

GWN   He has sent me to provide for all those who grieve in Zion, to give them crowns instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of tears of grief, and clothes of praise instead of a spirit of weakness. They will be called Oaks of Righteousness, the Plantings of the LORD, so that he might display his glory.

YLT   To appoint to mourners in Zion, To give to them beauty instead of ashes, The oil of joy instead of mourning, A covering of praise for a spirit of weakness, And He is calling to them, 'Trees of righteousness, The planting of Jehovah -- to be beautified.'


Now we encounter several contrasts brought about by the Messiah's return to rescue Israel from destruction and give her salvation, restoring her glory and renown throughout the world.

And so this passage pictures Jewish mourners drying their tears and putting on festive garments instead of mourning clothes. Why? Because the victory has been won by Messiah and they now enter into His blessed Messianic Age (Millennium).

So who is it that accomplishes this reversal of destinies for Israel? As the title above indicates it is Christ Jesus the Anointed Servant of the LORD Who in proclaiming good news gives the godly mourners a garland (beauty), oil of joy and a garment of praise. In the final analysis this restoration of Israel is done for the praise and glory of God. Indeed, the glory of the Lord is the motive of all that God does and should always be our motive in whatever ministry the LORD gives us for as Paul says "Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31).

To grant those who mourn in Zion - Zion speaks of the city of Jerusalem which in a sense is representative of the nation of Israel because at this future time in Israel's history the entire nation will be in deep mourning because of the horrendous destruction and death associated with the day of vengeance. The recipients of this "grant" from the Messiah are the godly remnant of Israel who have been redeemed and regenerated during the day of vengeance (see Isa 61:2b)

Spurgeon - To make an appointment — an ordinance — a decree — concerning them; and it will be to this effect.

To grant is the Hebrew verb sum which primarily means to put, to place or to set as in the first use in Ge 2:8 where the Lord God "placed the man whom He had formed." The Septuagint (Lxx) helps give us the sense of what this Hebrew verb (which has a large number of meanings depending on the context) means in context for the Greek verb used to translate sum is didomi which means to give based on a decision of the will of the giver and not based on any merit of the recipient. That definition sounds a lot like "grace" and indeed the multifaceted Messianic restoration of Israel described in this passage is clearly the result of grace, God's Riches At Christ's Expense!

J Vernon McGee - I believe that Isaiah knew his geography, and when he said “Zion,” he meant Zion—not Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, Florida, or South America. Zion, the highest spot in Jerusalem, was well known to Isaiah....speaking specifically of the Jews. (Thru the Bible)

Mourn (see above) (057)(abel  from abal = to mourn) means to be in mourning process and speaks of actions and persons.

The Septuagint (Lxx) uses pentheo (from pénthos = mourning) which denotes grief with loud wailing and mourning such as a lament for the dead or for a severe, painful loss. As discussed in notes on Isaiah 61:2b there will be great loss of life in Israel and undoubtedly many of these mourners are lamenting loss of loved ones in the The Time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer 30:7).

Resources on Mourn


Giving them a garland instead of ashes (KJV - to give them beauty for ashes, ESV = to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes) - Messiah gives them a "turban (headdress) of beauty" in exchange for the ashes on the foreheads of the Jewish mourners. Jewish mourning included wearing of sackcloth, coarse and drab clothing, and spreading dust and ashes upon one's head. On the other hand, a happy occasion called forth splendid and colorful garments and the pouring of expensive and fragrant ointment upon one's head. 

Related Resource:

In the Hebrew there is a play on words -- ashes (ʾēper) a word play on garland (pĕʾēr). The Septuagint (Lxx) translates garland (pe'er) with the noun doxa which means glory.

Rod Mattoon - In the Millennium, Israel will receive “beauty for ashes” and “clothing of salvation” (Isa 61:3, 10). They will all receive the “double portion” of the firstborn son (Isa 61:7). Israel will at last fulfill its destiny as a nation of priests (Isa 61:6; Exodus 19:6), while its former enemies serve her (Isa 61:5). God considered the entire Israelite nation His “firstborn” (Exodus 4:22; Jeremiah 31:9)

Garland (turban, headdress) (06287)(pe'er from paar = beautify or glorify) Pe'er is from paar the verb used below in the phrase that He may be glorified (beautified). The headdress of repentant Jews in Isa 61:3 is in stark contrast to the gaudy headdress described adorning the rebellious Jews (Isa 3:20-note).

Baker on pe'er - A masculine noun indicating a headband, a turban. It refers to a style of headdress worn by men in the Middle East or South Asia. It is made up of lengths of cloth wound in folds around the head (Ex. 39:28). There were many styles of these, sometimes called headdresses (Isa. 3:20-note). The word has the sense of a garland in some contexts, a wreath or woven chain of flowers, even leaves worn on one's head (Isa. 61:3, 10). (Complete Word Study Dictionary)

Pe'er - 7x in 7v - Exod. 39:28; Isa. 3:20; Isa. 61:3; Isa. 61:10; Ezek. 24:17; Ezek. 24:23; Ezek. 44:18

McGee - Isaiah makes a play upon words with "beauty" and "ashes" -- it is like saying in English that God will exchange joy for judgment or a song for a sigh. After the sighing and the judgment there will be joy and singing.

Ian Paisley - The best clothes in prayer are sackcloth and ashes. God delights to give beauty for ashes and the garment of praise for the sackcloth of heaviness. Tears and humility are the twin servants which lead us on to answered prayer.

Pulpit Commentary - or "a crown for ashes," i.e. a crown of glory in lieu of the ashes of repentance which it was customary to sprinkle upon the head.

He gives me joy in place of sorrow;
He gives me love that casts out fear;
He gives me sunshine for my shadow,
And "beauty for ashes" here.  

Rod Mattoon - At His second coming Jesus will change believing Israelites’ sadness to joy, a truth Isaiah mentioned frequently. In place of ashes put on one’s head as a sign of mourning they will wear a crown. Light olive oil, when applied to one’s face and hair, would soothe them and brighten their spirits, eliminating their mourning. Another sign of joy is a bright garment (Ecclesiastes 9:7-8). Israel will be righteous and like stalwart oak trees will display God’s splendor. The background of this passage is the “Year of Jubilee” described in Leviticus 25:7ff. Every seven years, the Jews were to observe a “sabbatical year” and allow the land to rest. After seven sabbaticals, or forty-nine years, they were to celebrate the fiftieth year as the “Year of Jubilee.” During that year, all debts were canceled, all land was returned to the original owners, the slaves were freed, and everybody was given a fresh new beginning. This was the Lord’s way of balancing the economy and keeping the rich from exploiting the poor.

If you have trusted Christ as your Savior, you are already living today in a spiritual “Year of Jubilee.” You have been set free from bondage; your spiritual debt to the Lord has been paid; you are living in “the acceptable year of the Lord.” Instead of the ashes of mourning, you have a crown on your head; for He has made you a king (Revelation 1:6+). You have been anointed with the oil of the Holy Spirit, and you wear a garment of righteousness (Isaiah 61:3, 10).

In her days of rebellion, Israel was like a fading oak and a waterless garden (Isa 1:30); but in the kingdom, she will be like a watered garden (Isa 58:11) and a tree (oak) of righteousness (Ps 61:3). But all of God’s people should be His trees (Psalm 1:1-3), “the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified.” 

Beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.... Isaiah 61:3.

A popular little song says:

   If tears were pennies
   And heartaches were gold,
   I'd have all the money
   My pockets would hold.

But God is able to transmute trouble into treasure, change the coinage of sorrow into the currency of joy. He gives songs in the night. We learn in the darkness what we never would have known in the day. (All the Days - Vance Havner)

Beauty for Ashes - Circumstances may appear to wreck our lives and Gods plans, but God is not helpless among the ruins. Our broken lives are not lost or useless. God's love is still working. He comes in and takes the calamity and uses it victoriously, working out his wonderful plan of love. (Eric Liddell in Disciplines of the Christian Life)


Beauty For Ashes Today's Reading: Isaiah 61:1-3

To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes. Isaiah 61:3

IN GREEK MYTHOLOGY Phoenix was a beautiful, lone bird that soared the skies of Arabia for over 600 years before being consumed in a raging fire. After a time it rose from the ashes in even greater glory and splendor to begin a longer and more brilliant life of freedom and grace. In Greece, Phoenix is a symbol of restoration and immortality.
I'm not a fan of mythology, but I do like the idea this fable represents. Its symbolism could have been torn from the pages of Scripture.
"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give beauty for ashes," writes the prophet Isaiah, "joy instead of mourning, praise instead of despair. For the Lord has planted them like strong and graceful oaks for his own glory" (61:3).
From the ashes of Israel's sin, God promised to raise them up in even greater glory and splendor. Their season of mourning would turn to an eternity of dancing. Their despair would turn to worship. They would rise from the pit of death to be restored as God's holy people.
That promise was fulfilled in Jesus. Death has been conquered. The fire has been extinguished. The Phoenix has risen from the ashes once and for all time.
Have you allowed Jesus to turn your mourning into joy? Have you let him take away the despair and turn it into praise? Have you embraced your future in Christ as a strong and graceful oak—a symbol of his glory? Have you let Jesus trade his beauty for your ashes?
So often we wallow in the ashes of our sin. We roll in the dust of our failures and misfortunes. We allow ourselves to be covered with the soot of Satan's lies and the dirt of our own sinful nature. We live in regret and shame over past sins and pitiful habits. We struggle in the mire of our own self-doubt. But God never intended us to stay there. His intent is to free us!
Rise from the ashes and embrace your future!

In what ways have you wallowed in the ashes of sin? How is it possible to embrace God's restoration? What ashes do you need turned into beauty (Embracing Eternity - Tim Lahaye)

Israel's Distress — in Captivity

"When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.
"Turn again our captivity, O Lord, as the streams in the South" (Ps. 126:1,4).

This Psalm sees Israel's distress in her captivity, but it anticipates the deliverance that shall come to Zion when her captivity is turned again; when she is restored from her anguish, unto her own land.

The 61st chapter of Isaiah comes to mind. Christ quoted from this chapter in the city of Nazareth. The opening verses, had a partial fulfillment in Christ's day; but their complete fulfillment awaits His second advent. The verses read: "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach good tidings." "He hath sent Me to proclaim liberty to the captives and to open the prison to them that are bound." These words parallel Psalm 126.

But that is not all — God will yet appoint unto Israel "beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness." Israel shall see her captivity turned again; her walls shall be built up; her desolations shall be repaired. Then will Israel's mouth be filled with laughter, and her tongue with singing. Then will she sound forth among the nations, "The Lord hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad."
Israel in her distress is sowing in tears, but she shall reap in joy.


The oil of gladness instead of mourning -  "oil of joy" (KJV, ASV); "the oil of gladness" (NASB, NIV, NRSV ) In the Near East oil was used to welcome guests to festive occasions (cf Ps 23:5). NET Bible says it is "oil symbolizing joy, instead of mourning."

The Hebrew word for oil (shemen) is translated in Septuagint (Lxx) with the noun aleimma which describes anything that is used for anointing. (used also in Ex 30:31, Da 10:3).

Some writers see the oil as a symbol of the anointing of the Holy Spirit in place of tears of mourning (See Pritchard's discussion of the Spirit). That would not be unreasonable in light of the fact that 1/3 of the nation (cf Zech 13:8, 9) will be saved by entering the New Covenant with its promise of the indwelling Spirit...

Moreover, I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; and I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will be careful to observe My ordinances. (Ezekiel 36:26-27+)

Alec Motyer has a wonderful observation noting that in Isa 61:2c ("comfort all who mourn) "the hurt was soothed, but now every possibility of further hurt is removed by a divine replacement therapy. The first verb ("to grant") points to a decision of God and the second ("giving") to an act of God: he wills our comfort and then gives that which brings and perpetuates comfort. Note the downward movement of the transformation: from the crown (lit. ‘head-dress’; 3:20; cf. 61:10; Exod. 39:28), to the head (oil), to the clothing (garment). (Cf. the running down of Ps. 133:2–3, significant of heavenly outpouring.) Note also the inward movement of ashes, the visible evidence of grief (58:5; 2 Sam. 13:19), to mourning, grief in the heart, to the inner spirit of despair. The Lord thus acts to pierce progressively to the innermost need. (TOTC - Isaiah)

Rob Mattoon - After the Messiah’s Second Coming Israel will rebuild her ruined cities, even those that had been destroyed many years before. Israel will be so revered that Gentiles, that is aliens and foreigners, will join her (Isa 14:1; Isa 60:10) in her farming and shepherding. As a nation of priests each one will know Christ and have access to Him, and mediate on behalf of others, as did the Levitical priests. This was to be one of Israel’s functions in the world (Exodus 19:6), but unfortunately she will not fully carry out that responsibility until the Millennium. Nations will bring their wealth to Israel (Isaiah 60:5, 11). The double portion refers to the inheritance the eldest son in a family would receive from his father’s estate (Deuteronomy 21:17). The eldest son was given special honor. Similarly Israel, like the Lord’s firstborn (Exodus 4:22), will be honored. Because of these blessings and God’s giving Israel an everlasting covenant, the New Covenant as promised in Jeremiah 32:40, people everywhere will acknowledge that she is indeed God’s special people. Those who enter into the millennial kingdom will marry, have families, and enjoy God’s blessings on the earth for a thousand years (Revelation 20:1-5). They will study God’s Word from generation to generation (Isaiah 59:21). 


The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting (the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness - KJV) - "a garment symbolizing praise, instead of discouragement" (NET). The Septuagint (Lxx) has "glory (doxa) instead of a spirit of weariness (akedia)." It is fascinating that the Septuagint (Lxx) uses doxa three times in this one passage, two times referring to what Messiah gives the redeemed of Israel and once for what the redeemed give the Lord!

Beloved, ponder this truth for a moment. This radical transformation in Israel will take place in the Millennium, a glorious time when God's praises fill the air rather than today where curses (using Jehovah's great Name as a curse word) fill the airways! What a blessed hope (absolute certainty) we as believers have to look forward to! Let this truth encourage you today! 

In times of celebration they Jews would wear festive clothing, not funeral clothing! Here the metaphor speaks of Jews who are filled with praises for Jehovah, in a sense "wearing" their praise as one would a garment. Frankly, this should describe all believers now, for we have access to "the (supernatural) joy of the Holy Spirit" (1 Thess 1:6-note, cf Gal 5:22-note, Ro 15:13-note) independent of our circumstances and this joy should be visible (like a garment is visible) for others to see so that we might be "an example to all the believers" as were the new believers in Thessalonica (1 Th 1:7-note). 

Gary Smith - This metaphorical way of describing the outward transformation of a person's clothes and behavior (speaks of) a deep transformation of this person's situation as well as their psychological reaction (by their "spirit" rûaḥ) to the changes God will introduce at this time (Isa 60:20, " the days of your mourning will be over"). The point is that mourning, which was so often a part of the nation's history, will end and praise will begin. The head ornament (a positive symbol) will be used "instead of" the ashes (a negative symbol) because a new era of salvation has arrived. (New American Commentary  – Isaiah 40-66: Volume 15b)

Pulpit Commentary says the Messiah gives the mourners "a glad heart inclined to praise God, in lieu of a heavy one inclined to despair."

Allen Ross - Drawing on the image of such a banquet, God is saying that they will rejoice, praise, be comforted, and be glorious, in the place of mourning and despairing (giving up hope).

A spirit of fainting - "a faint spirit"  "the spirit of heaviness." Given the events of the day of vengeance that these Jews will have experienced (See description of the breaking of the seals that initiates global events in Revelation 6:1-19:16-note), it is little wonder that they will feel weak and faint from the global death and destruction. 

Fainting (03544)(kēheh from kahah = to be weak, be despondent) is a "feminine adjective meaning faint, dim, dark. It is used of the fading or healing of a skin disease causing discoloration (Lev. 13:6, 21, 26, 28, 39, 56). It describes eyes becoming dull or weak (1 Sa 3:2); and a faintly burning wick (Isa. 42:4). Isaiah uses it to describe a person's weak or fearful spirit (Isa 61:3)." (Complete Word Study Dictionary) 

One gets a sense of the meaning of keheh in Isaiah 42:3 “A bruised reed He will not break And a dimly (keheh) burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice. 

Keheh is translated in this verse in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the Greek noun akedia which means melancholy, weariness, exhaustion as in Psalm 119:28 "My soul weeps because of grief (Lxx = akedia); Strengthen me according to Your word."

Keheh - 9x in 9v -Usage: dim(3), dimly(1), faded(3), faint(1), fainting(1).  

Lev. 13:6; Lev. 13:21; Lev. 13:26; Lev. 13:28; Lev. 13:39; Lev. 13:56; 1 Sam. 3:2; Isa. 42:3; Isa. 61:3


So they will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD (that they might be called trees of righteousness - KJV) - This is a metaphorical description of the redeemed Jews  who enter the Messianic Kingdom in the 1000 year Millennium, but is applicable to all believers in this age of grace between the favorable year and the day of vengeance. The phrase the planting of Jehovah is a reminder that all Salvation is from Jehovah (Jonah 2:9b) and thus the planting summarizes what Jehovah will accomplish for Israel in the future when

“THE DELIVERER (MESSIAH - Greek verb rhuomai = rescue by drawing to oneself from danger, cf use in Col 1:13-note) WILL COME FROM ZION, HE WILL REMOVE UNGODLINESS FROM JACOB.” “THIS IS MY COVENANT WITH THEM, WHEN I TAKE AWAY (aphaireo) THEIR SINS.” (Ro 11:26,27-note)

Vine - The change wrought by the LORD in Israel will likewise be of a moral character. They will be called “trees of righteousness.” Trees suggest firmness, fullness, verdure and fruit. So with the righteousness which will characterize the nation. This will not be their own doing, it will be “the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified

In the previous chapter we read the prophecy of righteousness promised to Israel...

Then all your people (ISRAEL) will be righteous; They will possess the land forever (IN KEEPING WITH THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT - Ge 15:18-21-note), The branch (REFERRING TO REDEEMED ISRAEL) of MY PLANTING, The WORK OF MY HANDS, That I may be glorified. (Isa 60:21).

MacArthur - Israel will inherit the land promised to Abraham (Ge 12:1, 7-note; Ge 13:15; 15:18). During the Millennial kingdom, that will be the land of Israel as we know it today. In the eternal kingdom, it will be the New Jerusalem, capital of the new creation. I may be glorified. The ultimate mission of Israel is to glorify the Lord (Isa 49:3; 61:3).

Believers today can be and should be oaks of righteousness for a world filled with "dead trees" (so to speak) to see. As we grow (a command not a suggestion) in grace and the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ (2 Peter 3:18-note), we should be becoming like large, vibrant oaks, flourishing with righteous deeds and acts, because we are learning to depend more and more on the supernatural strength of the Holy Spirit Who Alone enables us to bear much fruit (cf Jn 15:5). The lost will be convicted and the saved encouraged when they see us bearing supernatural righteous fruit, and they realize that it is the LORD Alone Who deserves all the glory.

Jesus' command in the Sermon on the Mount in a sense is calling on all believers to be "oaks of righteousness"

Let your light shine (aorist imperative - a command we can obey only by depending wholly on the Holy Spirit!) before men in such a way (NOTE THIS KEY QUALIFIER - THEY SEE OUR DEEDS BUT ULTIMATELY THEY SEE THEY ARE GOD'S DEEDS) that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.  (Mt 5:16-note)

Constable says that Jews saved when Messiah returns "would become like large trees, flourishing in righteousness by demonstrating the saving and enabling grace of God and so glorifying Him. God’s righteousness would make them strong and durable."

Allen Ross on oaks of righteousness - “trees of righteousness” means that the people will be solidly and enduringly righteous.

Gary Smith - These "plantings" (his people) are God's vines planted in his vineyard (Isa 5:1-7; 27:2-6), and at this time they will produce the fruit of righteousness instead of bad fruit. The symbolism of being like oaks may communicate how strong, well-rooted, and glorious these righteous people will be. These are the people that God planted "to bring glory to himself" (Isa 60:21b) for all the marvelous things that he has done. This purpose clause indicates that one of the main goals of mankind will be to fulfill this joyful responsibility of glorifying God forever. Those who receive God's good news, freedom, comfort, and experience this transformation will have many reasons to loudly praise and glorify God's name. (Ibid)

By making Israel (and all believers) like oaks of righteousness, God in a sense "beautifies" them as if His workmanship, His masterpiece (poiema in Eph 2:10-note) on display for all the world to see. Spurgeon comments that " God takes pleasure in all his children as Jacob loved all his sons; but the meek are His Josephs, and upon these He puts the coat of many colors, beautifying them with peace, content, joy, holiness, and influence. A meek and quiet spirit is called “an ornament,” and certainly it is “the beauty of holiness.” When God Himself beautifies a man, he becomes beautiful indeed and beautiful for ever!" Have you ever thought of yourself as God's masterpiece on display for the world to see and thereby to give God glory? You should, because you are! (See article - Believers Are God's Masterpiece, His Poiema)

The planting of the LORD (cf Isaiah 60:21 below) - This reminds us of Paul's explanation about the divine genesis of believers....

What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.(1 Cor 3:5-7)

Israel's righteousness, though their own possession as an indwelling quality, is clearly derived from the LORD. 

That He may be glorified - Literally "in order to glorify Himself," "To reveal his splendor" = NET) The wonder of it all is that Jehovah glorifies His Name by glorifying the people who bear His Name! Are you living out His purpose in your life? Remember that "Nothing gives so much glory to God as the proved righteousness of His saints." (Pulpit Commentary)

Spurgeon - So it seems that God finds glory in the helping of his sad sick, sorrowful creatures. He gets glory out of making them: he gets higher glory out of new making them. Creation yields the moonlight glory; the new creation is a glory as of the sun shining in its strength. O ye mourners, may God grant you grace now to give glory to God by cheerfully accepting those wondrous blessings of grace which Christ has come to bestow.

Glorified (06286)(paar) means to beautify or to glorify, six of the 13 uses the subject of this verb is God and the recipients include His children (Isa 55:5, Ps 149:4), or His sanctuary (Ezra 7:27, Isa 60:7, 13). 

The Septuagint (Lxx) often translates paar with the noun doxa (glory) or the verb doxazo to glorify.

Gilbrant on paar - Most of the occurrences in Isaiah center upon the restoration of the Israelites as a political entity. The rationale for the existence and revival of Israel is clear, for it was through the survival of the nation that Yahweh would be glorified in Israel (Isa. 44:23) and by all people (Isa 49:3; 60:7, 13, 21; 61:3). Conversely, restored Israel would be glorified on account of the presence of Yahweh (Isa 55:5; 60:9). Indeed, it is the weak and oppressed who will be glorified by Yahweh (Ps. 149:4). The verb is also used in the sense of self-glorification, or boasting. The arrogance of the king of Assyria, whose actions were dictated by Yahweh, appears in the simile, "Is the axe to boast itself over the one who chops with it?" (Isa. 10:15). Further, Yahweh ordered Gideon to reduce his army "lest Israel vaunt themselves against me, saying, My own hand has saved me" (Jdg. 7:2). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Paar - 13x in 13v - Usage: adorn(1), beautify(2), become boastful(1), boast(1), glorified(4), glorify(1), honor(1), show my glory(1), shows forth his glory(1).

Exodus 8:9  Moses said to Pharaoh, “The honor is yours to tell me: when shall I entreat for you and your servants and your people, that the frogs be destroyed from you and your houses, that they may be left only in the Nile?” 

Judges 7:2  The LORD said to Gideon, “The people who are with you are too many for Me to give Midian into their hands, for Israel would become boastful, saying, ‘My own power has delivered me.’

Ezra 7:27  Blessed be the LORD, the God of our fathers, who has put such a thing as this in the king’s heart, to adorn the house of the LORD which is in Jerusalem,

Ps 149:4  For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the afflicted ones with salvation. 

Spurgeon “For the LORD taketh pleasure in his people;” and therefore they should take pleasure in him. If our joy be pleasing to him let us make it full. What condescension is this on Jehovah’s part, to notice, to love, and to delight in his chosen! Surely there is nothing in our persons, or our actions, which could cause pleasure to the Ever-blessed One, were it not that he condescends to men of low estate. The thought of the Lord’s taking pleasure in us is a mine of joy never to be exhausted. “He will beautify the meek with salvation.” They are humble, and feel their need of salvation; he is gracious, and bestows it upon them. They lament their deformity and he puts a beauty upon them of the choicest sort. He saves them by sanctifying them, and thus they wear the beauty of holiness, and the beauty of a joy which springs out of full salvation. He makes his people meek, and then makes the meek beautiful. Herein is grand argument for worshipping the Lord with the utmost exultation: he who takes such a pleasure in us must be approached with every token of exceeding joy. God taketh pleasure in all his children as Jacob loved all his sons; but the meek are his Josephs, and upon these he puts the coat of many colours, beautifying them with peace, content, joy, holiness, and influence. A meek and quiet spirit is called “an ornament,” and certainly it is “the beauty of holiness.” When God himself beautifies a man, he becomes beautiful indeed and beautiful for ever. The verse may be read, “He shall beautify the meek with salvation,” or “He shall beautify the afflicted with deliverance,” or, “He shall beautify the meek with victory”; and each of these readings gives a new shade of meaning, well worthy of quiet consideration. Each reading also suggests new cause for joyful adoration. “O come, let us sing unto the Lord.”

Isaiah 10:15-note Is the axe to boast (glorify) itself over the one who chops with it? Is the saw to exalt itself over the one who wields it? That would be like a club wielding those who lift it, Or like a rod lifting him who is not wood. 

Isaiah 44:23 Shout for joy, O heavens, for the LORD has done it! Shout joyfully, you lower parts of the earth; Break forth into a shout of joy, you mountains, O forest, and every tree in it; For the LORD has redeemed Jacob And in Israel He shows forth His glory

Isaiah 49:3 He said to Me, “You (MESSIAH) are My Servant, Israel, In Whom I will show My glory.” 

Isaiah 55:5 “Behold, you (ISRAEL) will call a nation (GENTILE) you (ISRAEL) do not know, And a nation which knows you not will run to you, Because of the LORD your God, even the Holy One of Israel; For He has glorified you.” 

ESV Study Bible Note - Comparing Isa 55:5, 6, this Servant Israel restores the nation Israel. The Servant is the true embodiment of what the nation failed to be, namely, the one in whom I will be glorified.

Isaiah 60:7  “All the flocks of Kedar will be gathered together to you (ISRAEL), The rams of Nebaioth will minister to you; They (THE GENTILES) will go up with acceptance on My altar, And I shall glorify My glorious house (HIS TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM). 

W E Vine - The tremendous change in the circumstances of the nation (OF ISRAEL) will produce not only a joyous thrill but an enlargement of heart to apprehend the infinite goodness of God. The Gentile nations will devote their energies to the enrichment of God’s people, and above all the Lord will thereby glorify and beautify the House of His glory, and upon the altar raised in connection with it commemorative sacrifices will be offered continually.

Isaiah 60:9 “Surely the coastlands will wait for Me; And the ships of Tarshish will come first, To bring your sons from afar (JEWS COMING IN ALIYAH), Their silver and their gold with them, For the name of the LORD your God, And for the Holy One of Israel because He has glorified you (ISRAEL). 

W E Vine - This indicates that the far-off nations of the world will act under God’s decree and direction and Gentile activity will be exercised in these matters, not by way merely of a political scheme, but with the definite object of honoring the Lord. They will minister of their wealth and substance, “for the Name of the LORD thy God, and for the Holy One of Israel, because He hath glorified thee.”

Isaiah 60:13  “The glory of Lebanon will come to you, The juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary (THE TEMPLE IN JERUSALEM IN THE Millennium); And I shall make the place of My feet glorious. 

W E Vine observes that in this verse "the Lord delights to foretell the glory of His sanctuary, the beautiful Millennial Temple, and to indicate His presence there by speaking of it as “the place of My feet.” That the glory of Lebanon, with its splendid trees (cp. Isa 41:19) will be brought to beautify the place of the sanctuary, would seem to indicate that these trees will be planted in the environment of the Temple, perhaps by way of avenues. What is referred to here is not timber for the structure itself, but “the place,” that is, the vicinity.

Isaiah 60:21  “Then (When?  read Ro 11:26,27-note) all your people (ISRAEL) will be righteous (In the Millennium); They will possess the land forever, The branch (ISRAEL) of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified

MacArthur - "The purpose of the Lord’s consolation of the mourners after centuries of suffering (Isa 60:20) will be to glorify Himself (Isa 60:21)."

W E Vine - In the Millennial state the fruitfulness and glory of nature will be accompanied by the moral excellence of the nation. The people will be “all righteous”. The word “Jew” will never again be a term of national and moral reproach. Israel will be in permanent possession of the land, and that by what is here metaphorically described as “the Lord’s planting.” It will be by reason of this that they are righteous. They will be like a green shoot or sprout (Eng. text, “branch”). The same word is used of Christ in 11:1. God’s grace will do the planting, and that for His glory.

Isaiah 61:3  To grant those who mourn in Zion, Giving them a garland instead of ashes, The oil of gladness instead of mourning, The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting. So they will be called oaks of righteousness, The planting of the LORD, that He may be glorified. 

My son Mark and I were digging out the stump of an old tree in his front yard. The tree had been only 5 inches in diameter, so we didn't think the task would be difficult. 

After digging around the stump and cutting through the surface roots, we fastened a nylon tow rope to the back of my truck and pulled. Nothing happened. We dug some more, cut out some more roots, and tried again. Still no success. On the third try the heavy nylon rope broke. Strong, deep roots had anchored that tree firmly in the ground.   In the Bible, godly people are often likened to trees (Ps. 1:3; Prov. 12:3). Joni Eareckson Tada wrote about this in her book Diamonds in the Dust: "The branches of growing trees not only reach higher, but their roots grow deeper. It's impossible for a strong tree to have high branches without having deep roots. It would become top-heavy and topple over in the wind." Then Joni observed, "The same is true with Christians. It's impossible for us to grow in the Lord without entwining our roots around His Word and deepening our life in His commands." 

Would you like to be a tall, immovable tree? That comes only through a life of Bible study, discipline, and tested faith--conditions that produce deep roots. --DCE 

We read and learn the Word of God
To fix it firmly in our heart;
And when we act upon that Word,
Its truth from us will not depart. --DJD

The roots of stability come from being grounded in God's Word.

he Power Of Praise

 The Lord has anointed Me . . . to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning. —Isaiah 61:1,3

Praise is powerful! When Scottish pastor Robert Murray McCheyne was troubled with a coldness of heart toward the things of the Lord, he would sing the praises of God until he felt revived in his spirit. Those in his household were often able to tell what hour he awoke because he began the day with a psalm of praise.

One day, while he was trying to prepare his heart for preaching, he wrote in his journal: “Is it the desire of my heart to be made altogether holy? . . . Lord, You know all things . . . . I’ve felt so much deadness and grief that I cannot grieve for this deadness. Toward evening I revived. Got a calm spirit through [singing psalms] and prayer.” McCheyne had been uplifted by praising God.

Perhaps you feel as if you are mired in what John Bunyan called the “slough of despond.” Lift a song of praise to the Lord. The psalmist said, “I will sing of the mercies of the Lord forever” (89:1). When we do that, the praise will flow not only from our lips but also from our heart. The Lord delights to give “the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness” (Isa. 61:3).

Yes, “it is good to sing praises to our God”—at all times (Ps. 147:1).

Praise, my soul, the King of heaven,
To His feet your tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing. —Lyte

If you find yourself wearing a spirit of heaviness, try on a garment of praise.

By Paul Van Gorder 

The Oil Of Helpfulness

Read: Isaiah 61:1-3 

The Lord has anointed Me . . . to give them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning. —Isaiah 61:1,3

There’s a story of an eccentric old man who carried an oil can with him everywhere he went. If he passed through a squeaky door or a stiff gate, he applied oil to the hinges. His practice of lubricating made life easier for those who followed after him.

Nearly every day we encounter people whose lives creak and grate harshly with problems. In such situations we face two choices—either to aggravate their problems with a spirit of criticism or to lubricate their lives in the Spirit of Christ.

Some people we meet carry unbearable burdens and long for the oil of a sympathetic word. Others are defeated and feel like giving up. Just one drop of encouragement could restore their hope. Still others are mean and sin-hardened. Such people can become pliable toward the saving grace of Christ through regular applications of the oil of kindness.

When we receive Christ as our Savior and Lord, the Holy Spirit indwells us and equips us to bless others. If we’re prepared to pour out God’s oil of helpfulness every day and everywhere, beginning at home, we’ll minister Christ’s beauty and the oil of joy to many hurting people.

Perhaps the old man with the oil can wasn’t so eccentric after all.

  • Putting It Into Practice
  • Lend a listening ear.
  • Pause to pray specifically.
  • Speak a word of encouragement.

The human spirit can gain new hope from an encouraging word.

By Joanie Yoder

The Lighthouse

Read: Isaiah 61:1–6 

[The Lord bestows] on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning. Isaiah 61:3

By its very existence, a ministry center in Rwanda called the “Lighthouse” symbolizes redemption. It sits on land where during the genocide in 1994 the country’s president owned a grand home. This new structure, however, has been erected by Christians as a beacon of light and hope. Housed there is a Bible institute to raise up a new generation of Christian leaders, along with a hotel, restaurant, and other services for the community. Out of the ashes has come new life. Those who built the Lighthouse look to Jesus as their source of hope and redemption.

When Jesus went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath, He read from the book of Isaiah and announced that He was the Anointed One to proclaim the Lord’s favor (see Luke 4:14–21). He was the One who came to bind up the brokenhearted and offer redemption and forgiveness. In Jesus we see beauty coming from the ashes (Isa. 61:3).

He was the One who came to bind up the brokenhearted and offer redemption and forgiveness.

We find the atrocities of the Rwandan genocide, when intertribal fighting cost more than a half-million lives, mind-boggling and harrowing, and we hardly know what to say about them. And yet we know that the Lord can redeem the atrocities—either here on earth or in heaven. He who bestows the oil of joy instead of mourning gives us hope even in the midst of the darkest of situations.

Lord Jesus Christ, our hearts hurt when we hear about the pain and suffering that some endure. Have mercy, we pray.

Jesus came to bring us hope in the darkest of circumstances.

INSIGHT: Jesus announced His mission by reading from this messianic prophecy in Isaiah 61, a text that clearly anticipated His ministry to the marginalized and hurting (Luke 4:18–19). He offers good news, healing, freedom, release, and joy to supplant the heartaches that inevitably come our way. Jesus went to the cross to deal with the root cause of our brokenness—sin—so that one day we could experience an eternity where “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain” (Rev. 21:4). Jesus-followers can likewise be involved in important ministries of help and encouragement for the hurting. In what ways has Jesus responded to your own hurts and needs? In what ways can you respond to the needs of those around you who are hurting?

By Amy Boucher Pye 

Isaiah 61:4 Then they will rebuild the ancient ruins, They will raise up the former devastations; And they will repair the ruined cities, The desolations of many generations.

  • Isa 49:6-8 Isa 58:12 Eze 36:23-26, Ezek 36:33-36 Am 9:14,15 

The restoration will result in the rebuilding and repairing of many things in the land of Israel. 

ICB - They will rebuild the old ruins. They will build up the places destroyed long ago. They will repair the ruined cities that were destroyed for so long.

THEN: This expression of time should always prompt the question "When?" In this context, this refers to the time of Messiah's return after the day of vengeance, defeating His (and Israel's) enemies and setting up His 1000 year reign of the Messiah as King of kings. And so this next section in Isaiah 61:4-11 describes God's gracious purposes toward the nation of Israel, specifically how He will bless the redeemed of Israel in the future Millennium

Ryrie Study Bible - Isaiah 61:4-11  A description of conditions in the Millennial kingdom.

Spurgeon - In the days to come, Judea shall again be inhabited, and the ruined cities shall be built up once more (Ed: Notice How Spurgeon sees this as speaking of a literal Judea). God will bring back His ancient people, converting them to the true faith (Ed: Not happened yet), and clothing them with glory. As for ourselves, this verse is true in another sense. If we believe in Jesus, that part of us which has been given up to waste shall yet be turned to usefulness, and to God’s praise....When mourning souls find comfort, and captive souls get liberty, they are full of life and full of energy, and they begin to restore what had become wasted and desolate. I warrant you that there is nothing for a church by way of medicine at all equal to pouring new blood into her by new-saved souls. They come among us with their new songs, like the sweet birds in summer, and seem to wake the morning with their gladsome music. They come among us like the dewdrops from the womb of the morning, sparkling in beauty, bearing the dew of their youth. May God send to many old churches that have got to be like old wastes, and some communities that have come to be like desolations — may he send to them these builders — these earnest, loving hearts to build them up.

Some like Alec Motyer (TOTC-Isaiah) interpret this section as a picture of "the return from Babylon to face the task of reconstruction." However Motyer's interpretation simply does not "fit" the facts. When Judah returned from Babylon instead of rebuilding the ancient ruins, they actually procrastinated even in the restoration of the Holy Temple which may have been "new" but was far inferior to Solomon's Temple (cf Hag 1:9). And instead of becoming "priests to the LORD" (Isa 61:6), they actually corrupted the priesthood as is painfully recounted in the post-exilic book of Malachi (cf Malachi 1:6-note). Finally, there is no evidence that the strangers and foreigners worked for Israel (Isa 61:5). Thus Motyer's interpretation discounts the literal facts and the context and thus is clearly to be discounted. There was not even a "partial fulfillment" of the prophecies in Isaiah 61 in Judah's return from Babylon (and only a minority of Jews actually returned but chose the luxuries of Babylon over Zion!)

The rebuilding project in Israel will be dramatic and will bring glory to the LORD. This prophecy repeats an earlier one...

“Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age-old foundations; And you will be called the repairer of the breach, The restorer of the streets in which to dwell." (Isaiah 58:12, cf Isa 49:8, 54:3)

The prophet Amos writes

Also I will restore the captivity of My people Israel (THE LITERAL NATION OF ISRAEL, NOT THE CHURCH IN THIS CONTEXT!), And they will rebuild the ruined cities and live in them; They will also plant vineyards and drink their wine, And make gardens and eat their fruit. I will also plant them on their land, And they will not again be rooted out from their land Which I have given them,” Says the LORD your God.(Amos 9:14,15)

Ezekiel records Jehovah's promise

Thus says the Lord GOD, “On the day that I cleanse you from all your iniquities (Ro 11:26,27-note), I will cause the cities to be inhabited, and the waste places will be rebuilt. 34 “The desolate land will be cultivated instead of being a desolation in the sight of everyone who passes by. 35 “They will say, ‘This desolate land has become like the garden of Eden; and the waste, desolate and ruined cities are fortified and inhabited.’ 36 “Then the (Gentile) nations that are left (SAVED GENTILES WHO ENTER THE MILLENNIUM) round about you will know that I, the LORD, have rebuilt the ruined places and planted that which was desolate; I, the LORD, have spoken and will do it.” (Ezek 36:33-36-note)

They will repair the ruined cities - The Hebrew word repair means to make new and is translated here in the Septuagint (Lxx) with the Greek verb kainizo (the root kainos means  new kind, unprecedented, being not previously present) which means to make brand new, in the sense of new  like nothing before. The cities in Israel in the Millennium will be like nothing that has been seen before in the land! Glorious! 

Repair (restore) (02318)(chadash/hadas) means to make new, to restore, to repair, to renovate or reconstruct ("renew the kingdom" ~ the altar = 1Sa 11:14, restored the altar = 2Chr 15:8, restore the house of Jehovah, the Temple = 2Chr 24:4, 12, surface of the ground = Ps 104:30). The idea is to make like new and implies a restoration of something which has become faded or disintegrated (in David's case in Ps 51:10, this would refer to the effects of unconfessed sin). To begin again.

Chadash is the same word used in Jeremiah where Jehovah makes a promise 

"Behold, days are coming," declares the LORD, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah (Jer 31:31)

Comment - In Isa 61:4 chadash (Lxx - kainizo from kainos) refers to  new cities, whereas in Jeremiah chadash (Lxx = kainos) refers to a new covenant unlike the Mosaic Covenant, which would result in new hearts for the Jews (Ezek 11:19-note, Ezek 36:26, 27-note)! As an aside notice to whom the New Covenant promise is originally given -- Judah and Israel, not the Church! 

Smith - These conditions imply a new era of history, a return to a wonderful life in the land and an expanding population of righteous Hebrews and foreigners.

The desolations of many generations - Literally "generation and generation." The idea of desolations is that of places that of places laid waste and even silent because they are no longer inhabited. Such was the land of Israel after her defeat by Babylon and as will occur when the Antichrist ("the desolator") lays the land waste (cf "one who makes desolate" in Da 9:27-note). This desolation began with the Babylonian exile and has continued throughout the centuries over many generations, which makes these passages on restoration all the more striking. 

Desolations (be desolate, appalled, astonished) (08074) (shamen/samen) "to be desolate, astonished, appalled, devastated, ravaged."  The first 6 uses of shamen describe the curses that will come on the land of Israel because of her unfaithfulness in breaking covenant with Jehovah (Lev 26:22, 31, 32, 34, 35, 43). The previously appalling scene will be supernaturally transformed and God will be glorified, for all will know that it was He Alone Who could have accomplished such a miraculous feat!

Matthew Henry - Isaiah 61:4-9. Promises are here made to the Jews returned out of captivity, which extend to all those who, through grace, are delivered out of spiritual thraldom. An unholy soul is like a city that is broken down, and has no walls, like a house in ruins; but by the power of Christ's Gospel and grace, it is fitted to be a habitation of God, through the Spirit. When, by the grace of God, we attain to holy indifference as to the affairs of this world; when, though our hands are employed about them, our hearts are not entangled with them, but preserved entire for God and His service, then the sons of the alien are our ploughmen and vine-dressers. Those whom He sets at liberty, he sets to work. His service is perfect freedom; it is the greatest honour. 

Isaiah 61:5 Strangers will stand and pasture your flocks, And foreigners will be your farmers and your vinedressers.

  • Isa 14:1,2 Isa 60:10-14 Eph 2:12-20 

ICB - My people, foreigners will come to tend your sheep. People from other countries will tend your vineyards.

 Israel was not intended to be slaves and servants but to be rulers and leaders. The restoration will include this change of position for the Jews.

Strangers...foreigners - Speaks of the saved Gentiles who enter the Millennial Kingdom. Those who once were Israel's staunch enemies will now be her supporters, a miracle that only Jehovah could have brought about! - The Gentiles will work gladly and voluntarily and not out of compulsion as the Gibeonites who were forced to perform menial offices (Josh 9:21–27). 

Gary Smith on Strangers...foreigners - Isaiah 60:3-16 describe some of the foreigners who will come with gifts and sacrifices to give to God. Once these people have arrived and have worshipped the Lord (Isa 56:3-7; 60:7), not all of them will immediately return to their homelands (Isa 66:18-20), but some will assist the Hebrews by shepherding their sheep, plowing their fields, and dressing their vineyards. This describes a reversal of roles in the past. Earlier the Israelites had worked their land and cared for their flocks in order to pay the heavy taxes that foreign nations demanded of them, but in the future these foreigners "will stand" (ʿāmdû) before the Israelites, waiting and ready to help them in any way they can. There is no indication that this involves any kind of forced labor or revenge against the nation; rather, one should assume that this service will be done out of gratitude, thankfulness, and cooperation."(Ibid)

Motyer - ‘Stand’ suggests taking responsibility and exercising oversight as well as continuing in the work. (The Prophecy of Isaiah)

Isaiah 60 describes this future glorious day in the Land of Israel...

“Foreigners (Gentiles) will build up your walls, And their kings will minister to you; For in My wrath I struck you, And in My favor I have had compassion on you.  11 “Your gates will be open continually; They will not be closed day or night, So that men may bring to you the wealth of the nations, With their kings led in procession.  12 “For the (Gentile) nation and the kingdom which will not serve you will perish, And the nations will be utterly ruined.  13 “The glory of Lebanon will come to you, The juniper, the box tree and the cypress together, To beautify the place of My sanctuary; And I shall make the place of My feet glorious.  14 “The sons of those who afflicted you (Gentiles) will come bowing to you, And all those who despised you will bow themselves at the soles of your feet; And they will call you the city of the LORD, The Zion of the Holy One of Israel. (Isa 60:10-14)

Isaiah 61:6 But you will be called the priests of the LORD; You will be spoken of as ministers of our God. You will eat the wealth of nations, And in their riches you will boast

  • called: Isa 60:17 66:21 Ex 19:6 Ro 12:1 1Pe 2:5,9 Rev 1:6 5:10 20:6, called, Eze 14:11 1Co 3:5 4:1 2Co 6:4 11:23 Eph 4:11,12 
  • will eat: Isa 23:18 60:5-7,10,11,16 66:12 Ac 11:28-30 Ro 15:26,27

LXE  But ye shall be called priests of the Lord, the ministers of God: ye shall eat the strength of nations, and shall be admired because of their wealth. 

Septuagint-NETS - but you shall be called priests of the Lord, ministers of God; you shall devour the strength of nations, and with their wealth you shall be admired. 

ICB You will be called priests of the Lord. You will be named the servants of our God. You will have riches from all the nations on earth. And you will take pride in them.

KJV  I But ye shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God: ye shall eat the riches of the Gentiles, and in their glory shall ye boast yourselves.

ESV   but you shall be called the priests of the LORD; they shall speak of you as the ministers of our God; you shall eat the wealth of the nations, and in their glory you shall boast.

NLT  You will be called priests of the LORD, ministers of our God. You will feed on the treasures of the nations and boast in their riches.

NET  You will be called, 'the LORD's priests, servants of our God.' You will enjoy the wealth of nations and boast about the riches you receive from them. 


To what prophecy am I referring? To the prophetic promise Yahweh bestowed on the fledgling nation of Israel through His mediator Moses at the foot of the Mountain of God, Mount Sinai (Horeb). Moses records the promise...

Now then, IF you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, THEN you shall be My own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’  (Exodus 19:5-6+)

Comment - Note it was a conditional promise and for the most part the conditions were not met by the nation. But even though Israel as a nation did not obey His voice in the past, she will obey His voice in the future, for God Himself will give her a new heart (Ezek 36:26+, cf Jeremiah 31:31-34+) that will obey and His Spirit to enable them to obey (Ezek 36:27+).

But - term of contrast should always prompt the question "What is being contrasted?" Before Israel had been despised and denigrated by the nations. In this future day they will be privileged as priests and ministers to God.

Who is you? The Jews who are declared righteous (cf "oaks of righteousness" Isa 61:3) by grace through faith in the Messiah .

Priests of the LORD...ministers of our God - Notice the repetition. Clearly Israel's focus in the Millennium will be on Jehovah their God through the new covenant (cf " I will be their God, and they shall be My people" = Jer 31:33+

Spurgeon - For all things are of God, and all things are yours through Jesus Christ. In that same day in which the Lord comforts mourners and binds up their broken hearts, he gives them (ISRAEL) to enter into a sacred priesthood, in which they walk among the sons men as God’s peculiar people — honoured above all the rest of mankind. Oh! the distinctions which distinguishing grace makes! How it lifts the poor from the dunghill and setteth him among princes, even the princes of his people! Christ has done great things, indeed, for us, for though we were as beggars, behold he hath made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign for ever and ever.

Although many modern writers foolishly and falsely believe that Jehovah is through with His treasured possession, they too will witness God's outpouring of mercy, grace and love on the nation of Israel in the last 3.5 years of this present evil age (Gal 1:4+), when the nation (1/3 of the nation = Zech 13:8-9+) will confess Yeshua as their Messiah and Redeemer (Zech 12:10-14+, Zech 13:1+, Ro 11:26-27+ , et al). In that glorious future day Isaiah says that the truth of Exodus 19:6 will finally, fully, be fulfilled (Hallelujah!)

You will be called the priests of the LORD: The privilege Israel had forfeited by disobedience will be fulfilled by grace under the New Covenant. Israel will have the great spiritual privileges in their restoration, and spiritual privilege is the greatest privilege of all. Israel will finally be a nation of priests of Jehovah, which is what she was always meant to be. And for all Gentiles who have been grafted in by grace through faith (Ro 11:19, 20+), we too have the high privilege as holy priests of Jehovah. 

Exodus speaks of Israel's high calling in the Old Testament, a calling she forfeited but which will be restored in the Millennium...

Exodus 19:6  and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the sons of Israel.” 

Pulpit Commentary - Had they risen to the height of their calling when our Lord and His disciples offered them salvation before offering it to the Gentiles, they might have “been in the midst of the heathen who had entered into the congregation of Jehovah and become the people of God, what the Aaronites formerly were in the midst of Israel itself” (Delitzsch).

Today for all believers we have a high and holy calling

You also (Peter is speaking to those who are born again - 1 Pe 1:3+), as living stones, are being built up as a spiritual house for a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ....But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION (LIKE ISRAEL WILL BE IN THE Millennium), A PEOPLE FOR God’s OWN POSSESSION, so that (NOTE YOUR PURPOSE BELOVED - ARE YOU FULFILLING YOUR PURPOSE DURING THIS SHORT TIME ON EARTH? MAY GOD BY HIS SPIRIT EMPOWER AND EMBOLDEN YOU TO FULFILL HIS PURPOSE FOR YOU FOR HIS GLORY AND THROUGH HIS SON. AMEN) you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:5,9+)

and He (JESUS) has made us to be a kingdom, priests to His God and Father–to Him be the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen. (Rev 1:6+)

"You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth." (Rev 5:10-note)

Blessed and holy is the one who has a part in the first resurrection (ALL BELIEVERS!); over these the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with Him for a thousand years. (Rev 20:6-note)

Matthew Henry - All believers are made to our God, kings and priests; and always ought to conduct themselves as such. Those who have the Lord for their portion, have reason to say, that they have worthy portion, and to rejoice in it. 

You will be spoken of as ministers of our God -  The Septuagint uses leitourgos to translate ministers which was a word used by to the Septuagint to primarily to describe the Old Testament priestly service to God and of service to man. In the NT leitourgos was used to describe one who carried out God's will by serving others. 

Gary Smith on priests...ministers -  They (Israel) will have a spiritual role of ministering to the nations; thus, the nations will recognize the special status of those who were used by God to bring knowledge of the truth to these nations. As priests the Israelites mediate the riches of God's blessings to the (Gentile) nations, so it is not surprising that the nations will joyfully share their riches to supply the material needs (the food to eat) of those who minister to them. In the past the Israelites supplied food for the priest, but now the foreign nations will provide food for the Israelites who will then be considered priests of God. (New American Commentary – Isaiah 40-66: Volume 15b)

W E Vine - They (Israel) themselves will be what the Lord designed them to be from the beginning, “a kingdom of priests” (Ex. 19:6+). Accordingly in this high service they will be, from the earthly point of view, associated with the Church in its priestly ministry (1 Peter 2:5,9+). Not only so, the Gentile nations will recognize them as acting in this capacity and will acknowledge the God of Israel as the true God. All the Gentile powers who have in past periods used the world for their self-enrichment, will become the possession of His people, who will “eat the wealth of the nations.” All that the Gentiles boasted in, glorying in their development and prowess and in the objects to which they devoted the products and deposits of the earth, will be bestowed upon Israel under the benign and firm administration of Christ (in the Millennium). This whole subject is described by the apostle Paul in Romans 11:12-32+ ("Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!") If their fall and their present loss has meant the riches of the Gentiles through Gospel grace and ministry, still greater will be the effect of their fullness, that is, the full national prosperity of Israel. “From the standpoint of the Gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint of God's choice [ELECTION - the predestining counsel of God concerning them] they are beloved for the sake of the fathers." (Ro 11:28+) (Collected Writings of W E Vine)

You will eat the wealth of nations (Gentiles), And in their riches you will boast: Boast in the Septuagint is thaumazo which means to marvel, wonder, be astonished. Thaumazo is the human response when confronted by divine revelation in some form. Thaumazo is used in Hab 1:5+ “Look among the nations! Observe! Be astonished (thaumazo)! Wonder! Because I am doing something in your days– You would not believe if you were told."

Butler writes "The Jews will be provided for by the wealth of the Gentiles. God’s cupboards are often in strange places but His provisions are always adequate. The restoration will bless Israel with great provisions."

Caveat Emptor - Although I have a few quotes from the Pulpit Commentary (because the quotes are "spot on" as the Brits would say), this does not signify that I endorse all of their comments. For example, on the statement You will eat the wealth of nations, the Pulpit Commentary writes "The Gentiles, when they came in, would freely offer to the Church of their substance." Isaiah is NOT addressing the Church here but the redeemed in the literal Nation of Israel, thus the Pulpit Commentary is very misleading. In fact the PC has the word "Church" some 827 times in the book of Isaiah despite the fact that the "Church" is not found once in a literal reading of this prophecy. So "Be a Berean!" (Acts 17:11+) and don't replace the literal nation of Israel with the New Testament Church! (see resources below).

Related Resources:

Riches is actually kabod which means glory, so that in their riches is literally in their glory.

Spurgeon - Faith's Checkbook   “Ye shall be named the priests of the Lord.”Isa. 61:6.

THIS literal promise to Israel belongs spiritually to the seed after the Spirit, namely, to all believers. If we live up to our privileges, we shall live unto God so clearly and distinctly that men shall see that we are set apart for holy service, and shall name us the priests of the Lord. We may work, or trade, as others do, and yet we may be solely and wholly the ministering servants of God. Our one occupation shall be to present the perpetual sacrifice of prayer, and praise, and testimony, and self-consecration, to the living God by Jesus Christ.

This being our one aim, we may leave distracting concerns to those who have no higher calling. “Let the dead bury their dead.” It is written, “Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, and the sons of the alien shall be your plowmen and your vine-dressers.” They may manage politics, puzzle out financial problems, discuss science, and settle the last new quibbles of criticism; but we will give ourselves unto such service as becomes those who, like the Lord Jesus, are ordained to a perpetual priesthood.

Accepting this honourable promise as involving a sacred duty, let us put on the vestments of holiness, and minister before the Lord all day long.

The Ministry of Intercession - Andrew Murray

  An holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5)
  Ye shall be named the Priests of the Lord (Isa. 61:6)

“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me: because the Lord hath anointed me.” These are the words of Jesus in Isaiah. As the fruit of His work all redeemed ones are priests, fellow-partakers with Him of His anointing with the Spirit as High Priest. “Like the precious ointment upon the beard of Aaron, that went down to the skirts of his garments.” As every son of Aaron, so every member of Jesus’ body has a right to the priesthood. But not every one exercises it: many are still entirely ignorant of it. And yet it is the highest privilege of a child of God, the mark of greatest nearness and likeness to Him, “who ever liveth to pray.” Do you doubt if this really be so? Think of what constitutes priesthood.

The Work of the Priesthood

This has two sides, one Godward, the other manward. “Every priest is ordained for men in things pertaining to God” (Heb. 5:1); or, as it is said by Moses (Deut. 10:8, see also 21:5, 33:10; Mal. 2:6): “The Lord separated the tribe of Levi, to stand before the Lord to minister unto Him, and to bless His Name.” On the one hand, the priest had the power to draw nigh to God, to dwell with Him in His house, and to present before Him the blood of the sacrifice or the burning incense. This work he did not do, however, on his own behalf, but for the sake of the people whose representative he was. This is the other side of his work. He received from the people their sacrifices, presented them before God, and then came out to bless in His name, to give the assurance of His favor and to teach them His law.
A priest is thus a man who does not at all live for himself. He lives with God and for God. His work is as God’s servant to care for His house, His honor, and His worship, to make known to men His love and His will. He lives with men and for men (Heb. 5:2). His work is to find out their sin and need, and to bring it before God, to offer sacrifice and incense in their name, to obtain forgiveness and blessing for them, and then to come out and bless them in His name. This is the high calling of every believer. “Such honor have all His saints.” They have been redeemed with the one purpose to be in the midst of the perishing millions around them God’s priests, who in conformity to Jesus, the Great High Priest, are to be the ministers and stewards of the grace of God to all around them.

The Walk of the Priesthood

As God is holy, so the priest was to be especially holy. This means not only separated from everything unclean, but holy unto God, being set apart and given up to God for His disposal. The separation from the world and setting apart unto God was indicated in many ways.
It was seen in the clothing: the holy garments, made after God’s own order, marked them as His (Ex. 27). It was seen in the command as to their special purity and freedom from all contact from death and defilement (Lev. 21:22). Much that was allowed to an ordinary Israelite was forbidden to them. It was seen in the injunction that the priest must have no bodily defect or blemish; bodily perfection was to be the type of wholeness and holiness in God’s service. And it was seen in the arrangement by which the priestly tribes were to have no inheritance with the other tribes; God was to be their inheritance. Their life was to be one of faith: set apart unto God, they were to live on Him as well as for Him.
All this is the emblem of what the character of the New Testament priest is to be. Our priestly power with God depends on our personal life and walk. We must be of them of whose walk on earth Jesus says, “They have not defiled their garments.”
In the surrender of what may appear lawful to others in our separation from the world, we must prove that our consecration to be holy to the Lord is whole-hearted and entire. The bodily perfection of the priest must have its counterpart in our too being “without spot or blemish”; “the man of God perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works,” “perfect and entire, wanting nothing” (Lev. 21:17–21; Eph. 5:27; 2 Tim. 2:7; James 1:4). And above all, we consent to give up all inheritance on earth; to forsake all, and like Christ to have only God as our portion: to possess as not possessing, and hold all for God alone; it is this marks the true priest, the man who only lives for God and his fellow-men.

The Way to the Priesthood

In Aaron God had chosen all his sons to be priests: each of them was a priest by birth. And yet he could not enter upon his work without a special act of ordinance—his consecration. Every child of God is priest in right of his birth, his blood relationship to the Great High Priest; but this is not enough: he will exercise his power only as he accepts and realizes his consecration.
With Aaron and his sons it took place thus (Ex. 29): After being washed and clothed, they were anointed with the holy oil. Sacrifices were then offered, and with the blood the right ear, the right hand, and the right foot were touched. And then they and their garments were once again sprinkled with the blood and the oil together. And so it is as the child of God enters more fully into what THE BLOOD and THE SPIRIT of which he already is partaker, are to him, that the power of the holy priesthood will work in him. The blood will take away all sense of unworthiness; the Spirit, all sense of unfitness.
Let us notice what there was new in the application of the blood to the priest. If ever he had as a penitent brought a sacrifice for his sin, seeking forgiveness, the blood was sprinkled on the altar, but not on his person. But now, for priestly consecration, there was to be closer contact with the blood; ear and hand and foot were by a special act brought under its power, and the whole being taken possession of and sanctified for God. And so, when the believer, who had been content to think chiefly of the blood sprinkled on the mercy-seat as what he needs for pardon, is led to seek full priestly access to God, he feels the need of a fuller and more abiding experience of the power of the blood, as really sprinkling and cleansing the heart from an evil conscience so that he has “no more conscience of sin” (Heb. 10:2), as cleansing from all sin. And it is as he gets to enjoy this, that the consciousness is awakened of his wonderful right of most intimate access to God, and of the full assurance that his intercessions are acceptable.
And as the blood gives the right, the Spirit gives the power, and fits for believing intercession. He breathes into us the priestly spirit—burning love for God’s honor and the saving of souls. He makes us so one with Jesus that prayer in His Name is a reality. He strengthens us to believing, importunate prayer. The more the Christian is truly filled with the Spirit of Christ, the more spontaneous will be his giving himself up to the life of priestly intercession. Beloved fellow-Christians! God needs, greatly needs, priests who can draw near to Him, who live in His presence, and by their intercession draw down the blessings of His grace on others. And the world needs, greatly needs, priests who will bear the burden of the perishing ones, and intercede on their behalf.
Are you willing to offer yourself for this holy work? You know the surrender it demands—nothing less than the Christ-like giving up of all, that the saving purposes of God’s love may be accomplished among men. Oh, be no longer of those who are content if they have salvation, and just do work enough to keep themselves warm and lively. O let nothing keep you back from giving yourselves to be wholly and only priests—nothing else, nothing less than the priests of the Most High God. The thought of unworthiness, of unfitness, need not keep you back.
In the Blood, the objective power of the perfect redemption works in you: in the Spirit, its full subjective personal experience as a divine life is secured. The Blood provides an infinite worthiness to make your prayers most acceptable: The Spirit provides a divine fitness, teaching you to pray just according to the will of God. Every priest knew that when he presented a sacrifice according to the law of the sanctuary, it was accepted: under the covering of the Blood and Spirit you have the assurance that all the wonderful promises to prayer in the name of Jesus will be fulfilled in you.
Abiding in union with the Great High Priest, “you shall ask what you will, and it shall be done unto you.” You will have power to pray the effectual prayer of the righteous man that availeth much. You will not only join in the general prayer of the church for the world, but be able in your own sphere to take up your special work in prayer—as priests, to transact it with God, to receive and know the answer, and so to bless in His name. Come, brother, come, and be a priest, only priest, all priest. Seek now to walk before the Lord in the full consciousness that you have been set apart for the holy ministry of intercession. This is the true blessedness of conformity to the image of God’s Son.

“Lord, Teach Us to Pray”

O Thou my blessed High Priest, accept the consecration in which my soul now would respond to Thy message.
I believe in the HOLY PRIESTHOOD OF THY SAINTS, and that I too am a priest, with power to appear before the Father, and in the prayer that avails much bring down blessing on the perishing around me.
I believe in the POWER OF THY PRECIOUS BLOOD to cleanse from all sin, to give me perfect confidence toward God, and bring me near in the full assurance of faith that my intercession will be heard.
I believe in the ANOINTING OF THE SPIRIT, coming down daily from Thee, my Great High Priest, to sanctify me, to fill me with the consciousness of my priestly calling, and with love to souls, to teach me what is according to God’s will, and how to pray the prayer of faith.
I believe that, as Thou my Lord Jesus art Thyself in all things my life, so Thou, too, art THE SURETY FOR MY PRAYER-LIFE, and wilt Thyself draw me up into the fellowship of Thy wondrous work of intercession.
In this faith I yield myself this day to my God, as one of His anointed priests, to stand before His face to intercede in behalf of sinners, and to come out and bless in His name.
Holy Lord Jesus! accept and seal my consecration. Yea, Lord, do Thou lay Thy hands on me, and Thyself consecrate me to this Thy holy work. And let me walk among men with the consciousness and the character of a priest of the Most High God.
Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins IN HIS OWN BLOOD, AND HATH MADE US kings and priests unto God and His Father; TO HIM be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Isaiah 61:7 Instead of your shame you will have a double portion, And instead of humiliation they will shout for joy over their portion. Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land, Everlasting joy will be theirs

  • your shame: Isa 40:2 Dt 21:17 2Ki 2:9 Job 42:10 Zec 9:12, 2 Co 4:17 
  • everlasting: Isa 35:10 51:11 60:19,20 Ps 16:11 Mt 25:46 2 Th 2:16 

ICB - Instead of being ashamed, you will receive twice as much wealth. Instead of being disgraced, you will be happy because of what you receive. You will receive a double share of the land. So your happiness will continue forever.

LXE  Thus shall they inherit the land a second time, and everlasting joy shall be upon their head. 

NET Instead of shame, you will get a double portion; instead of humiliation, they will rejoice over the land they receive. Yes, they will possess a double portion in their land and experience lasting joy.

KJV  For your shame ye shall have double; and for confusion they shall rejoice in their portion: therefore in their land they shall possess the double: everlasting joy shall be unto them. 

ESV  Instead of your shame there shall be a double portion; instead of dishonor they shall rejoice in their lot; therefore in their land they shall possess a double portion; they shall have everlasting joy.

NLT  Instead of shame and dishonor, you will enjoy a double share of honor. You will possess a double portion of prosperity in your land, and everlasting joy will be yours.

CSB  Because your shame was double, and they cried out, "Disgrace is their portion," therefore, they will possess double in their land, and eternal joy will be theirs.

NIV  Instead of their shame my people will receive a double portion, and instead of disgrace they will rejoice in their inheritance; and so they will inherit a double portion in their land, and everlasting joy will be theirs.

NAB  Since their shame was double and disgrace and spittle were their portion, They shall have a double inheritance in their land, everlasting joy shall be theirs.

NJB To make up for your shame, you will receive double; instead of disgrace, shouts of joy will be their lot; yes, they will have a double portion in their country and everlasting joy will be theirs.

GWN  You will receive a double measure of wealth instead of your shame. You will sing about your wealth instead of being disgraced. That is why you will have a double measure of wealth in your land. You will have everlasting joy.

YLT  Instead of your shame and confusion, A second time they sing of their portion, Therefore in their land A second time do they take possession, Joy age-during is for them.

BHT   tahat boštekem mišnè ûkülimmâ yärönnû helqäm läkën bearsäm mišnè yîräšû simhat `ôläm tihyè lähem

BBE  As they had twice as much grief, and marks of shame were their heritage, so in their land they will be rewarded twice over, and will have eternal joy.

NIRV  Instead of being put to shame my people will receive a double share of wealth. Instead of being dishonored they will be glad to be in their land. They will receive a double share of riches there. And they'll be filled with joy that will last forever.


Instead of your shame you will have a double portion: Portion is added by the NAS translators. Israel would be treated like the firstborn son in ancient times, Moses recording the double portion of blessing on the firstborn son...

“But he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; to him belongs the right of the firstborn. (Dt 21:17)

Indeed, Israel is God's "firstborn son" for as He instructed Moses...

“Then you shall say to Pharaoh, ‘Thus says the LORD, “Israel is My son, My firstborn. (Ex 4:22)

Double...double - This is double in a positive sense, amply, fully, abundantly. Earlier in Isaiah double was used in a negative sense so that now in Isa 61:7 double blessing which is accompanied everlasting joy would replace Israel's prior double punishment accompanied by transient shame and humiliation! How forgiving and magnanimous is our great God!

“Speak kindly (literally “speak to the heart") to Jerusalem; And call out to her, that her warfare has ended, That her iniquity has been removed, That she has received of the LORD’S hand Double for all her sins.” (Isa 40:2)

Comment - The Septuagint (Lxx) translates "has been removed" with the verb luo which has a basic meaning to to loose, as when freeing someone literally bound and figuratively speaks of freeing one bound by a legal obligation (which is what sin does - Ro 6:23-note, cf "Sin" as Master in Ro 6:13-14-note), and is the verb used by John when he wrote Jesus has "released (luo) us from our sins by His blood." (Rev 1:5-note) Here in Isa 61:7 luo is in the perfect tense which speaks of a permanent release from bondage to sins. Indeed such is true for all Israel who enter the New Covenant (cf "I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” = Jer 31:34-note) when the Messiah returns (cf Ro 11:26-27-note).

MacArthur - Cruel slaughter and captivity at the hands of the Babylonians were sufficient payment for past sins; so someday after worldwide dispersion, Israel will return to her land in peace and in the glory of Messiah’s kingdom.

HCSB Note - That the people had received double punishment is a way of saying that their sentence was fully satisfied before God.

KJV Bible Commentary - The Hebrew word double is misheneh, which refers to a doubling or a repetition. This signifies the extent of God’s blessings that would be manifold; they would be duplicated....the only legitimate interpretation is that all of these promises will be finally fulfilled during the millennial reign of Christ. 

Shame (01322)(bosheth from bosh = to be ashamed) means shame and disgrace. Shame a painful emotion resulting from an awareness of having done something dishonorable, unworthy, degrading, etc. Ezra recognized Israel's guilt before God Who had given them "to open shame." (Ezra 9:7) Motyer says "Shame is more than embarrassment and includes ‘reaping shame’, being disappointed of hope and exposed as fraudulent."

Shame in the general moral sense of "disgrace" is indicated in 1 Sa 20:30; 2 Chr. 32:21; Ezra 9:7; Ps. 40:15; Isa. 30:5; Jer. 3:25. Boshet is also used in the expression "to put to shame," involving divine judgment on the enemies of God's people (Ps 109:29; 132:18). In addition, the expression "to know no shame" is noted in Zeph. 3:5, referring to the hardened consciences of the wicked.

Baker on bosheth - A feminine noun denoting shame, humiliation, disgrace. The word depicts the feelings of guilt, disgrace, and embarrassment persons experience because of unfortunate acts or words committed (1 Sam. 20:30; 2 Chr. 32:21). Humiliation and disgrace was brought on God's people through the exile at the hands of Babylon (Ezra 9:7), but He could also bring shame on one's enemies (Job 8:22). Used with its related verb bôš, it could express deep shame (Isa. 42:17); with the word face following, it could express a face of shame (2 Chr. 32:21; Ezra 9:7; Jer. 7:19; Da 9:7, 8) meaning their "own shame." To be clothed with shame is a figurative expression of the psalmist (Ps. 35:26; 132:18). The phrase "shame of your youth" (Isa. 54:4) refers to Israel's early indiscretions. The biblical authors would sometimes substitute this word for the word baʿal in a person's name, emphasizing the shame of ever recognizing such a pagan god (2 Sam. 2:8; Judg. 6:32). In other places and ways, it replaces the word baʿal that became so closely attached to the gods of Canaan (Jer. 3:24; cf. 11:13; Hos. 9:10). (Complete Word Study Dictionary – Old Testament)

Bosheth - 27v - Usage: humiliation*(1), shame(21), shame*(2), shameful(1), shameful thing(3).

1 Sam. 20:30; 2 Chr. 32:21; Ezr. 9:7; Job 8:22; Ps. 35:26; Ps. 40:15; Ps. 44:15; Ps. 69:19; Ps. 70:3; Ps. 109:29; Ps. 132:18; Isa. 30:3; Isa. 30:5; Isa. 54:4; Isa. 61:7; Jer. 3:24; Jer. 3:25; Jer. 7:19; Jer. 11:13; Jer. 20:18; Dan. 9:7; Dan. 9:8; Hos. 9:10; Mic. 1:11; Hab. 2:10; Zeph. 3:5; Zeph. 3:19

Humiliation (03639)(kelimmah from kalam = sense of disgrace which attends public humiliation) means insult, reproach, ignominy. KJV translates kelimmah here as "confusion."

In a parallel prophecy to Israel in Ezekiel Jehovah promises...

They will forget their disgrace (kelimmah) and all their treachery which they perpetrated against Me, when they live securely on their own land (in the Millennium) with no one to make them afraid. (Ezekiel 39:26-note

Therefore they will possess a double portion in their land - Take possession. The Septuagint (Lxx) translation of Isa 61:7 is interesting for it speaks solely of the Land  "Thus shall they inherit the land a second time."

W E Vine comments "They will have, so to speak, a double possession in their land, which will be extended far beyond its former confines. Whereas formerly they were in confusion (Ed: One of the meanings of kelimmah), the objects of reproach and contempt, they will be filled with exceeding and unending joy. There will be altogether a double compensation for their former sufferings." (Collected Writings)

Everlasting joy will be theirs - Yes, everlasting joy will the eternal possession of all of the redeemed in Israel, but beloved believer this truth is also one for believing Gentiles, for all the ages to come. Hallelujah! Just pause for a moment and ask the Spirit to expand your thoughts regarding the incredible phrase "Everlasting Joy!" O my. What a future. O my, what a giving God! Amen

Everlasting joy - 3x in Scripture, all in Isaiah - Isaiah 35:10, Isaiah 51:11, Isaiah 61:7. 

Isaiah 61:8 For I, the LORD, love justice, I hate robbery in the burnt offering; And I will faithfully give them their recompense And make an everlasting covenant with them.

  • I the Lord: Ps 11:7 33:5 37:28 45:7 99:4 Jer 9:24 Zec 8:16,17 
  • I hate: Isa 1:11-13 1Sa 15:21-24 Jer 7:8-11 Am 5:21-24 Mt 23:14 
  • I will faithfully give them Ps 25:8-12 32:8 Pr 3:6 8:20 2Th 3:5 
  • And make an everlasting covenant with them. Isa 55:3 Ge 17:7 2Sa 23:5 Ps 50:5 Jer 32:40 Heb 13:20,21 

NET  For I, the LORD, love justice and hate robbery and sin. I will repay them because of my faithfulness; I will make a permanent covenant with them.

KJV  For I the LORD love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

ESV  For I the LORD love justice; I hate robbery and wrong; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.

For - Notice that all (or most of them) the versions begin with the preposition "for" which in this context is a term of explanation and begs the question "What is this verse explaining?" I agree with Vine's comment below that the "for" basically explains the preceding blessings (Isa 61:6-7). They can be counted on because of Jehovah's character - loves justice, hates robbery, faithful. 

W E Vine - The Lord makes known that in all this blessing His own character will be vindicated. He declares that He loves judgment and hates robbery with iniquity (R.V.), referring to the cruel treatment which Israel had sustained from their adversaries. In direct contrast to this He will give them their recompense in truth and make an everlasting covenant with them, with the result that they will be recognized among the nations as those whom the Lord has blessed—a complete reversal of present conditions.

Butler - The restoration will be done righteously. God does not cheat, lie, etc. in order to do His work. He loves justice, equity, and truth. Many rulers in our world seem to love evil not good. The restoration will promote righteousness. In the restoration, God will make a treaty with Israel which will be for Israel’s benefit. And God does not break His Word—the promises are everlasting.

Gary Smith - Love is a choice of the will that God makes; it is his choice to be emotionally involved by displaying his deep commitment to his people and to show his approval of a specific kind of favored action. God's choice to love just action is evident in all his behavior; it is central to his command that the Israelites should "maintain justice" (Isa 56:1) and His advice to avoid injustice (Isa 58:6; 59:4, 8, 14, 15). When "justice and salvation/righteousness" are used of God's activity, justice can take on the meaning of "saving justice" or God's "just saving deeds" (Isa 59:11, 14), but when it refers to human acts of justice, it refers to moral behavior that treats other people with equity and fairness. In order to emphasize the point, God states that he hates (the opposite of loves) human actions that involve unjust taking of things that belong to others as well as all other acts of "iniquity." (New American Commentary – Isaiah 40-66: Volume 15b)

Justice (04941)(mishpat/mispat from shaphat = to judge, govern) is a masculine noun which "has two main senses; the first deals with the act of sitting as a judge, hearing a case, and rendering a proper verdict. Eccl. 12:14 is one such occurrence. Mishpat can also refer to the “rights” belonging to someone (Ex 23:6). This second sense carries several nuances: the sphere in which things are in proper relationship to one’s claims (Ge 18:19—first occurrence); a judicial verdict (Dt. 17:9); the statement of the case for the accused (Nu 27:5); and an established ordinance (Ex 21:1).  (Vine's Expository Dictionary

The Septuagint (Lxx) translates mishpat here with the noun dikaiosune the NT word for righteousness, which is is rightness of character before God and rightness of actions before men. Righteousness of God could be succinctly stated as all that God is, all that He commands, all that He demands, all that He approves, all that He provides through Christ. In the uses of mishpat, justice is frequently mentioned with righteousness in the same passage.

ESV Study Bible Note - Justice is much more than legal equity; it refers to the entire scope of God’s government of his world. Thus, to “do justice” (Mic 6:8-note) involves, on the part of government, a fair and just use of power and proper functioning of a fair judicial system, especially to protect the weak from the strong. On the part of individuals, “justice” involves honest and fair business dealings and faithfulness to keep one’s word, as well as not taking advantage of the poor or those with less power or protection.

Misphat is a key word in the Prophecy of Isaiah  and is translated justice in the following passages

Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good;Seek justice; Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.

Isaiah 1:21 How the faithful city has become a harlot, She who was full of justice! Righteousness once lodged in her, But now murderers.

Isaiah 1:27 Zion will be redeemed with justice And her repentant ones with righteousness.

Isaiah 5:7 For the vineyard of the LORD of hosts is the house of Israel And the men of Judah His delightful plant. Thus He looked for justice, but behold, bloodshed; For righteousness, but behold, a cry of distress

Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore *. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

Isaiah 10:2 So as to deprive the needy of justice And rob the poor of My people of their rights, So that widows may be their spoil And that they may plunder the orphans.

Isaiah 16:5 A throne will even be established in lovingkindness, And a judge will sit on it in faithfulness in the tent of David; Moreover, he will seek justice And be prompt in righteousness.

Isaiah 28:6 A spirit of justice for him who sits in judgment, A strength to those who repel the onslaught at the gate.

Isaiah 28:17 "I will make justice the measuring line And righteousness the level; Then hail will sweep away the refuge of lies And the waters will overflow the secret place

Isaiah 30:18 Therefore the LORD longs to be gracious to you, And therefore He waits on high to have compassion on you. For the LORD is a God of justice; How blessed are all those who long for Him.

Isaiah 32:1 Behold, a king will reign righteously And princes will rule justly.

Isaiah 32:16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness And righteousness will abide in the fertile field

Isaiah 33:5 The LORD is exalted, for He dwells on high; He has filled Zion with justice and righteousness

Isaiah 40:14 With whom did He consult and who gave Him understanding And who taught Him in the path of justice and taught Him knowledge And informed Him of the way of understanding?

Isaiah 40:27 Why do you say, O Jacob, and assert, O Israel, "My way is hidden from the LORD, And the justice due me escapes the notice of my God"?

Isaiah 42:1 "Behold, My Servant (MESSIAH), whom I uphold; My chosen one in whom My soul delights. I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the nations.

Isaiah 42:3 "A bruised reed He (MESSIAH) will not break And a dimly burning wick He will not extinguish; He will faithfully bring forth justice.

Isaiah 42:4 "He (MESSIAH) will not be disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."

Isaiah 49:4 But I said, "I have toiled in vain, I have spent My strength for nothing and vanity; Yet surely the justice due to Me is with the LORD, And My reward with My God."

Isaiah 51:4 "Pay attention to Me, O My people, And give ear to Me, O My nation; For a law will go forth from Me, And I will set My justice for a light of the peoples.

Isaiah 56:1 Thus says the LORD, "Preserve justice and do righteousness, For My salvation is about to come And My righteousness to be revealed.

Isaiah 59:8 They do not know the way of peace, And there is no justice in their tracks; They have made their paths crooked, Whoever treads on them does not know peace.

Isaiah 59:9 Therefore * justice is far from us, And righteousness does not overtake us; We hope for light, but behold, darkness, For brightness, but we walk in gloom.

Isaiah 59:11 All of us growl like bears, And moan sadly like doves; We hope for justice, but there is none For salvation, but it is far from us.

Isaiah 59:14 Justice is turned back, And righteousness stands far away; For truth has stumbled in the street, And uprightness cannot * enter.

Isaiah 59:15 Yes, truth is lacking; And he who turns aside from evil makes himself a prey Now the LORD saw, And it was displeasing in His sight that there was no justice.

All 40 uses of Misphat in Isaiah - Isa. 1:17; Isa. 1:21; Isa. 1:27; Isa. 3:14; Isa. 4:4; Isa. 5:7; Isa. 5:16; Isa. 9:7; Isa. 10:2; Isa. 16:5; Isa. 26:8; Isa. 26:9; Isa. 28:6; Isa. 28:17; Isa. 28:26; Isa. 30:18; Isa. 32:1; Isa. 32:7; Isa. 32:16; Isa. 33:5; Isa. 34:5; Isa. 40:14; Isa. 40:27; Isa. 41:1; Isa. 42:1; Isa. 42:3; Isa. 42:4; Isa. 49:4; Isa. 50:8; Isa. 51:4; Isa. 53:8; Isa. 54:17; Isa. 56:1; Isa. 58:2; Isa. 59:8; Isa. 59:9; Isa. 59:11; Isa. 59:14; Isa. 59:15; Isa. 61:8;

I hate robbery in the burnt offering - His point is that sacrifices can amount to robbery from God if not given from a heart right with God! Woe! And He mentions the burnt offering because it was a whole offering and involved all or nothing, no half measures in this offering! It speaks of total commitment (cf Abraham's "offering" in Ge 22:2, 12, 16), so that anything short of that would be tantamount to "robbery!" God would not do that to His people. 

Motyer adds - The burnt offering ‘held nothing back’ (Gen. 22:16), and anything less was robbing the Lord of his due. The Lord recalls this as He pledges that He will live up to His own standards: in His faithfulness He will hold nothing back when He ‘gives His people their due’. Thus the ‘double’ (Isa 61:7) is the Lord’s perfect justice (Isa 61:8a), His due and full requital (Isa 61:8c). 

J Vernon McGee comments that "Their (redeemed of Israel) lives then will adorn their religious ritual. We have looked at several passages which spoke of the fact that Israel went through all of the rituals, but God condemned her for it because her heart was not in it. Things will be changed in that future day."

As David said

For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise. By Your favor do good to Zion; Build the walls of Jerusalem. Then You will delight in righteous sacrifices, In burnt offering and whole burnt offering; Then young bulls will be offered on Your altar.(Ps 51:16, 17, 18, 19-note)

Amos alludes to an improper heart attitude

I hate, I reject your festivals, Nor do I delight in your solemn assemblies.  Even though you offer up to Me burnt offerings and your grain offerings, I will not accept them; And I will not even look at the peace offerings of your fatlings. Take away from Me the noise of your songs; I will not even listen to the sound of your harps.  But let justice roll down like waters And righteousness like an ever-flowing stream. (Am 5:21-24)

MacArthur - When performed with a corrupt heart, even the savored festivals and offerings were despised by the Lord (cf. Lev 26:27, 31; Ps 51:16, 17, 19).

We also see God's case against Israel in Malachi...

“Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me! But you say, ‘How have we robbed You?’ In tithes and offerings. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing Me, the whole nation of you! (Malachi 3:8-9-note)

And I will faithfully give them their recompense - The offering mentioned called for faithfulness. God is saying He will hold nothing back but can be trusted to repay Israel. 

Gary Smith - Those who are fully committed to God's moral standards of justice will receive from God an appropriate "response, compensation." Elsewhere God promises to bring his "recompense, reward, what is due" (Isa 40:10; 49:4; 62:11) with him when he comes to earth, although it is never fully described. God can be counted on to do this because he acts in "faithfulness, truthfulness" (ʾemet) with those he loves. The essence of what God is talking about is a covenant agreement that he has with his righteous followers.

Constable - Israel could count on these promises because of who Yahweh is: a lover of justice (faithful to His promises to Israel) and a hater of iniquitous robbery (Israel’s enemies taking what did not belong to them). God would give Israel her inheritance and would make a new, everlasting covenant with her 

And make an everlasting covenant with them - This is a reference to the New Covenant (specifically named "new" in Jer 31:31-note) which God says is "an everlasting covenant" in (Jer 32:40, cf "everlasting lovingkindness" [hesed is a covenant term] = Isaiah 54:8; "an everlasting covenant that will not be forgotten" = Jeremiah 50:5; "I will establish an everlasting covenant with you." =  Ezekiel 16:60-note; "I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them" = Ezekiel 37:26-note; "the blood of the eternal covenant" = Heb 13:20-note). This everlasting covenant includes the blessings of the New Covenant that Jesus Christ instituted by His death (Heb. 10:1–18; Matt. 26:28). Given the fact that the "New Covenant" was initially given to Israel, it will not be until the Messiah returns and delivers Israel that this covenant will be full realized for the nation. In this "day of grace" (between the "favorable year" and the "day of vengeance" - Isa 61:2), the New Covenant is in a sense fulfilled in any Jew who receives the Messiah as Savior and Lord (recall that all those present when Jesus inaugurated this New Covenant at Passover were Jewish, but not all believed for Judas who actually took the bread and wine, but was not a believer - cf Mt 26:21-29, Mt 26:24 indicates Judas was NOT a true believer.).

Related Resources: 

Make (cut) (03772) see study of karath

Everlasting (05769) see study of olam

Covenant (01285) see study of berit/berith/beriyth

Notice how some writers take passages like this and replace Israel with the Church. The "them their...them" in context refers to the nation of Israel! It does not refer to the Church. Context must remain king to assure that you accurately interpret the Scripture (See Keep Context King)! Here is the note that in itself is not bad but notice to whom it is addressed "THE CHURCH" when it should be addressed "TO THE NATION OF ISRAEL!" 

Disciple's Study Bible - THE CHURCH, Covenant People--Learning what God is like helps us know what He wants His people to be and do. God loves justice. He wants righteousness extended to every sphere of life. He hates attitudes and actions which harm people. He swiftly judges robbery and oppression. God's promise to His people is to establish justice among us as the distinguishing mark of His people."

Related Resources

Articles by Arnold Fruchtenbaum related to Israel

Isaiah 61:9 Then their offspring will be known among the nations, And their descendants in the midst of the peoples. All who see them will recognize them Because they are the offspring whom the LORD has blessed.

  • their offspring: Isa 44:3 Ge 22:18 Zec 8:13 Ro 9:3,4 
  • they are: Isa 65:23 Ps 115:14 Ac 3:26 Ro 11:16-24 

ICB - Everyone in all nations will know the children of my people. And their children will be known among the nations. Anyone who sees them will know that the Lord blesses them."


Then - Always pause and enabled by the Spirit ponder the important expression of time "then." What has he just stated in Isaiah 61:8? The last thing stated is that God would "make an everlasting covenant with" Israel. 

Their offspring (descendants) - This refers to the children of the Jews (who have been saved by the "everlasting covenant") who enter into the Millennial Kingdom. The redeemed Jews will marry, have families, and enjoy God’s blessings on the earth for a thousand years (Rev 20:4-6-note). They will study God’s Word from generation to generation as prophesied earlier

“As for Me, this is My covenant (referring to the New Covenant = the "everlasting covenant") with them (Israel, those who receive and believe the New Covenant),” says the LORD: “My Spirit which is upon you, and My words which I have put in your mouth shall not depart from your mouth, nor from the mouth of your offspring (descendants), nor from the mouth of your offspring’s offspring,” says the LORD, “from now and forever.” (Isa. 59:21).

W E Vine explains - "The chapter closes with the promise of the New Covenant (Isa 59:21). It is based upon God’s words to Abraham in Genesis 17:4. The message “My Spirit that is upon thee …” is addressed to the restored nation, who will testify for the Lord continually. They will never cease to declare His word and bear witness for Him. The terms of the covenant are fully given in Jeremiah 31:31–34, and Hebrews 8:10–12 and Heb 10:16, 17."

Butler - Israel will be honored by all people (Ed: in the Millennial Kingdom). Their prestige will be very great. They will be the people of status. Unlike today when the Jew is despised, the great restoration of the future will make Israel the honored of the nations and peoples.

Isaiah 61:10 I will rejoice greatly in the LORD, My soul will exult in my God; For He has clothed me with garments of salvation, He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

  • As the earth (KJV): Isa 55:10,11 58:11 Song 4:16 5:1 Mt 13:3,8,23 Mk 4:26-32 
  • so (KJV): Isa 45:8 62:1 Ps 72:3,16 85:11 
  • praise (KJV): Isa 60:18 62:7 1Pe 2:9 

ICB - The earth causes plants to grow. And a garden causes the seeds planted there to grow. In the same way the Lord God will make grow what is right. He will make praise come from all the nations.


The title of this verse is from J Vernon McGee's Thru the Bible Commentary. 

There is not complete agreement on who is speaking in Isaiah 61:10-11. Some favor that this is the Messiah (Gary Smith in the New American Commentary, Alec Motyer - TOTC), some Zion (e.g., Wiersbe below) and others Isaiah (speaking for Israel or Jerusalem - Allen Ross).  

ESV note says "With the Lord GOD echoing “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me” in Isa 61:1, it is likely that the Messiah is speaking here."

NET Note - The speaker in Isa 61:10–11 is not identified, but it is likely that the personified nation (or perhaps Zion) responds here to the Lord's promise of restoration. 

Thomas Constable - Isaiah now spoke for Zion that rejoiced in the Lord for the gifts that He would give her in the future.

John Martin (Bible Knowledge Commentary) - In these verses the prophet seems to be speaking for the redeemed remnant who will rejoice (cf. comments on 9:3) in response to God’s blessings mentioned in Isa 61:1–9.

Wiersbe - Isaiah is speaking on behalf of the remnant who are praising God for all He has done. They rejoice that He has cleansed them and clothed them and turned their desert into a fruitful garden (55:10). They have gone from a funeral to a wedding!

J Vernon McGee - The Messiah continues to speak here, and as He does, all who are His can join in the psalm of praise. They will greatly rejoice in the Lord. 

HCSB Note - Isaiah broke out in a hymn of praise in response to the oracle he had just delivered. He used the theme of clothing to describe his taking on God's salvation and righteousness. These were not just any clothes but the clothes of a bride. This image implies the metaphor of God as husband of His people.

W E Vine - What follows in verses 10 and 11 has been regarded by some as the utterance of the redeemed nation. It seems, however, almost certain that the Speaker is the same Person as in the beginning of the chapter. It is surely Christ, speaking in identification with His people and declaring His joy in Jehovah on their behalf. He is regarding what will have been accomplished in the coming day as if it were already fulfilled. The garments of salvation with which the godly ones in Israel will be clothed are His own garments. Just as a bridegroom “decketh himself with a garland, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels,” so will the Lord manifest Himself in His glory and beauty in His relation to His redeemed people.

Gilbrant sees the speaker as Messiah -  Now the Speaker of Isa 61:1ff tells of his joy in the Lord (cf. Heb. 12:2). Being clothed with salvation and righteousness indicates his nature. He is Salvation and Righteousness as well as the Bearer of salvation. On Him salvation and righteousness are like the priestly turban worn by a bridegroom and like the jewels a bride adorns herself with. (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)

Spurgeon - WITHOUT any preface, we will go straight to our text at once. In the words of the prophet, we have two things brought before us,—first, a resolution to be glad; and, secondly, the reasons for being glad. Whenever a man makes a resolution, it should be because he has a good reason for doing so; and when he has a good reason for it, he ought to adhere to his resolution, and carry it out to the fullest possible extent. I want you, dear friends, because there are good reasons for it, to resolve that you will be glad in the Lord. Perhaps you are of a mournful spirit; it may be that you have peculiar trials just now; possibly, the very heaviness of the atmosphere makes you feel dull and sad. Never mind those things which would drag your spirit down; at least for to-night, let us be glad, and if we can make that gladness overlap to-morrow, and if the stream should be sufficiently strong to flow right through the week to another Sabbath, and if the torrent should be vigorous enough to run right to the end of the year, and if the mighty flood should be broad enough to cover all the rest of our lives, it will not be even then an unreasonable thing. I wish we could, each one of us, with such a divine inspiration as would enable us to continue it throughout eternity, say, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God.” But if we cannot reach to such a full attainment of joy all at once, let us at least take a good mouthful of it even now; let us kneel down against the wellhead of heavenly bliss, and drink a deep draught of holy joy at this glad hour. (Sermon on Isaiah 61:10 - Good Reasons for a Good Resolution)

Spurgeon - Brothers and sisters. I wish we could all catch hold of the spirit of this verse that each one of us would now say, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord.” What a precious sentence — “My soul shall be joyful in my God.”

I will rejoice greatly in the LORD - "I will exuberantly rejoice" (Gary Smith, NAC) The Hebrew verb for rejoice (sus) is repeated which literally could be read "rejoice, rejoice" and is translated rejoiced greatly. The Septuagint (Lxx) is similar using two words (euphrosune euphraino) - "be glad with gladness."

Rod Mattoon - In these verses (Isa 61:10-11) Isaiah seems to be speaking for the redeemed remnant of Israel who will rejoice in response to God’s blessings mentioned in Isa 61:1-9. Salvation and righteousness are pictured as clothes worn by the people. In other words the Israelites are characterized by salvation (God’s redeemed people) and righteousness (those who are living by God’s standards; cf. Isa 58:8; 60:21) (ED: NOTE THAT THEIR "RIGHTEOUS WORKS" PROVE THE REALITY OF THEIR SALVATION). To picture their joy and blessing a bridegroom wore a fancy headgear, like a priest’s turban, and the bride wore costly jewelry. God will cause Israel’s righteousness to spring up in, that is be known by, other nations (Isa 61:11; 62:1-2) much as the soil sustains the growth of plants.  Israel rejoices over the fact that God has cleansed them and clothed them and turned their desert into a fruitful garden (Isa 55:10). They have gone from a funeral to a wedding.  Considering the situation in the Middle East, the message of these chapters might suggest we’re getting close to the fulfillment of Isaiah’s end time prophecy.

If this is the prophet Isaiah it recalls the words of Habakkuk

Yet I will exult in the LORD, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.  (Hab 3:18-note)

KJV Bible Commentary on I will greatly rejoice - The tremendous emphasis of this opening statement is somewhat lost in the English translation. The opening statement should be literally translated “rejoicing I will rejoice.” When the writers sought to emphasize a point in Hebrew, they did so by repeating the (Ed: Hebrew) word (see Isa 6:3). The joy spoken of in this verse is not simply an external, emotional state predicated upon circumstances, it is an inner joy, for it comes from the soul. This joy was a result of the fact that God had clothed them (Ed: Redeemed of Israel) with the garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness

Illustration - Dancing for Joy - A reminiscence of the late Professor (Rabbi) Duncan is incidentally given by Dr. Bonar. "One day he said to me, and said it sorrowfully, in one of our many walks, 'I was as nearly an atheist as I believe it possible for a man to be,'—implying that, from his own experience, he was inclined to conclude that there never was such a being as an out-and-out atheist. His dread of his own doubtings was seen strikingly in what he said to a friend, regarding the breaking of the light: 'When first I saw there could be a God, I danced for joy! It was when walking out alone that this light broke. It was on 'the Brig o' Dee' that he 'danced for joy.'" 

This will surely be a "happy day!"

Play O Happy Day

  O happy day that fixed my choice on Thee, my Savior and my God! Well may this glowing heart rejoice and tell its raptures all abroad.
  O happy bond that seals my vows to Him who merits all my love! Let cheerful anthems fill His house, while to that sacred shrine I move.
  High Heav’n that heard the solemn vow, that vow renewed shall daily hear; till in life’s latest hour I bow, and bless in death a bond so dear.
  ’Tis done, the great transaction’s done—I am my Lord’s and He is mine; He drew me, and I followed on, charmed to confess the voice divine.
  Now rest, my long-divided heart, fixed on this blissful center, rest; nor ever from my Lord depart, with Him of ev’ry good possessed.
  Chorus: Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away! He taught me how to watch and pray and live rejoicing ev’ry day; happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!

June 25

O HAPPY DAY Philip Doddridge, 1702–1751
  I delight greatly in the Lord; my soul rejoices in my God. For He has clothed me with garments of salvation and arrayed me in a robe of righteousness. (Isaiah 61:10)
It is always encouraging to share in a testimonial service by recalling with other believers the time we responded to God’s loving invitation for personal salvation. To remember what we were, how we were going, and where we could be today had not God encountered us is truly an important spiritual activity. But we must also be quick to note that the “happy day” of our new birth was never intended to be the final goal for our lives. Rather it was the starting point for developing a Christ-like life and an endless fellowship with our Lord.
Along with Isaac Watts and Charles Wesley, Philip Doddridge is generally ranked as one of England’s finest 18th century hymn writers. “O Happy Day,” a text which expresses so aptly the sense of joy in a personal relationship with God, is Doddridge’s best-known hymn today. The hymn first appeared without the refrain in the 1775 collection of Doddridge’s writings, published posthumously, as were all of his 400 hymn texts. The music did not appear for nearly 100 years after the text. It was likely adapted from one of the popular secular tunes of that time.
  O happy day that fixed my choice on Thee, my Savior and my God! Well may this glowing heart rejoice and tell its raptures all abroad.
  O happy bond that seals my vows to Him who merits all my love! Let cheerful anthems fill His house, while to that sacred shrine I move.
  High Heav’n that heard the solemn vow, that vow renewed shall daily hear; till in life’s latest hour I bow, and bless in death a bond so dear.
  ’Tis done, the great transaction’s done—I am my Lord’s and He is mine; He drew me, and I followed on, charmed to confess the voice divine.
  Now rest, my long-divided heart, fixed on this blissful center, rest; nor ever from my Lord depart, with Him of ev’ry good possessed.
  Chorus: Happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away! He taught me how to watch and pray and live rejoicing ev’ry day; happy day, happy day, when Jesus washed my sins away!

My soul will exult in my God - This speaks of a deep inner exultation.

For (because) - term of explanation. He is explaining why he is rejoicing. 

He has clothed me with garments of salvation - Clothing frequently symbolizes a person's status. If this is Isaiah speaking for the people, he is referring to those in Israel who have been saved (and are clothed with garments of salvation) when Messiah returns (cf Ro 11:26, 27-note) If this is the Messiah speaking, the idea would be that His garments speak of His mission, to bring salvation to Israel (and the lost world for that matter).  In other words, He is "fitted" so to speak to be the Savior. 

Reformation Study Bible makes a good point that "To be "clothed" with something is a common figure for a change in status or condition (Isa 52:1; Zech. 3:3-5; Matt. 22:11).

KJV Bible Commentary on garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness. -  These two phrases are synonymous and speak of salvation. Salvation is receiving the imputed righteousness of God Himself.

THOUGHT - Rod Mattoon - Paul uses the image of salvation’s clothing in Romans 13:14+ (But (see contrast - Ro 13:13+put on [aorist imperative] the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision (present imperative with a negative - command to stop this! Only way to keep these 3 commands is by depending on the Holy Spirit to obey = Not "Let go, let God," but "Let God and let's go" - His provision, our responsibility = Paradoxical Principle of 100% Dependent and 100% Responsible] for the flesh in regard to its lusts.") and Ephesians 4:22-24+ (Note: While these are not commands, one still needs the Holy Spirit to obey). Christ used it in several parables, for instance where the guests were dressed in special garments provided by the host (Matthew 22:11-14). Being dressed in such garments showed the wearer to be an invited guest, with a right to join the celebration. Only if we are clothed with God’s salvation will we enjoy life in the future kingdom of God.

Illustration - Christ Covering the Sinner "He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness."—Isa. 61:10 - An American citizen had been condemned in a Spanish court, and was to die; but the consul interposed, and declared that the Spanish authorities had no power to put him to death. Being determined to save him, he was wrapped round in the flags—the stars and stripes. "Now fire, if you dare," he said. "If you do, you defy the great nation represented by these flags." There stood the man, and before him the soldiers; and yet he was invulnerable, as though in a coat of mail. So is the sinner, wrapped round by the blood-red robe of Christ

Henry Morris on garments of salvation - A beautiful Biblical metaphor for salvation is that of divinely provided clothing, such as that provided by God for Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21-note). Man-made clothing is like their fig leaves (Genesis 3:7-note), and is no better than filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). It is also pictured in the wedding garment which was essential for attendance at the prince's wedding (Matthew 22:12-13). If we would participate in "the marriage of the Lamb," we must be "arrayed in fine linen, clean and white … the righteousness of saints," as provided by Christ (Revelation 19:7-8-note; Ephesians 2:10). We are exhorted even now to "put on thy beautiful garments" (Isaiah 52:1), and be prepared to come into the presence of our king. (Defender's Study Bible)

Salvation (03468)(yesha‛, yêsha‛ from yasha' = to deliver) means salvation which has a variety of connotations including deliverance, help, liberty, welfare, preserve, rescue, salvation, safety (Ps 12:5, Job 5:11), welfare or keep safe. Yeshua is used most often in the Hebrew "song book," the Ps. (Ps 12:5; 18:2, 35, 46; 20:6; 24:5; 25:5; 27:1, 9; 50:23; 51:12; 62:7; 65:5; 69:13; 79:9; 85:4, 7, 9; 95:1; 132:16).

The Septuagint (Lxx) translates salvation with the Greek noun  soterios which speaks of what is related to the means of salvation (rescuing, delivering) and by metonymy refers to the Messiah Himself (Lk 2:30-note). 

He has wrapped me with a robe of righteousness - I take this as a description of the righteousness possessed by the redeemed ("saved") Israelites who are entering the Millennial Kingdom. This righteousness was promised in earlier chapters...

“Then your (ISRAEL'S) light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. (Isaiah 58:8)

MacArthur - When Israel learned the proper way to fast, she would enjoy the blessings of salvation and the Messiah’s kingdom (Isa 52:12).

“Then all your people (ISRAEL) will be righteous; They will possess the land forever, The branch of My planting, The work of My hands, That I may be glorified.  (Isaiah 60:21)

MacArthur - Israel will inherit the land promised to Abraham (Ge 12:1, 7; 13:15; 15:18). During the millennial kingdom, that will be the land of Israel as we know it today. In the eternal kingdom, it will be the New Jerusalem, capital of the new creation. I may be glorified. The ultimate mission of Israel is to glorify the Lord (Isa 49:3; 61:3).

Righteousness (06666) see below tsedaqah

John MacArthur comments that "Here is the OT picture of imputed righteousness, the essential heart of the New Covenant. When a penitent sinner recognizes he can’t achieve his own righteousness by works (see Ro 3:19–22-note; 2Co 5:21-note; Php 3:8, 9-note), and repents and calls on the mercy of God, the Lord covers him with His own divine righteousness by grace through his faith."

Gary Smith (who interprets this as Messiah speaking) - Having the character and the ability to grant salvation and righteousness will enable the possessor of these qualities to deliver people from their former unrighteous state and will prepare them to enter into God’s glorious kingdom.

As alluded to above, some see this as the Messiah speaking. Thus Alec Motyer writes "The motif of ‘clothing’ expresses character and commitment. To be clothed with garments of salvation is to be commissioned and fitted to be Saviour; to accept the clothes stands for self-commitment to the task."

As a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels - These are both terms of comparison. A wedding is certainly one of the most joyful times in the lives of any family and here the speaker compares the "clothing" of the speaker with the beautiful fine clothing we see in most weddings. How many of us have had a daughter or son get married and we all went out and bought new clothing because the occasion was so special?

Spurgeon - On those festive occasions the Orientals are wont to use all the wealth they have in decoration. The bridegroom decketh himself with a crown — puts on a tiara. He is a king for once. And the bride herself brings out all the many jewels with which Eastern women deck themselves. Now all this, in a high spiritual sense, we find in Christ. He is not merely covering to us, but ornament and beauty, adornment, exaltation, glory, honour. How beautiful a child of God looks in Christ I cannot tell you, but I believe that next to his dear Son, the most engaging sight to the divine Father is any one of his dear Children whom he sees in Christ. You know we all think our children lovely, and God knows his children to be so when he hath covered them with the robe of righteousness, and clothed them with the garments of salvation.

W E Vine - The word rendered “decks” signifies to deck as a priest, and it is in that capacity that the Lord will act in the day when His righteousness is manifested in the earth. He will then be the revealed antitype of Melchizedek. He will act in the threefold capacity of a King, Priest and a Bridegroom. The picture of the bride adorning herself with her jewels especially portrays His earthly Kingdom as wedded to Himself. So with regard to the Church, He acts, and ever will act, as a royal Priest (Heb. 7:17; 9:11), and as her Heavenly Bridegroom (Eph. 5:25–32).

Decks (03547)(kahan from kohen = priest) occurs as a plural verb and means to act or function as a priest. Gilbrant - Derived from the noun kōhfin , "priest," this verb occurs twenty-three times in the Bible with the meaning "to minister as a priest." It occurs only in the Piel stem. The verb has cognates in several Semitic languages. Mostly, it occurs in Middle Hebrew and later Aramaic dialects in the same semantic range as what is found in the Hebrew Bible. Also, the verb appears in Arabic with the meaning "to prophesy," a function which rarely accompanies priestly actions in the Hebrew Bible, especially after David centralized worship in Jerusalem. Usually the verb refers to ministering as a priest of the Lord in Israel, so of Aaron and his sons (Ex 28:1, 3, 4, 41; 29:1, 44; 30:30; 31:10; 35:19; 39:41; 40:13, 15; Lev. 7:35; Num. 3:3f; Deut. 10:6; 1 Chr. 24:2) or of Aaron's descendants who succeeded him (Lev. 16:32; 1 Chr. 6:10).

At times kāhan refers to those excluded from ministering as a priest. Once Ezekiel foretold that disobedient Levitical priests would be excluded from ministering in the Messianic temple. "And they shall not come near unto me, to do the office of a priest unto me, nor to come near to any of my holy things, in the most holy place: but they shall bear their shame, and their abominations which they have committed" (Ezek. 44:13). It refers to Israel's national priesthood being taken away: "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being priest for Me; because you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children" (Hos. 4:6, NKJV). It refers to the Levitical priests whom Jeroboam excluded from ministering as priests to the golden calf in his dissident temple (2 Chr. 11:14). Figuratively, the verb is used of one who dresses himself in elaborate array comparable to that of a priest. "He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself [literally, acts as priest] with ornaments" (Isa. 61:10+). (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

NIDOTTE - Perhaps the central concept of priesthood is mediation between the sphere of the divine and the ordinary world. A priest through his ritual actions and his words facilitates communication across the boundary separating the holy from the profane. The priests represented God to the people in the splendor of their clothing, in their behavior, and in oracles and instruction, while in sacrifice and intercession they represented the people to God (TDOT 7:70). The high priest represents the whole nation, regularly bearing the name of the twelve tribes into the Holy Place (Exod 28:29–30) and once a year making atonement for the people (Lev 16). However, priestly language is occasionally used of the nation of Israel. In Exod 19:6 Israel is called “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” The priestly people are to mediate the knowledge and the blessing of the holy God to other peoples (cf. 15:11–17; 19:5–6; Lev 20:22–26).

Baker writes that "The most unusual usage is Isaiah 61:10 where it seems to refer to dressing in a priestly (i.e., ornate) manner." (Complete Word Study Dictionary)

Kahan - 23x in 23v - Usage: carry on their priesthood(1), decks(1), minister as a priest(1), minister as priest(3), minister as priests(6), ministered as priest(1), priest(1), serve as a priest(1), serve as priest(1), serve as priests(2), serve me as priests(1), served as the priest(1), served as priests(2), serving as priests(1).

Exod. 28:1; Exod. 28:3; Exod. 28:4; Exod. 28:41; Exod. 29:1; Exod. 29:44; Exod. 30:30; Exod. 31:10; Exod. 35:19; Exod. 39:41; Exod. 40:13; Exod. 40:15; Lev. 7:35; Lev. 16:32; Num. 3:3; Num. 3:4; Deut. 10:6; 1 Chr. 6:10; 1 Chr. 24:2; 2 Chr. 11:14; Isa. 61:10; Ezek. 44:13; Hos. 4:6

Garland (turban, headdress) (06287) see pe'er 

The verb יְכַהֵן comes from the root idea “he will act priestly, be a priest,” but it is difficult to fit this into the grammar of the sentence. The general idea communicated is that the bridegroom has a fancy turban on, similar to one worn by a priest.

KJV Bible Commentary on as a a bride - The glorious nature of these garments (garments of salvation and the robe of righteousness) and their resplendent beauty can be observed in the latter part of the verse where they are paralleled to the garments of a bridegroom and bride. The bridegroom is described as wearing a large turban similar to that worn by the priest, and the direct implication is that it is only through sacrifice that these garments are available. The beauty and pride of the bride in her marriage jewels describe the feeling and excitement of being clothed in the righteousness of God. The words of Edward Mote, in his hymn “The Solid Rock,” are so appropriate,

“When He shall come with trumpet sound,
O may I then in Him be found,
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultness to stand before the throne.
On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand—
All other ground is sinking sand.” 

An American citizen had been condemned in a Spanish court, and was to die; but the consul interposed, and declared that the Spanish authorities had no power to put him to death. Being determined to save him, he was wrapped round in the flags—the stars and stripes. "Now fire, if you dare," he said. "If you do, you defy the great nation represented by these flags." There stood the man, and before him the soldiers; and yet he was invulnerable, as though in a coat of mail. So is the sinner, wrapped round by the blood-red robe of Christ

Butler - THE REDEMPTION OF THE SOUL Isaiah 61:10

This great text will be viewed here solely from a Gospel standpoint as it pictures the redemption of the soul so wonderfully.

1. The Cheer in Salvation (Isaiah 61:10)
“I will greatly rejoice in the LORD” (Isaiah 61:10). Redemption brings rejoicing to the redeemed. This joy they did not know in their unsaved condition. The rejoicing here is not in circumstances but in Christ, for salvation works a dramatic change in a person.

2. The Clothing for Salvation (Isaiah 61:10)
“He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness” (Isaiah 61:10). This work of clothing the sinner is illustrated in how God clothed Adam and Eve after their sin. They had “sewed fig leaves together” (Genesis 3:7) to cover themselves which was not adequate in God’s sight so he clothed them with “coats of skins” (Genesis 3:21) which pictured salvation in that it required the death of an animal and the shed blood to provide for the salvation covering.

3. The Cosmetics in Salvation (Isaiah 61:10)
“As a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels” (Isaiah 61:10). Salvation improves matters. Literally it improves appearance. The lesson is figurative here to show the glory that comes to the redeemed.

Scofield - The garment in Scripture is a symbol of righteousness. In the bad ethical sense it symbolizes self-righteousness, e.g. Isa 64:6. See Phil 3:6-8 showing the best that a moral and religious man under law could do. In the good ethical sense the garment symbolizes (1) the basic provision of God's salvation by grace through faith in Christ, the "garments of salvation . . . a robe of righteousness [Gk. <dikaiosune>] " (Isa 61:10; Ro 3:21, note); and (2) the garment of "fine linen . . . the righteous acts [from Gk. <dikaioma>]  of the saints," as here in v. 8, works of godliness and goodness produced by the Holy Spirit, as the believer judges the flesh and yields himself to God (Rom 13:14). These are the "good works" unto which we are "created in Christ Jesus" (Eph 2:10), with which believers are to adorn themselves to bring honor to Christ's name here (Mt 5:16; 1 Tim 2:10; Titus 2:8 - 10; 3:8; 1 Pet 2:12; 3:3 - 5; 5:5) and hereafter (Rom 2:7,10; 1 Cor 3:12 - 14, note; Phil 1:10 - 11; 1 Pet 1:7; Rev 19:8).

Christ’s Righteousness—One of the most awesome requirements of God made upon men and women is that they be righteous, that is, conform to His ethical and moral standards (Ps 15:2; Mic 6:8). Since God is holy, He cannot allow sinners into His presence (Isa 6:3-5). Since all persons are sinners, they could not be saved apart from the supernatural intervention of God (Ro 3:10, 23). The righteous demands of God coupled with the inability of man might present an insoluble dilemma. God Himself, however, has graciously solved the problem. He sent Christ, who never sinned, to die for our sins and thus satisfy His own wrath toward us. Simply put, it means that God, at the Cross, treated Christ as though He had committed our sins even though He was righteous. On the other hand, when we believe in Christ, He treats us as though we were as righteous as Christ (2Co 5:21). The Bible calls this type of righteousness “imputed righteousness” (Ro 4:6). That simply means that God puts to our spiritual account the very worth of Christ, much as though He were a banker adding an inexhaustible deposit to our bank account. There are, sadly, many people who still refuse to believe that such an abundant blessing can be theirs as a free gift (Ep 2:8, 9). Nevertheless, the Bible clearly urges all people to trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and thus be reckoned as righteous by God (Ro 4:24).

Buyer’s Remorse

Read: Genesis 3:1-8 | 

He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness. —Isaiah 61:10

Have you ever experienced buyer’s remorse? I have. Just prior to making a purchase, I feel the surge of excitement that comes with getting something new. After buying the item, however, a wave of remorse sometimes crashes over me. Did I really need this? Should I have spent the money?

In Genesis 3, we find the first record of a buyer’s remorse. The whole thing began with the crafty serpent and his sales pitch. He persuaded Eve to doubt God’s Word (v.1). He then capitalized on her uncertainty by casting doubt on God’s character (vv.4-5). He promised that her eyes would “be opened” and she would become “like God” (v.5).

So Eve ate. Adam ate. And sin entered the world. But the first man and woman got more than they bargained for. Their eyes were opened all right, but they didn’t become like God. In fact, their first act was to hide from God (vv.7-8).

Sin has dire consequences. It always keeps us from God’s best. But God in His mercy and grace clothed Adam and Eve in garments made from animal skins (v.21)—foreshadowing what Jesus Christ would do for us by dying on the cross for our sins. His blood was shed so that we might be clothed with His righteousness—with no remorse!

Then will I set my heart to find
Inward adornings of the mind:
Knowledge and virtue, truth and grace,
These are the robes of richest dress.

The cross, which reveals the righteousness of God, provides that righteousness for mankind.

INSIGHT: Satan misapplied God’s words in today’s passage. God’s prohibition against eating applied only to the “tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Gen. 2:16-17), not to every tree (3:1). Satan’s phrase “You will not surely die” (v.4) was a direct challenge to God’s declaration, “You shall surely die” (2:17). In turn, Eve also modified God’s clear instruction: “nor shall you touch it” (3:3). The story of the fall is a clear warning to us to study and know God’s Word so that we will not be led astray.

By Poh Fang Chia  (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

Isaiah 61:11 For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up, So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise To spring up before all the nations.

  • as the earth: Isa 55:10,11 58:11 Song 4:16 5:1 Mt 13:3,8,23 Mk 4:26-32 
  • so: Isa 45:8 62:1 Ps 72:3,16 85:11 
  • praise: Isa 60:18 62:7 1Pe 2:9 


For as the earth brings forth its sprouts, And as a garden causes the things sown in it to spring up - The Spirit uses two easily understood comparisons which begin with "as" marking these specifically as similes. These terms of comparison are always "fruitful" (pun intended in the context!) for Spirit enabled meditation as long as we do not allow our "sanctified imagination" (as Howard Hendricks used to call it -- my wife always disapproved of me using the phrase!) to remain with the interpretative bounds of the context

Victor Buksbazen - God's promises to Israel are as sure as the laws of nature, just as the seed planted in the soul will under favorable conditions bring forth new growth and plant life. The thought is similar to Isaiah 55:10. (The Prophet Isaiah)

KJV Bible Commentary  -Isa 61:11 contains a comparison. Isaiah confirms that as surely as in His creative power God brings forth natural life, so God will also cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.

Spout (06780)(tsemach from tsamach = to sprout or spring up)  is a noun which means a sprout, a branch or a growth and is used literally (Ge 19:25; Ps 65:10) but most significantly is used five times figuratively as a Name of the Messiah (Jer 33:15, Jer 23:5, Isa 4:2, Zech 3:8, 6:12). See Walter Kaiser's excellent note on the Messianic meaning of tsemach (branch).

So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise  - So just like the analogies of natural earthly fruit coming forth, so too would the supernatural fruit of righteousness and praise come forth from the redeemed of Israel. This will be a glorious time and one we should all look forward to as redeemed Gentiles (including those who have previously fallen asleep in Jesus -- exactly what this will look like I am not sure) will also be in the Millennial Kingdom. 

Lord GOD - Adonai Jehovah - the most emphatic use of His Name.

Related Resources:

J Vernon McGee quips "my, they’re going to have fun then! I wish that in our day more Christians had fun going to church. I wish they enjoyed it more. I wish the study of the Bible was a thrilling and exciting experience for all of us. It ought to be, and God intended that it should be."

Righteousness (06666)(tsedaqah from tsedeq = rightness, righteousness) conveys the idea of that which is straight and so one who is upright or righteous is one who walks a straight path. The root thought is that which  conforms to an ethical or moral standard. TWOT notes that "The masculine tṣedeq (06664) occurs 118 times, the feminine tsedāqâh 156 times. The two forms do not differ in meaning, as far as we can prove (Snaith ibid., p. 72)." The first use of tsedaqah in Ge 15:6+ is informative as it describes the righteousness that God decreed of Abram when he believed in the Lord and His promises (especially the promise of the Seed, the Messiah - Gal 3:8+, Gal 3:16+). So the righteousness described here in Isa 61:11 is supernaturally (Spirit) enabled righteous thoughts, words and deeds before God and before men. Comment on Tsedaqah in Genesis 15:6 - right standing in the sight of God was imputed or placed on Abraham's spiritual account. At Calvary our sins were put on Jesus' account (cp "numbered [counted - Heb = manah = to count, reckon; Lxx = logizomai] with the transgressors" - Isa 53:12) and He as our perfect, sinless Substitute suffered the punishment that should have fallen on us (Isa 53:6+). When Abraham trusted God's promise of a coming Seed, the Messiah (and however much of that truth that had been revealed to him), Christ's righteousness was placed "on credit" on Abraham's spiritual account (2 Cor 5:21+) and he stood positionally (and perfectly) righteous and forgiven before the Holy God! Abraham proved his faith by his works when he offered Isaac on the altar (James 2:14–24+). Abraham was not saved by obeying God, or even promising to obey God. However his obedience (cp Ge 22:1-2, 15-17, 18-see devotional "A Test of Faith") proved his faith. Sinners are not saved by faith plus works but by a faith that works! If it does not "work" then one has reason to question whether it is genuine faith!

Vine's discussion of tsedaqah - "righteousness." These nouns come from a Semitic root which occurs in Hebrew, Phoenician, and Aramaic with a juristic sense. In Phoenician and Old Aramaic it carries the sense of "loyalty" demonstrated by a king or priest as a servant of his own god. In these languages a form of the root is combined with other words or names, particularly with the name of a deity, in royal names. In the Old Testament we meet the name Melchizedek ("king of righteousness"). A more limited meaning of the root is found in Arabic (a South Semitic language): "truthfulness" (of propositions). In rabbinic Hebrew the noun ṣedāqâ signifies "alms" or "demonstrations of mercy." The word ṣedāqâ, which occurs 157 times, is found throughout the Old Testament (except for Exodus, Leviticus, 2 Kings, Ecclesiastes, Lamentations, Habbakuk, and Zephaniah). Ṣedeq, which occurs 119 times, is found mainly in poetic literature. The first usage of ṣedeq is: "Ye shall do no unrighteousness in judgment: thou shalt not respect the person of the poor, nor honor the person of the mighty: but in righteousness shalt thou judge thy neighbor" (Lev. 19:15); and of ṣedāqâ is: "[Abram] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6).

Translators have found it difficult to translate these two words. The older translations base their understanding on the Septuagint (Lxx) with the translation dikaiosynē ("righteousness") and on the Vulgate iustitia ("justice"). In these translations the legal relationship of humans is transferred to God in an absolute sense as the Lawgiver and with the perfections of justice and "righteousness."

Exegetes have spilled much ink in an attempt to understand contextually the words ṣedeq and ṣedāqâ. The conclusions of the researchers indicate a twofold significance. On the one hand, the relationships among people and of a man to his God can be described as ṣedeq, supposing the parties are faithful to each other's expectations. It is a relational word. In Jacob's proposal to Laban, Jacob used the word Ṣedāqâ to indicate the relationship. The kjv gives the following translation of Ṣedāqâ: "So shall my righteousness answer for me in time to come, when it shall come for my hire before thy face…" (Gen. 30:33). The nasb gives the word "righteousness" in a marginal note, but prefers the word "honesty" in the text itself. The neb reads "fair offer" instead. Finally, the niv has: "And my honesty [Ṣedāqâ] will testify for me in the future, whenever you check on the wages you have paid me." On the other hand, "righteousness" as an abstract or as the legal status of a relationship is also present in the Old Testament. The locus classicus is Gen. 15:6: "… And he [the Lord] counted it to him [Abraham] for righteousness."

Regrettably, in a discussion of the dynamic versus the static sense of the word, one or the other wins out, though both elements are present. The books of Psalms and of the prophets particularly use the sense of "righteousness" as a state; cf. "Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the Lord: look unto the rock whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged" (Isa. 51:1); and "My righteousness is near; my salvation is gone forth, and mine arms shall judge the people; the isles shall wait upon me, and on mine arm shall they trust" (Isa. 51:5). The neb exhibits this tension between dynamic and static in the translation of ṣedeq: "My victory [instead of righteousness] is near, my deliverance has gone forth and my arm shall rule the nations; for me coasts and islands shall wait and they shall look to me for protection" (Isa. 51:5). Thus, in the discussion of the two nouns below, the meaning lie between the dynamic and the static. (Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old Testament and New Testament Words)

Rennṣedāqāh is synonymous with ṣedeq (see above), occurring around 160 times and meaning "righteousness," "justice" (with some overlap in meaning). Arguably the most significant theological usage of ṣedāqāh occurs in contexts where "righteousness" is understood as the consequence of divine action, whereby a person's "right standing" before God is declared by him through the process of a divine judicial reckoning. The righteousness of Abraham is presented this way in Gen. 15:6 (cf. also Job 33:26; Ps. 106:31). Such righteousness is also declared to be conditional, under the Mosaic law, dependent on one's obedience (cf. Deut. 6:25; 24:13). Deut. 9:4 ff.; Isa. 64:6 deny humankind's innate righteousness. God promises to bring "righteousness" (and justice) to Israel as part of the promised renewal of his people, suggesting their renewed standing before him (cf. Isa. 33:5; 45:8). See also Isa. 61:10.

The quality of "righteousness" in the sense of living justly before God and humankind, with integrity, is also indicated in several contexts. It is noted in relation to Abraham (Gen. 18:19), and to people in general (Gen. 30:33; Prov. 11:16). The command of God to live justly and righteously is found in Isa. 56:1; Jer. 22:3. King David claims to be living righteously in 2 Sam. 22:21, 25. The context in this instance, however, is of a man whose heart is genuinely devoted to God—and on that basis he makes his plea, not on the grounds of sinless perfection (cf. also 1 Kgs. 8:32; Job 27:6).

Righteousness is occasionally linked or even closely equated with justice in a number of places (cf. 2 Sam. 8:15; 1 Chr. 18:14; Ps. 106:3; Prov. 8:18; Isa. 5:7; 28:17; Ezek. 14:14; 33:12 ff.). In Amos 5:7, condemnation is handed down to God's people for failing to live justly.

The quality of righteousness is also applied to God's decrees in Deut. 33:21.

"Righteousness" is a characteristic frequently applied to God. His "righteous" deeds are acts of cove-nant faithfulness (1 Sam. 12:7; Pss. 40:10; 51:14; Isa. 46:13). Yahweh executes perfect "justice" (i.e., righteousness) (cf. 1 Kgs. 10:9; Job 37:23; Isa. 58:2). Pss. 11:7; 99:4; 112:3 ff.; Isa. 5:16; 59:17; Dan. 9:7 are general ascriptions of praise offered to God for his moral perfection, for his "righteousness."

"Righteousness" is also a quality predicated of the "Servant of Yahweh," the promised messianic ruler who will come to reign with justice (cf. Isa. 9:7; Jer. 23:5 ff.).

The Aramaic term ṣidqāh is found only in Dan. 4:27, with reference to King Nebuchadnezzar being exhorted by Yahweh, through the prophet, to "practice righteousness" in his realm, to rule his people with justice. (Expository Dictionary of Bible Words: Word Studies for Key English Bible Words Based on the Hebrew and Greek Texts)

Gilbrant - As with all the words from tsādhfiq, tsedhāqāh has the basic idea of conforming to a certain standard or expectation. Joel 2:23 in the KJV says the Lord sent the autumn rains "moderately," which is literally "for" or "of righteousness." BDB (p. 842) translates this "for prosperity," and the CEV as the Lord being "generous." In Prov. 8:18, the word is translated "prosperity" in the NIV and "successful" in the CEV. Thus, tsedhāqāh can have the sense of an appropriate amount or satisfying the expectation, and even going beyond to providing well-being and perhaps honor (to which it is parallel in Prov. 8:18). The plural is used of righteous acts, and in Isa. 33:15, literally "walking righteous acts," which may be translated walking "righteously" and could be for intensification meaning all aspects of righteous conduct. The opposite in the context is dishonesty and immorality. In Gen. 30:33, the singular is translated "honesty" in the NIV. Righteousness can refer to good government administering justice, as David did (2 Sam. 8:15), and as God does (Job 37:23; Isa. 9:7). Tsedhāqāh is often used in parallel with mishpāt (HED #5122), "justice," or "just decisions of the ruler."

Righteousness is God's values and character in action (Jer. 9:24). He loves righteousness (Ps. 33:5). In Ps. 40:10, it is parallel with his faithfulness, salvation, loving-kindness and truth. The tribe of Gad is said to have done the righteousness of the Lord, or "carried out the Lord's righteous will" (Deut. 33:21, NIV). The Messiah is called the "Branch of righteousness," Who does justice and righteousness (Jer. 33:15). Malachi 4:2 promises God will provide the healing "Sun of righteousness." These verses seem to refer to all of God's good purposes, which David summarizes when he requests that the Lord lead him in his righteousness, making his way straight before him (Ps. 5:8).

Tsedhāqāh can be used of all God's works in human history, all his victories on behalf of his people (Judg. 5:11). Salvation is often paralleled with God's righteousness (Isa. 51:6; Dan. 9:16). In Ps. 31:1, David calls upon God to deliver him in his righteousness. It was this kind of use of righteousness that captured Martin Luther's attention and led to his great breakthrough realization of the doctrine of salvation by grace. In his human thinking, Luther could not connect God's righteous expectations, over which he felt condemnation, with God's salvation. Living up to God's standard is not possible in ourselves. Finally, the truth came alive in Luther that God's righteousness not only means judgment on sin, but his gracious gift of the solution to the sin problem to all who repent of their sin and receive the gospel by faith. What human ability cannot do, God provides to those who turn to Him and acknowledge their need—both right standing and enablement to live in it (Isa. 45:24; Dan. 9:18). Isaiah pictured righteousness as God adorning us with a rich robe in his love for us (Isa. 61:10). The most familiar verse concerning righteousness, and the one quoted by Paul in Gal. 3:6, is Gen. 15:6, "[Abram] believed in the Lord; and he counted it to him as righteousness." By faith, Abraham had a right relationship with God; he fulfilled the Lord's expectations of his life.

Thus, righteousness often refers to a summation of relationship that goes beyond behavior, but certainly expects a response in actions that flow from the relationship and reflect appreciation for the desires, the character and the will of the other person—God. The OT may often seem to stress good works as being rewarded (1 Sam. 26:23). However, when a person understands the presentation of the holistic view of life in the OT, he sees why righteous acts represent and flow out of a right relationship with the true Source of all righteousness—God. Good works do not save a person, but they must follow from salvation faith. Ezekiel 3, 18, 33, make it clear that a person who turns from righteousness dies in sin, and a person who turns from wickedness to righteousness will live. This is not just a matter of moral behavior, but of covenant worship and relationship with the Lord. That is what Deut. 6:25 means when Moses explains that careful obedience of the Law given by God "will be our righteousness." It is the outward sign of the inward relationship of deep reverence and love for God. This is what He looks for in people, not legalistic conformity to rules. Amos called for this true righteousness to flow down like a river (Amos 5:24). When it does, it includes righteous, just, fair, kind, generous, compassionate treatment of other people, especially the needy and vulnerable, because they are created and loved by God just as we are.

The Lord will raise up a righteous (HED #6926) Branch from David's line Who will reign wisely and do justice and righteousness, and his name will be the Lord our righteousness (HED #6928). The result of the Lord's righteous rule and purposes being fulfilled in the earth will be peace—harmony with God and others and restful security in the Lord (Isa. 32:16f). Proverbs 12:28 promises, "In the way of righteousness is life; and in the pathway threof there is no death." (Complete Biblical Library Hebrew-English Dictionary)

Tsedaqah - 157x in 150v - Usage: honesty(1), justice(1), merits(1), right(2), righteous(1), righteous acts(3), righteous deeds(7), righteously(1), righteousness(136), rights(1), vindication(3).

Gen. 15:6; 18:19; 30:33; Deut. 6:25; 9:4ff; 24:13; 33:21; Jdg. 5:11; 1 Sam. 12:7; 26:23; 2 Sam. 8:15; 19:28; 22:21,25; 1 Ki. 3:6; 8:32; 10:9; 1 Chr. 18:14; 2 Chr. 6:23; 9:8; Neh. 2:20; Job 27:6; 33:26; 35:8; 37:23; Ps. 5:8; 11:7; 22:31; 24:5; 31:1; 33:5; 36:6,10; 40:10; 51:14; 69:27; 71:2,15f,19,24; 72:1,3; 88:12; 89:16; 98:2; 99:4; 103:6,17; 106:3,31; 111:3; 112:3,9; 119:40,142; 143:1,11; 145:7; Prov. 8:18,20; 10:2; 11:4ff,18f; 12:28; 13:6; 14:34; 15:9; 16:8,12,31; 21:3,21; Isa. 1:27; 5:7,16,23; 9:7; 10:22; 28:17; 32:16f; 33:5,15; 45:8,23f; 46:12f; 48:1,18; 51:6,8; 54:14,17; 56:1; 57:12; 58:2; 59:9,14,16f; 60:17; 61:10f; 63:1; 64:6; Jer. 4:2; 9:24; 22:3,15; 23:5; 33:15; 51:10; Ezek. 3:20; 14:14,20; 18:5,19ff,24,26f; 33:12ff,16,18f; 45:9; Dan. 9:7,16,18; Hos. 10:12; Joel 2:23; Amos 5:7,24; 6:12; Mic. 6:5; 7:9; Zech. 8:8; Mal. 3:3; 4:2

Related Resources on Righteousness: 

In Zephaniah 3:20 (commentary) we read

“At that time I will bring you in, Even at the time when I gather you together; Indeed, I will give you renown and praise Among all the peoples of the earth, When I restore your fortunes before your eyes,” Says the LORD.

Praise (08416)(tehillahתְּהִלָּה) is a feminine noun derived from the verb halal and sometimes denotes a quality or attribute of some person or thing, "glory or praiseworthiness". Tehillah means praise or adoration and describes the speaking of positive words about the excellence of another (2 Chr 20:22). Tehillah in some contexts can speak of renown or reputation (Jer 49:25). In Ps 111:10 tehillah describes the character of God which deserves praise. In Deut 10:21 Moses speaking to Israel records that God "is your praise."

The Septuagint translates tehillah in Isa 61:11 with the Greek noun agalliama (not used in NT) which means rejoicing, joyful, worship. Beloved, don't miss this point -- agalliama speaks of great and exceeding joy and comes from the verb agalliao (used in the NT - Mt 5:12-note, of Mary's spirit when she was told she would bear the Messiah = Lk 1:47-note) which means in essence to jump for joy. The Spirit is painting quite a vivid picture of the glorious time to come when the Righteous Branch, the Messiah reigns the world from His Temple in Jerusalem. This will be a time of exceeding joy for all redeemed Jews and it will be on display before all the nations (Gentiles). Dear Gentile believer you will witness this time of abundant praise. One gets a picture of an almost continual time of worship and praise, not just 15-30 minutes before a sermon on Sunday!

To spring up before all the nations (Heb = goy, plural = goyim used in modern Yiddish sometimes as a derogatory term, but it will not be derogatory in the Millennium!) - The Hebrew "in the sight" or "in front of." The TWOT says "Prominently before." (e.g., Ps 119:46 "I will also speak of Your testimonies before kings And shall not be ashamed. " and  in Ps 90:8 "you have placed your iniquities before you." Woe!)  The Septuagint translates neged with the preposition enantion which means in the presence of. The picture is that this Jewish "fruit" will be public, visible for all Gentiles to see. Gary Smith adds that "This partially explains why the nations will come to Zion and will join in this praise of God (Isa 52:10; 60:6, 9; 66:18)."

College Press NIV Commentary - The closing note, before the nations, reminds the covenant people that they are blessed not only for their own enjoyment, but also for the consequent blessing to others who need to see God's light.

Gilbrant - In the spring, it is a beautiful sight to see the seeds that were planted in a field or garden spring up. So the Lord will do something beautiful as He causes righteousness and praise to spring up in front of all nations. The parallel with Isa 61:10 shows that the praise is because of the salvation the Lord gives through his suffering and resurrected Servant. This is a reason for his joy. (Complete Biblical Library Commentary)

Spring up...spring up (06779) (tsamach) is a verb which means to sprout, spring up, grow up and speaks of literal growth (Ge 2:5, 9, 3:18, etc) and figurative growth (trouble in Job 5:6, truth = Ps 85:11). The first use in Isa 61:11 is literal and the second is figurative. I love the picture that it is God and I assume His Spirit Who so controls these Jewish believers in the Millennial Kingdom that righteousness and praise spring up supernaturally. O glorious day! Maranatha!

David Guzik - The blessing of God grows. It isn’t manufactured, but it grows. There is a sense in which we can never make something grow. No one can get inside of a seed and “turn on” the genetic component that makes the seed spring forth, and bud. The blessing of life and growth is miraculously within the seed. But we can provide the right environment for the seed to bud, grow, and be fruitful. That’s also how we receive and flourish in God’s blessings. We can’t “make” or “manufacture” them. But we can put our hearts and minds in the right environments of faith, fellowship, and obedience, to see blessing grow and flourish.

Related Resource:

  • Spurgeon's Sermon on Isaiah 61:11 - Spring


The last verse of the chapter gives reassurance of Divine victory over evil.

1. The Symbol of Victory (Isaiah 61:11)

“As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the LORD God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations” (Isaiah 61:11). The symbol is that of a garden in which plants spring up as surely as you plant the seed. This says God’s victory is very certain. Righteousness and praise for God will eventually win out. The seed in the garden will indeed grow and so God will defeat evil.

2. The Sureness of Victory (Isaiah 61:11)

“So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations” (Isaiah 61:11). We note four truths from this text about the sureness of victory.

• The promise of victory. “So the LORD God will cause.” This promise of victory comes from the Lord Himself. It is therefore a great and unfailing promise.
• The purity of victory. “So the Lord GOD will cause righteousness … to spring forth before all nations.” As we noted earlier in this chapter, God accomplishes His plans and purposes with character. He does not lie or cheat to achieve success. Holiness is His method.
• The praise from victory. “Praise to spring forth before all the nations.” God will be honored and though the nations of the world refuse to honor Him now, the time is coming when the nations will honor Him.
• The place of victory. “Before all the nations” The restoration of Israel is not the only place God will have respect. He will be given deference by all nations. “Every knee shall bow … every tongue … confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Philippians 2:10, 11).

Frog And Toad

Read: Isaiah 61:10-11 

As the garden causes the things that are sown in it to spring forth, so the Lord God will cause righteousness . . . to spring forth. —Isaiah 61:11

One of my favorite children’s books is Frog And Toad Together by Arnold Lobel. Frog had a garden that Toad admired, and he wanted one too. So Frog told him: “It is very nice, but it was hard work.” When he gave Toad some flower seeds, Toad quickly ran home and planted them.

“Now seeds,” said Toad, “start growing.” He tried very hard to make his garden grow. He shouted at the seeds, read them long stories, and sang songs to them—but they didn’t grow.

“What shall I do?” cried Toad. “Leave them alone,” Frog said. “Let the sun shine on them, let the rain fall on them. Soon your seeds will start to grow.” Then one day, little green plants appeared. “At last,” shouted Toad, “my seeds have stopped being afraid to grow! But you were right, Frog. It was very hard work.”

So many people think it’s very hard work to grow in righteousness. We must spend time reading the Word, praying, and cultivating our faith by being with other believers. But our progress in holiness is still dependent on God. As He shines His face upon us and rains His love into our lives, we will grow. Then righteousness will begin to “spring forth” (Isaiah 61:11). Don’t be discouraged if growth comes slowly. Soon you will have a garden.

Within the seed lies God’s creative power—
He’s given us the joy to see it grow;
And when He puts new life within our heart,
His wonder-working power we can know. 

Spiritual growth depends on the water of God’s Word and the sunshine of His love.

By David Roper (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. — Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

The Old Promise And The New Covenant:
Jeremiah 31:31-34  
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.*

  *Associate Professor of Old Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Bannock-burn, Deerfield, Illinois.

One of the most important, yet most sensitive of all theological texts, is the new covenant theme of Jeremiah 31:31–34. Hardly has the exegesis of this passage begun when the interpreter discovers to his great delight and consternation that he is involved in some of the greatest theological questions of our day. No matter what he says, some evangelicals are bound to be scandalized because of their commitments either to a covenental or dispensational understanding of theology. Nevertheless, the issues are too exciting and the passage is too important for a simple retreat to past theological battlelines. For one thing, God’s action in historical events has made the contemporary evangelical too responsible and blameworthy for him to simply repeat the previous generation’s theology. For another, too many excellent points have been made by both of the current evangelical schools of interpretation to abandon the attempt for a reproachment.

The Issues At Stake

  The time is now ripe for evangelical scholarship to restate for our age our credos on the following relationships: (1) the amount of continuity and discontinuity between the two testaments, (2) the separate and/or identical parts played by Israel and the Church in the composition of the people and purpose of God in the past and the future, and (3) the crucial importance of authorial will, i.e., the truth as intended by the writers of Scripture as a basis for resolving the present stalemate on a hermeneutical stance and a Biblical philosophy of history.
  This latter question is handled so brilliantly in its basic theoretical argumentation by E. D. Hirsch (1)  that no attempt will be made to repeat his invincible arguments here. Evangelicals would be well advised to study this volume carefully and then apply its insights to such debate-able areas as eschatological hermeneutics. (2) The other two questions however, will be features in the ensuing discussion.

1. E. D. Hirsch, Jr., Validity in Interpretation. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.

2. See the writer’s paper “The Eschatological Hermeneutics of ‘Epangelicalism’: Promise Theology” JETS, XIII (1970), 91–99.

The Old Promise

  The promise of God is one of the greatest unifying themes running throughout the various books of the Bibre and binding them into one organic whole.  (3) Interesting enough, the Old Testament itself possessed no single, special word to designate the idea of “promise”; rather it has a series of rather ordinary words: dibber, “to. speak” (4); ‘amar, “to say” (5); sabac, “to swear”; sebucah, “oath” (6); berakah, blessing” (7); and menuhah, “rest.” (8) When these words have God as their subject and his chosen people as the recipients of the divine word, action, or person, they are properly translated as “promise” or connected with the promise theme. In addition to these terms, there are repeated formulas which epitomize the content of the promise, e.g., the gospel itself is the heart of the promise: “In your seed, all the nations of the earth shall be blessed.” (9) Another is the tripartite formula, “I will be your God, you shall be my special possession and I will dwell (sakan) in the midst of you.” (10)

3. See Foster R. McCurley, Jr., “The Christian and the O.T. Promise,” Lutheran Quarterly. XXII (1970), pp. 401-10 for the most recent exploration of this theme. Also F. C. Fensham, “Covenant, Promise and Expectation in the Bible,” Theologische Zeitschrift. XXIII (1967), pp. 305-22. And Cleon L. Rogers, Jr., “The Covenant with Abraham and Its Historical Setting,” Bibliotheca Sacra 127 (1970), pp. 241-56.

4. Ibid., p. 402, n. 2. MeCurley counts over 30 cases of dibber as “promise.” The Promised (dibber) items include: (1) the land: Ex. 12:25; Deut. 9:28; 12:20; 19:8; 27:3; Jos. 23:5, 10; (2) blessing: Deut. 1:11; 15:6; (3) multiplication of his possession: Deut. 6:3; 26:18; (4) rest: Jos. 22:4; I Kings 8:56; (5) all good things promised: Jos. 23:15; and (6) a dynasty of David’s throne: II Sam. 7:28; I Kings 2:24; 8:20, 24, 25, 56; 9:5; I Chron. 17:26; II Citron. 6:15, 16; Jer. 33:14. As a “Promise” (daber) it appears in I Kings 8:50; Psa. 105:42.

5. Ibid. about 7 cases; e.g. Num. 14:40; II Kings 8:19; Psa. 77:8; Neh. 9:15, 23; II Chron. 21:7.

6. Gen. 26:3; Deut. 8:7; I Chron. 10:15–18; Psa. 105:9; Jer. 11:5. See Gene M. Tucker, “Covenant Forms and Contract Forms,” Vetus Testamentum XV. (1965), pp. 487-503 for use of “oath” with the promise.

7. Gen. 12:1–3 et pasim

8. Gen. 49:15; Deut. 12:9; I Kings 8:50; I Chron. 22:9; 28:2; Psa. 95:11; 132:8, 14; Isa. 11:10; 28:12; 66:1; Jer. 45:3; Mic. 2:10; Zech. 9:1.

9. Gen. 12:3; 18:18; 22:18; 26:4; 28:14. cf. Paul’s estimate of this in Gal. 3:8 and Norman C. Habel, “The Gospel Promise to Abraham,” Concordia Theological Monthly. (1969), pp. 346-55.

10. Gen. 17:7, 8; 28:21; Ex. 6:7; 29:45; Lev. 11:45; 22:33; 25:38; 26:12, 44, 45; Num. 15:41; Deut. 4:20; 29:12–13; etc. Jer. 7:23; 11:4; 24:7; 30:22; 31:1; 31:33; 32:38; Ezek. 11:20; 14:11; 30:28; 37:27; Zech. 8:8; 13:9.

  Contrary to most current exposition and thinking, the promise is actually God’s single all encompassing declaration which is repeated, unfolded and ultimately completed “in that day” of our Lord. Highlights of this single promise can be located in the proto-evangelium of Genesis 3:15, the Abrahamic covenant of Genesis 12:1–3, the Davidic covenant of II Samuel 7 (11) and the new covenant of Jeremiah 31; but under no condition must these predictions and actualizations of the promise be scattered into many separate disconnected Messianic prophecies. Willis J. Beecher’s work, still the best commentary on this general theme, is at pains to make just this point. (12)

11. Otto Eissfeldt, “The Promises of Graco to David in Isaiah 55:1–5, ” in Israel’s Prophetic Heritage (ed. Bernard W. Anderson), pp. 196-207.

12. Willis J. Beether, The Prophets and the Promise. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1963 (r.p. of 1905 Thomas Crowell publication), pp. 175-85. He fails to make the previous point, i.e. the connection of the promise of the land and nation with the events of the second advent of Christ. See also the fine article by Paul S. Minear, “Promise,” Interpreter s Dictionary of the Bible III, Nashville; Abingdon Press, 1962, pp. 893-96.

  The New Testament has more than forty references to the promise and uses the technical term epaggelia, and its cognates epaggelma and epaggelomai. In Luke-Acts, the promise is still the same one made with Abraham and his seed (Acts 7:5, 17; 26:6–7). In his ten references to the “promise,” Luke centers on the work of the risen Lord (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4; 2:33) and the Holy Spirit (Acts: 1:5; 2:33).

  Paul’s letters also refer the promise back to Abraham (Gal. 3:16, 19), but Paul also carries it way beyond Abraham’s day to include not only the present offer of the gospel in our age (Gal. 3:8; Rom. 4:20–21), but even to the “inheritance of the world” at the conclusion of this age (Rom. 4:13)—the Holy Spirit being God’s down-payment and guarantee of this inheritance “until we acquire possession of it” (Eph. 1:14). Amazingly, Paul repeats the same tripartite formula so frequently cited by the Old Testament in II Corinthians 6:16, i.e., “I will dwell among them … and I will be their God and they shall be my people.” This formula, he contends, is part of the “promise” and he claims that these realities are now being fulfilled among believers in II Corinthians 7:1.

  Hebrews also makes the promise the center of its message of grace and hope in some 18 references (Heb. 6:17–18). More: importantly this book “notes the difference between receiving the promise and receiving what is promised. In receiving the promise, recipients are declared heirs; in receiving what is promised, they obtain their inheritance” (13) (Heb. 9:15). Therefore the promise is one continuous, unfolding declaration consummated not only in the arrival, death and resurrection of Christ, or even in the spiritual seed now receiving the gospel which previously evangelized Abraham (Gal. 3:8); but as the general epistles declare, this single promise will only reach its most glorious realization when we “abide in the Son and in the Father (I John 2:24) and “eternal life” is fully realized. It reaches to the second coming of Christ (II Peter 3:4, 9–10), to our receiving “the crown of Life” (I John 2:5), and even on into the enjoyment of “the new heavens and the new earth” (II Peter 3:13). Finally, as John concludes the book of Revelation by describing the new heavens and the new earth, he hears the tripartite formula once more: “God shall dwell with them, they shall be his people and he shall be their God who is always with them” (Rev. 21:3). This single promise is so unified, yet so all encompassing in its numerous specifications and span of time, that it must be reexamined as the Bible’s own key category for theological organization.

13. Paul S. Minear. Ibid., p. 895. (italics ours).

  Covenant theologians have stressed the covenant form rather than the total promise content of those covenants; therefore the emphasis has fallen on the church’s present reception of the promise as God’s new Israel. Dispensationalists on the other hand, have stressed the ultimate reception of what is promised; therefore the emphasis has fallen on Israel’s inheritance of the land and the kingdom of God. Obviously, both are pointing to valid Biblical teaching found in the single promise spanning both testaments. If reproachment is that close, let us investigate the possible connections the Scripture makes between this old promise and Jeremiah’s new covenant.

The New Covenant

  The only place in the Old Testament where the expression “new covenant” occurs is Jeremiah 31:31. However it would appear that the idea is much more widespread. Based on similar content and contexts, the following expressions can be equated with the new covenant: the “everlasting covenant” in seven passages (14), a “new heart” or a “new spirit” in three or four passages,(15) the “covenant of peace” in three passages (16), and “a covenant” or “my covenant” which is placed “in that day” in three passages (17)—making a grand total of sixteen or seventeen major passages on the new covenant.

14. Jer. 32:40; 50:5; Ezek. 16:60; 37:26; Isa. 24:5; 55:3; 61:8

15. Ezek. 11:19; 18:31; 36:26; Jer. 32:39 (LXX)

16. Isa. 54:10; Ezek. 34:25; 37:26.

17. Isa. 42:6; 49–8; Hos. 2:18–20; Isa. 59:21. For additional passages on the new covenant see Stefan Porubcan, Sin in the Old Testament: A Soteriological Study. Rome: Slovak Institute, 1963, pp. 481-512.

  Still, Jeremiah 31:34 is the locus classicus on the subject. This may be validated from several lines of evidence. Firstly, the unique appearance of the word “new” in this passage stimulated Origen to be the first to name the last 27 books of the Bible “The New Testament.” (18) Secondly, it was the largest piece of text to be quoted in extenso in the New Testament-Hebrews 8:8–12. The writer of Hebrews even partially repeats the same long quotation a few chapters later in 10:16–17. Thirdly, it was the subject of nine other New Testament texts: four dealing with the Lord’s Supper (19), three additional references in Hebrews (20) and two passages in Paul dealing with “ministers of the new covenant” and the future forgiveness of Israel’s sins.  (21) Again, we are presented with another important Biblical theme which promises to unify the two testaments. This is the theme we now wish to explore.

18. T. H. Home, Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. I, p. 37. Also Gerhardus Vos. Biblical Theology, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1954, p. 321 for a similar assessment. Also Albertus Pieters, The Seed of Abraham. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1950, p. 61

19. Luke 22:20; I Cor. 11:25; Matt. 26:28; Mark 14:24.

20. Heb. 9:15; 10:13; 12:24

21. II Cor. 3:6; Rom. 11:27

The Book Of Comfort: Jeremiah 30-33

  Probably the best analysis of the first half of Jeremiah’s little book of comfort is the work by Charles Briggs. Observing the introductory formula of “thus says the Lord” and its expansion, he divided chapters 30–31 into six strophes. The resulting topics and sections are: (1) The time of Jacob’s trouble, 30:1–11; (2) The healing of the incurable wound, Jer 30:12–31:6; (3) Ephraim, God’s firstborn, Jer 31:7–14; (4) Rachel weeping for her children, Jer 31:15–22; (5) The restoration of Israel in Judah and the new covenant, Jer 31:23–34; and (6) God’s inviolable covenant with the nation Israel, Jer 31:35–40. (22) The whole context meticulously connects the new covenant strophe with a literal restoration of the Jewish nation. This includes not only the larger context of these six strophes and the second half of the “Book of Comfort” (Jer. 32–33), but also the immediate context of Jeremiah 31:27–28 and 31:35–36. On this point almost all commentators are agreed; at least initially so.

22. Charles A. Briggs, Messianic Prophecy. New York: Scribners, 1889, pp. 246-57. The same outline was essentially repeated in Geo. H. Cramer, “Messianic Hope in Jeremiah,” Bibliotheca Sacra (1958), pp. 237-46.

The Persons Addressed In The New Covenant

  Just as the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants were made directly with each of these men, so the new covenant was made with all the house of Israel and the whole house of Judah. Putting it in this form may open up some new paths for discussion, for while there seems to be no argument over who was originally addressed, there is everything but a consensus when it comes to identifying who participates in the benefits of all three covenants.
  But haven’t the dispensationalists conceded a point when they agree that the Christian’s gospel and the Christian’s spiritual seed were both announced in the Abrahamic covenant (e.g., Gal. 2:8, 29). (23)

23. When Charles Ryrie comments on the new covenant, he says “The occurrences of the term New Covenant in the New Testament shows that there is a wider meaning than to Israel alone. Some of the blessings of the new covenant with Israel are blessings which we enjoy now as members of the body of Christ.” The Basis of Premillennial Faith. New York: Loizeaux Bro., 1953, p. 124. Again Ryrie says in Dispensationalism Today, Chicago: Moody Press, 1965, p. 145-46: “If our concept of the Kingdom were as broad as it appears to be in Scriptures and our definitions of the Church as strict as it is in the Scriptures, perhaps non-dispensationalists would cease trying to equate the Church with the Kingdom and dispensationalists would speak more of the relationship between the two.” We agree wholeheartedly and urge this state of affairs to begin immediately.

  So also should the covenant theologians concede the point that it is too late in history to be arguing over whether God will restore a national Israel or not. There are just too many historical events and too many explicit texts (some well beyond the Babylonian Exile, e.g., Zech. 10:8–12; Rom. 9–11) to shut the door on a revived Israelite nation thesis. Indeed, there are some real signs of encouragement that this subject is also open for renegotiation by many covenant theologians. (24)

24. Henrikus Berkhof, Christ the Meaning of History. Richmond: John Knox Press, 1966, pp. 136-53. “At any rate, with the surprising geographical and political fact of the establishment of the state of Israel, the moment has come to begin to watch for political and geographical elements in God’s activities, which we have not wanted to do in our Western dualism, docetism and spiritualism.” (p. 153) Cf. also John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans. (NIC) II, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965, pp. 65-100. Commenting on Romans 11:27 he concludes, “Thus the effect is that the future restoration of Israel is certified by nothing less than the certainty belonging to covenental institution.” (p. 100) In a footnote on that page he observes, “It is worthy to note that although Paul distinguishes between Israel and Israel, seed and seed, Children and children, (cf. 9:6–13) he does not make this discrimination in terms of ‘covenant’ so as to distinguish between those who are in the covenant in the broader sense and those who are actual partakers of its grace.” The older view may be found in Albertus Pieters, The Prophetic Prospects of the Jews, or Fairbairn vs. Fairbairn: 1930. For the older literature on the subject consult David Brown, The Restoration of the Jews: The History, Principles and Bearings of the Question. Edinburgh, 1861.

  With just this much concession on either side, the way would be opened for the synthesis provided us in two great works: The aforementioned Willis J. Beether’s work (25) on the promise doctrine and George N.H. Peter’s Theocratic Kingdom (26). Peter demonstrates that:

      “… We have decided references to… [a] renewed Abrahamic covenant, conjoined with the Dayidle [as] being a distinguishing characteristic of, and fundamental to, the Messianic period, e.g., Micah 7:19–20; Ezekiel 16:60–63; Isaiah 55:3; etc.” (27)

 25. Willis J. Beecher. op cit. See this writer’s JETS paper cited in n. 2 for an enthusiastic endorsement of his main thesis.

26. George N. G. Peters. The Theocratic Kingdom I. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1957.

27. Ibid., p. 322.

Further he argues that:

      “The decided and impressive testimony of (the)…early fathers … [was] that they were living under this renewed Abrahamic covenant as the seed of Abraham [by adoption and engrafting into the covenanted elect nation], which the death and exaltatio.n of Jesus ensured to them of finally realizing in the inheriting of the land with Abraham.” (28)

28. Ibid., p. 324 (italics his). The fathers he has in mind are chiefly Barnabas, Papias, Justin Martyr, Irenaeas, etc.

  Here is a new footing for an old stalemate. T’he new covenant is indeed addressed to a revived national Israel of the future, but nonetheless by virtue of its specific linkage with the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants and promises contained in all of them, it is therefore proper to speak of gentile participation. Under the promise doctrine, they were to be the seed of Abraham. They would be adopted and grafted into God’s covenant nation Israel.  (29)The hope of their final inheritance stood or fell with Israel’s reception of the land and the kingdom. But what of the new covenant? Did it change all of this: the text itself must now be investigated.

29. Refer to the above discussion on the old promise and the conclusion of this paper.

The Renewed Covenant

  The most frequent title given to the new covenant in the Old Testament is the “everlasting covenant.” (30) It was a ratification of the “sure-mercies of David” (Isa. 55:3) and of God’s covenant made with Israel “in the day of Israel’s youth,” i.e., with patriarchs (Ezek. 16:60). Perhaps the key texts connecting the “everlasting covenant” with the future “covenant of peace” made with nature and with such contents of the Jeremiah’s covenant as “I will be their God and they shall be my people” are Ezekiel 37:26–27 and Jeremiah 32:38–42. These old promises are restated anew for a nation on the brink of national disaster and extinction. Notice then its continuity with the past.

30. See above n. 14.

  Calvin did not miss this point when he commented on Ezekiel 16:61, for he called the “everlasting covenant” a “renewed covenant” and con-eluded by saying “that the new covenant so flowed from the old, that it was almost the same in substance while distinguished in form. (31)

31. See Marten H. Woustra’s fine recent article. Obviously this very question troubles Woudstra greatly as he tries to decide between Calvin and C. Charles Aalders in “The Everlasting Covenant in Ezekiel 16:59–63, ” Calvin Theological Journal. VI (1971), pp. 22-48.

  Still some are apt to be misled by Jeremiah’s use of the word “new.” They will, therefore, deny that this is the same promise doctrine announced to Abraham, reiterated and enlarged for David. But Biblical usage must supply our definition here also. Both Hebrew hadas and Greek kainos frequently mean “to renew” or “to restore,” as in the “new commandment,” (which is actually an old one)(32) the “new moon,” the “new creature in Christ,” the “new heart,” and the “new heavens and new earth.”(33)

32. Cf. John 13:34; I John 2:7; II John 5

  While the exact distinction between kainos and neos is often contested, the discussion in Kittel’s TDNT appears convincing. Neos refers to something brand new or distinctive in time or origin, often lacking maturity. Kainos, on the other hand, refers to what is new in nature, better than the old or superior in value or attraction. (33) The Hebrew word, however, must serve both ideas: new in time and renewed in nature. Thus for Jeremiah 31, the context, content and New Testament vocabulary distinction decides in favor of a “renewed covenant.” (34)

34. Johannas Behm, “Kainos,” in TDNT. (ed. by Gerhard Kittel and translated by Geoffrey W. Bromiley) III, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1965. p. 447. The suggested etymology for neos is an Indo-European word from the adverb nu, “now, of the moment.” Kainos is probably from a root ken “freshly come, or begun.” Notice while the aspect of kind of newness is stressed in our word kainos, the aspect of time is also present. Bernard S. Childs in Myth and Reality in the O.T. (2nd ed.). Naperville: SCM, 1962, p. 77, stresses that hadas is cognate to Semitic roots like Akkadian edesu meaning “to restore” ruined altars or cities.

35. Only in Heb. 12:24 is neos used of the covenant to stress the recent mediation of Christ’s death as a surety for the new covenant. Hence it was recent in time.

The Contrast With The Mosaic Covenant

  Jeremiah 31:32 explicitly contrasts the new covenant with an old covenant made during the era of the Exodus. However, both Jeremiah and the writer of Hebrews are emphatic in their assessment of the trouble with the old covenant made in Moses’ day: it was with the people, not with the covenant-making God, nor with the moral law or promises reaffirmed from the patriarchs and included in that old covenant. Jeremiah 31:39, specifically says “which covenant of mine, they broke.” And so is Hebrews explicit on the matter: “…finding fault with them…because they continued not in (his) covenant.” (Heb. 8:8–9)

  Was the Mosaic covenant conditioned on the people’s obedience for fulfillment and all the other covenants unconditional as dispensationalists claim? Or were all the covenants conditioned on obedience and consequently, as covenant theologians claim, the Jewish aspect of the covenants is obviously to be deleted since Israel failed to obey? (36) But this may all be just a semantical battle. The word heperu, “they brake,” also occurs in the Abrahamic covenant (Gen. 17:14, “the uncircumcised man …shall be cut off; he hath broken (heper) my covenant. (37) Even the eternal, irrevocable covenant with David contained some qualifications which allowed for individual invalidation, frustration, or destruction of the benefits of that covenant, e.g., I Chronicles 22:13; 28:7; Psalm 132:12. Obedience was no more an optional feature for a genuine trust in the promise or gospel in that day than it is in ours today. But neither was individual rejection or breaking of the covenant a sign that God’s purpose had been frustrated and stopped. (38) Jeremiah 31:35–37 argued that the stars would fall out of the sky and the planets would spin out of their orbits before God would abandon his pledge to the nation of Israel!

36. Notice the crucial importance of this feature in dispensationalism in Charles Ryrie, op. cit., pp. 52-61 and the strong disavowal in O. T. Allis Prophecy and the Church, Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1945, pp. 31-48. See George N.H. Peters, op. cit., I, p. 176. See the distinction between obligatory types (Sinai covenant) and promissory types (Abrahamic and Davidic covenants) by M. Weinfeld, “The Covenant of Grant in the O.T. and in the Ancient Near East,” Journal of American Oriental Society, XC (1970), pp. 184-203. The “royal grant” treaties of the Ancient Near East with its gift of land and dynasty are the models for the promissory form. If sustained, this will open new avenues of conversation with covenantal theologians.

37. As pointed out by Marten Woudstra, op. cit., p. 28 (cf. Lev. 26:15, Jer. 11:10 to Ezek. 16:59.)

38. See the writer’s discussion, “Leviticus 18:5 and Paul: Do this and You Shall Live (Eternally?) ,” JETS, XIV (1971), pp. 21-24, especially n. 27.

  Covenant theologians have properly emphasized the Biblical role of the “obedience of faith” which follows all genuine saving faith, but they have erred when they pressed the case for the conditionality of all of God’s covenants as the condition for divine fulfillment of them especially in the sensitive area of national Israel’s future. (39) It confuses the determined, sovereign will and on-going purpose of the Promising God with the individual participation in that will in any given time or age.

39. See Archibold Hughes, A New Heaven and A New Earth. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1958, pp. 115 ff. Also Martin J. Wyngaarden, The Future of the Kingdom in Prophecy and Fulfillment. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1955, p. 133. He knows that Hebrews 6:17, 18 makes the Abrahamic covenant “immutable,” but he quickly restricts it to the promise of children, passing the promise of the holy land over to the Christians heavenly hope! Roderick Campbell, Israel and the New Covenant. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Co., 1954, pp. 199-205 uses the I Samuel 2:30, 35 (rejection of Eli’s family from the priesthood) and I Samuel 13:13–14 (rejection of Saul from everlasting kingdom) as texts which put limits on the colam of what would otherwise appear to be unconditional prophecies. Cf. Patrick Fairbairn, Prophecy ... 1856, (2nd ed.) Chap. IV and part I. But did God obliterate the priesthood or kingship in Israel? Wasn’t it only a question of who participated in it, not whether or not it was fulfilled?

  On the other hand, dispensationalists stressed the unconditionality of .the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants which emphasis from the standpoint of the sovereign purpose was more than justified; but it failed to account for that Biblical human responsibility which was attached to these covenants. Since the “if” of individual participation was so clear in the case of the Mosaic covenant, dispensationalists wrongly isolated and lowered it below the other covenants. That covenant is lower, but only because of its planned obsolescence; not because it asked for obedience as an evidence of real faith and love towards God. (40)

40. For a fuller discussion of this point, see the writer’s paper, “Leviticus 18:5 and Paul” op. cit. Subsequent to writing this article I discovered J. O. Buswell, Jr. A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1962, pp. 314-20.

The Contents Of The New Covenant

  Now all of this discussion is what makes the new covenant so important; for one of its most perplexing features is that almost all of the items mentioned in Jeremiah’s new covenant are but a repetition of some aspect of the promise doctrine already known in the Old Testament.

  The section begins with the eschatological formula so frequently seen in the Old Testament “Behold, the days are coming.” It concludes with a motive-clause which has divine forgiveness as the foundation of the covenant. According to Bernard W. Anderson’s excellent structural analysis of the pasage the expression ne’um yhwh, “says the Lord,” appears four times to set forth the main structure of the unit; “twice in the first section: at its beginning (v. 31a), and at its end (v. 32b) and twice in the second section: at the beginning (v. 33a) and at the end (v. 34b). The latter occurrence sets off the climactic ki statement of v. 34e. (41)

41. The New Covenant and the Old,” in the O.T. and Christian Faith (ed. by Bernhard W. Anderson), New York: Harper and Row, 1963, p. 230, n. 11. He also notes on p. 229 that “the particle ki is employed effectively to introduce the decisive moments in the movement of thought. The first in v. 33 is adversative and, the other two in v. 34 are climactic ki usages. For this climactic use he cites James Muilenburg, “The Linguistic and Rhetorical usage of the Particle Ki in the O.T.,” HUCA, XXXIL (1961), pp. 135ff.

  The items of continuity contained in the new covenant are: (1) the same covenant-making God (beriti), (2) the same law (torati), (3) the same divine fellowship (“I will be your God”), (4) the same seed (‘‘You shall be my people”), and (5) the same forgiveness. Each of these items merits some further discussion and documentation.

  The same nation that had previously broken a divinely ordained covenant is now offered a renewal of that covenant with many of the same features and more. There is a diversity of covenants in the Old Testament but one God and one promise doctrine throughout all of them.

  The kernel and essence of both the old and the new covenant was the law of the Lord. (42) Even the Mosaic exposition of the law urged its placement in the heart of the believer (Deut. 6:6, 7; 10:12; 30:6). Indeed some Old Testament righteous men did claim that it was in their heart: “Thy law is within my heart,” Psalm 40:8 and Psalm 37:31; The difference seems to be a relative one only.

42. (C. F. Keil, The Prophecies of Jeremiah. II, Grand Rapids: Eerdrnans, 1956, pp. 38-39.

  There was no greater or more frequent formula for the promise doctrine than the declaration “I will be your God and you shall be my people.” As observed above, this theme of divine fellowship and special ownership is one of Israel’s most treasured concepts. But gentiles also now claim the same promise verbatim in II Corinthians 6:16. Again, the difference can only be in extent and degree, but not in kind.

  Even God’s gracious forgiveness was experienced by the O.T. man. Not only did God announce himself at least eight times as “The Lord, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness… forgiving iniquity and transgressions and sins,” (43) but he forgave and forgot Israel’s sin as on the Day of Atonement (44) and in such great Psalms as Ps 103, Ps 32 and Ps 51. Such is the scope of the continuity between the covenants. (45)

43. Ex. 34:6, 7; Num. 14:18; Deut. 5:9, 10; Psa. 86:15; Joel 2:13; Jonah 4:1; Jer. 34:18; Neh. 9:17.

44. Henry Melvill, The Golden Lectures: Forty-Six Sermons delivered at St. Margaret’s Church, Lothbury on Tuesday Mornings from January 1 to December 23, 1856. London: James Paul. The sermon delivered on March 18, 1956 entitled “The Jewish and Christian Sacrifices” is an excellent exposition of Leviticus 16. One of the most stimulating discussions on this general subject to recently appear from an evangelical pen is that by Geoffrey W. Grogan. “The Experience of Salvation in the Old and New Testaments, Vex Evangelica, (ed. Donald Guthrie), 1967, pp. 4-26.

45. So great is the continuity factor that Wilber B. Wallis believes Jeremiah is using an ironical figure of speech when he calls it a new covenant: “Irony in Jeremiah’s Prophecy of the New Covenant.” ]ETS XII (1969), p. 107-110.

  But there are also items of discontinuity. Some of these are: (1) a universal knowledge of God (Jer. 31:34), (2) a universal peace in nature and in military hardware (Isa. 2:4; Ezek. 34:25; 37:26; Hos. 2:18), (3) a universal material prosperity (Isa. 61:8; Jer. 32:41; Ezek. 34:26–27; Hos. 2:22), (4) an age of the spirit and (5) a sanctuary to exist forever in the midst of Israel (Ezek. 37:26, 28).

  These passages sound like the “all Israel” of Romans 11:26 and “every knee bowing” and “every tongue confessing” of Philippians 2:10–11. Jeremiah emphasizes the words “all of them” by placing it first in the Hebrew clause and by the expression “from the most insignificant of them unto the greatest of them they all shall know me.” (46)

46. Jeremiah does not mean possessing intellectual data only, but in accordance with his usage in Jeremiah 22:15, 16 it is a knowledge which results in appropriate action and living. No doubt this is the explanation of the apparent contradiction of not needing teachers in Jeremiah 31:34 and the need for the Lord to teach in that day in Isaiah 2:3. No one will need to say “Get with it, don’t you know Yahweh is King.” All will know that and act accordingly!

  Then too the full realization of the tripartite promise formula is only totally realized in the eschaton, for a great voice out of heaven cries in Revelation 21:3, “Behold the tabernacle (remember O.T. sakan?) is with men and he will dwell with them and they shall be his people and God himself shall be with them and be their God.” 

  We conclude that the new covenant is a continuation of the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants with the same single, promise doctrine sustained in them all. No features have been deleted except the ceremonies and ordinances of the “old” Mosaic covenant whose phasing out was planned for long ago. The better covenant remained.

The Better Covenant: The Abrahamic-Davidic-New Covenant

  The key to understanding the “better covenant” of Hebrews 8:6 is to observe the equation made between the Abrahamic promise (Heb. 6:13; 7:19, 22) and the new covenant (Heb. 8:6–13). The Abrahamic is not the first covenant according to that writer’s numbering, but a second better covenant since the Mosaic covenant was the first to be actualized and experienced by the nation. The Mosaic covenant did have its faults (Heb. 8:7), not because of a fault in the Covenant-making God, but because many of its provisions were deliberately built with a planned obsolescence. Its ceremonies and civil institutions were mere copies of the heavenly reality (Ex. 25:9; Heb. 9:23) and temporary teaching devices until the “surety” of the “better covenant” arrived. (Heb. 7:22).

  Indeed the Sinaitic covenant was an outgrowth of the Abrahamic, yet since many of its provisions were merely preparatory, its place had to be yielded to the more enduring one now that Jesus had died. In fact, “God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath.” Thus “by two immutable things (i.e., the promise and the oath) in which it was impossible for God to lie, we…have a strong consolation” (Heb. 6:17, 18). “These two immutable things are God’s original promise (Gen. 12:1–3 …) and his solemn oath on Mount Moriah.”  (47)Sinai could not eradicate these two things.

47. John J. Mitchell, “Abram’s Understanding of the Lord’s Covenant,” Westminster Theological Journal, XXXII (1969–70), p. 39. Cf. Gen 22:16–18.

  Some equate the person and work of Christ in this first advent with the sum and substance of new covenant, using such verses as Isaiah 42:6 and 49:8. Christ himself is a “covenant of the people” in the same sense as he is “a light to the gentiles” viz., the source, mediator, or dispenser of light and so the mediator of the new covenant. By his death (the cup of the last supper), Jesus renews the covenant, but it is not an entirely new covenant.

  Neither is it a fulfilling of just the Spiritual promises made to Abraham's seed. The middle wall of partition has been broken down between believing Jews and believing Gentiles, but this says nothing about national destinies (Eph. 2:13–18). Paul says that gentile believers have become part of the “household of God” (Eph. 2:19) and of “Abraham’s seed” (Gal. 3:16–19). But, they also are to be “heirs” according to the promise (Gal. 3:19) with an “inheritance” to come which is “The hope of their calling” (Eph. 1:18)—even the “eternal inheritance” promised to Abraham (Heb. 9:15). (48) With Christ’s resurrection power shared with all of Abraham’s seed, it is now possible to eventually realize all the promises made to Abraham: geographical, political and spiritual. The first advent will climax in the second advent and all the promises made to Abraham will then be realized. (49)

48. “... He is the Mediator of the New Covenant, that by means of death...they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance’ (Heb. 9:15). George N.H. Peters comments, “This promise, let the reader notice, of inheriting the land forever is found in the Abrahamic covenant.” Op. Cit. p. 322. Again on pp. 397-98 he comments: “We cannot too strongly insist upon this necessary engrafting of Gentile believers, so that by virtue of a real relationship they may inherit. For, it has become a great and radical defect in many, if not nearly all, of our systems of theology to overlook the reason why a seed must be raised up unto Abraham, and to proceed in their elucidations of the subject, as if Abraham and the Jews had very little to do with the matter. This is a very serious fundamental blunder, violating unity.” For support he cites Ephesians 2:12 passage about Gentiles being “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel” and “strangers from the covenants of promise” and in Ephesians 2:19 we were “strangers and foreigners, but now fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God.” In Ephesians 3:6 the believing Gentiles become “fellow heirs of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.” Engraphing into the Jewish olive tree (Rein. 11:17–25) is necessary because “salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22) and since there is only one fold, and one shepherd, Jesus wishes to bring the “other sheep...which are not of this fold” (John 10:16). To see a stimulating, but ambivalent attempt to handle this question of the “New Inheritance,” consult Roderick Campbell’s chapter in Israel and the New Covenant. Philadelphia: Presbyterian and Reformed Publ. Go., 1954, pp. 157-64. The best word study on the O.T. and N.T. words is by J. Herrmann in The Theological Dictionary of The New Testament, III, (ed. by G. Kittel and translated by G. W. Bromiley), pp. 769-76 and the same vol. by L. H. Foerster, pp. 781-85.

49. See John Bright, “An Exercise in Hermeneutics: Jeremiah 31:31–34, ” Interpretation, XX (1966), pp. 188-210; especially pp. 144, 195, 108.


      “It would appear that Hebrews does not warrant a radical break between the ‘old’ and the ‘new’…The Old Testament saints already participate in the New Age in anticipation even though in time they still belong to the old order… The ‘new’ is only different from the old in the sense of completion.” (50)

50. Jacob Jocz, The Covenant: A Theology of Human Destiny. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1968, p. 244. Also E. W. Hengstenberg, Christology of the O.T., II. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1872, ,pp. 424-45. On p. 433 he calls the difference between the old and the new ‘A relative one only, not an absolute one.” On p. 432 he says, “The new in substance the realization of the old.” John Calvin agrees also in his commentary on Jeremiah 31:31ff. “The substance remains the same.”

  The “new” began with the “old” promise made to Abraham and David. Its renewal perpetuated all of those promises previously offered by the Lord and now more. Therefore Christians presently participate in the new covenant (51) now validated by the death of Christ. They participate by a grafting process into the Jewish olive tree and thus continue God’s single plan.(52) However, in the midst of this unity of the “people of God” and “household of faith” there is an expectation of a future inheritance. The “hope of our calling” and the “inheritance” of the promise (in contradistinction to our present reception of the promise itself) awaits God’s climactic work in history with a revived national Israel, Christs second advent, his kingdom, and the heavens and the new earth. In that sense, the new covenant is still future and everlasting but in the former sense, we are already enjoying some of the benefits of the age to come. (53) With the death and resurrection of Christ the last days have already begun (Heb. 1:1), and God’s grand plan as announced in the Abrahamic-Davidic-New Covenant continues to shape history, culture and theology.

51. Most recent dispensationalists see two (!) new covenants in the N.T. This only avoids half of the truth to which the covenantal theologians are pointing. For exceptionally clear, but similarly worded statements cf. John Walvoord, “The New Covenant with Israel.” Bibliotheca Sacra (1953), pp. 193-205; John Walvoord, “The New Covenant with Israel.” Bib. Sac. (1946), pp. 16-27; Charles Ryrie, Basis of Premillennial Faith. New York: Loizeaux Press, 1953, pp. 105-125; Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1964, pp. 116-28.

52. This is only to respect the authorial will in Romans 11. While we are in general agreement with the dispensationalist hermeneutic we cannot go as far as C. C. Ryrie goes in Dispensationalism Today, p. 154. “If the dispensational emphasis on the distinctiveness of the church seems to result in a dichotomy, let it stand as long as it is a result of a literal interpretation.” This is to play Pentecost off against the promise and the engrafting process at the expense of the latter.

53. See the delightful study of George Ladd, The Gospel of the Kingdom. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1959.