And he said
Or "even he said"; namely, the Lord his God, that called, appointed, and strengthened him for his service: it is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the
tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel; the tribes
of Jacob and the preserved of Israel
are the elect of God among the Jews; though the characters agree with all the chosen of God of other nations, who, are distinguished from the rest of the world, and are "preserved in Christ", ( Jude 1:1 ) , where they are preserved before they are redeemed and called; not from falling in Adam with the rest of mankind, nor from the general corruption of nature, nor from actual sins and transgressions; yet from the condemnation of the law, the damning power of sin, and the second death; the ground of which is, their being in the love of God, in the covenant of grace, and in the hands of Christ: and yet, notwithstanding this, they are in a most miserable condition as the descendants of Adam, and, in a state of nature; they are "fallen" creatures, which is supposed by the "raising them up" by Christ, whose work it is; they fell in Adam, and are fallen from a state of honour, friendship, and communion with God; from the glorious image stamped on man in his creation; from righteousness and holiness into sin and misery, poverty and beggary; into a very low estate indeed, and are not able to raise up themselves, being feeble and without strength, yea, dead in trespasses and sins; they are gone back from God, and out of the good way, and are gone astray like lost sheep, which is supposed by the "restoring" of them: now it is Christ's work to "raise up", "restore", or "return" these; he raises them to a state of justification and acceptance with God, to a better righteousness than they fell from, and to greater riches, honour, and glory; in consequence of redemption by Christ they are raised to a state of grace here, and to glory hereafter; they are brought nigh to God, from whom they were departed, sons to have access unto him and fellowship with him now, and to be with him for evermore. Now to do all this is said to be a "light thing"; it was not so in itself, it was a "great thing", famous and excellent, to be a servant of the Lord, and to be employed in such work as this; and so the Septuagint and Arabic versions render it; but this is to be understood either by way of interrogation, as by the Targum, Kimchi, Ben Melech, and so the Syriac version, "is it a matter of small moment that thou shouldest be my servant?" &c.; surely it is not; or, if it is, I will find thee other work to do: or else it is to be understood comparatively, the elect of God among the Jews being few, in comparison of those among the Gentiles; wherefore it was not work enough, nor honour enough, only to be employed in the redemption of them: and therefore it follows, I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles;
which supposes the Gentiles to be in a state of darkness, as they were before the coming of Christ, and the ministration of the Gospel to them; they were in the dark about the divine Being, the unity of God, and the persons in the Godhead; about the worship of God; about a future state, and about their own state and condition; and about revelation, the truths, doctrines, and ordinances of it: and this expresses, that Christ should be a "light" to them, as he has been, not only in a way of nature, as he is to every man, but in a way of special grace through the ministry of the word; not in his own person, for he only preached in Judea, but by his apostles, by whom he went and preached peace to them afar off; and particularly he was so to them by his Spirit, as a spirit of illumination; and so they came to have light in divine things, and which is a "gift" of the free grace of God. Simeon has respect to this passage, ( Luke 2:32 ) and the Apostle Paul cites it, and applies it to Gospel times, ( Acts 13:47 ) , it follows, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth;
Christ was given, that he might be the author of that salvation, which God had chosen and appointed his people to, and provided for them in covenant; and that being the salvation of his own people, he calls it his own salvation; and which should reach to them all everywhere, in the several parts of the world, and the corners and ends of it, east, west, north, and south, wherever they were. Kimchi refers this to the saving of the Gentiles, after the war of Gog and Magog, yet to come; and with it compares ( Isaiah 60:3 ) ( 66:23 ) .