Isaiah 61:1

The Year of the Lord's Favor

1 1The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me, because the LORD has 2anointed me to bring good news to the poor;[a] he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and 3the opening of the prison to those who are bound;[b]

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Isaiah 61:1 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me
According to the Targum, these are the words of the prophet concerning himself; and so say Aben Ezra and Kimchi; but the latter elsewhere says F16 they are the words of the Messiah, who should say, "because the Lord hath anointed me"; and another of their writers F17 is in a doubt about them; either, says he, they are the words of the prophet with respect to the Messiah, or the words of the prophet concerning himself; but there is no doubt but the Messiah himself is the person speaking, as appears from ( Luke 4:17-21 ) , on whom the Spirit of God was; not his grace and gifts only, but the person of the Spirit, the third Person in the Trinity, equal with the Father and the Son; to whom several divine actions are ascribed, and to whom many things relating to Christ are attributed, and who is described as residing on him, and who, by the baptist, was seen upon him, ( Isaiah 11:2 ) ( John 1:32 John 1:33 ) the phrase denotes his continuance with him, whereby he was qualified, as man and Mediator, for his office: because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek:
not the Lord, the Spirit that was upon him, for Christ was anointed with the Holy Ghost; but Jehovah the, Father, he was the anointer of Christ, by whom he was anointed in some sense from everlasting, being invested by him with the office of Mediator, ( Proverbs 8:21 ) and in the fulness of time, in the human nature, at his birth and baptism, with the Holy Spirit, his gifts and grace, without measure, ( Psalms 45:7 ) ( Acts 10:38 ) , hence he has the name of Messiah or Anointed, and from him his people have the anointing which teacheth all things: and hereby he was qualified, as a prophet, to preach good tidings to the meek; such as are sensible of sin, and humbled for it; submit to the righteousness of Christ; ascribe all they have to the grace of God and have a mean opinion of themselves, and patiently bear every affliction: or "poor", as in ( Luke 4:18 ) , the poor of this world, and as to their intellectuals, and spirit, who are sensible of their spiritual poverty, and seek the true riches, to these the Gospel is "good tidings"; and to such Christ preached good tidings concerning, the love, grace, and mercy of God; concerning peace, pardon, righteousness, life and salvation, by himself; concerning the kingdom of God, and the things appertaining to it: he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
whose hearts are smitten and made contrite by the Spirit and Word of God, and are truly humbled under a sense of sin; who are cut to the heart, have wounded spirits, and in great pain; these Christ binds up, by speaking comfortably to them; by applying his blood; by discovering the free and full pardon of their sins; and for this, as Mediator, he had a mission and commission from his Father; he came not of himself, but he sent him: to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening, of the prison to
them that are bound;
to such who were captives to sin, Satan, and the law, and as it were prisoners to them, shut up by them, and in them, and held fast there; but Christ, as he is the author of liberty; obtains it for his people, and makes them free with it, so he proclaims it in the Gospel; a liberty from sin, from the damning and governing power of it; a freedom from the curse and condemnation of the law; a deliverance from Satan, as of a prey from the mighty, or as of prisoners from the prison house. The allusion is to the proclamation of liberty, in the year of jubilee, ( Leviticus 25:10 ) ( Isaiah 49:9 ) . The Targum is,

``to the prisoners appear in light.''
It may be rendered, "open clear and full light to the prisoners" F18, so Aben Ezra interprets it; (See Gill on Luke 4:18).

F16 Sepher Shorash. rad. (xvm)
F17 Ben Melech in loc.
F18 (xwq-xqp Myrwoalw) "et vinctis visum acutissimum", Vitringa.

Isaiah 61:1 In-Context

1 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;
2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;
3 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.
4 They shall build up the ancient ruins; they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations.
5 Strangers shall stand and tend your flocks; foreigners shall be your plowmen and vinedressers;

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Cross References 3

  • 1. Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 42:1; Isaiah 48:16; Cited Luke 4:18, 19
  • 2. Psalms 45:7
  • 3. Isaiah 45:13; Psalms 146:7

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. Or afflicted
  • [b]. Or the opening [of the eyes] to those who are blind; Septuagint and recovery of sight to the blind
The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.