Isaiah 42:21

21 It pleased the LORDfor the sake of his righteousness to make his law great and glorious.

Isaiah 42:21 in Other Translations

21 The LORD is well pleased for his righteousness' sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable.
21 The LORD was pleased, for his righteousness' sake, to magnify his law and make it glorious.
21 Because he is righteous, the LORD has exalted his glorious law.
21 God intended, out of the goodness of his heart, to be lavish in his revelation.
21 The Lord was pleased, because of His righteousness, to magnify [His] instruction and make it glorious.

Isaiah 42:21 Meaning and Commentary

Isaiah 42:21

The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness sake
This may be either understood of what the Lord had done for these people in time past, and which is mentioned as an aggravation of their stupidity, disobedience, and ingratitude; he had delighted in them, and chose them above all people upon the earth, and distinguished them with his favours, which he did for the sake of his own righteousness or faithfulness to his promises made to their fathers: he magnified them with the law, and made them honourable
F1; gave them a law which made them great and honourable in the esteem of others; see ( Deuteronomy 10:15 ) ( Deuteronomy 7:6 Deuteronomy 7:7 ) ( 4:6-8 ) or it may be interpreted of what the Lord would do hereafter, either in a way of grace and favour; that though they were now so ignorant and disobedient, yet in the times of salvation, in the days of the Messiah, these blind shall see, and deaf shall hear, not for their sakes, but for his righteousness sake; when he will magnify his law and make it honourable, and the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of him; this way go the Jewish commentators: or rather in a way of judgment, that the Lord would be well pleased in glorifying his justice or righteousness, in the rejection of such a blind and stupid people, who refused to receive the Messiah, against so much light and evidence; and would "magnify the law", and support the authority of it, and "make it honourable", by punishing the transgressors of it; but I am inclined to think that this has respect to a remnant among these people, according to the election of grace; or to the Lord's people in common, whether Jews or Gentiles, with whom he "is well pleased", or in whom he delights. The Lord is well pleased with his Son, and with him as his servant, as Mediator, for his righteousness sake, as in ( Isaiah 42:1 ) to which there may be some respect; and he is well pleased with all his people as considered in him; the love he bears to them, is a love of complacency and delight: the choice he has made of them; the things he has laid up for them; the care of their persons in Christ, and salvation by him; the marrying of them to him, and the taking them into his family, show how well pleased he is with them: he delights in them, as they are regenerated and sanctified by his Spirit; the exercise of their graces, and the performance of their duties and services, are acceptable to him through Christ; his presence with them, the fellowship with himself he grants unto them, the account he makes of them as his jewels, fully demonstrate his well pleasedness in them: but this is not on their own account; for they are polluted and loathsome creatures in themselves, guilty of sin, deserving of wrath; and not for any righteousness of their own, which is imperfect, filthy, and not answerable to the law; which, instead of being made honourable, is dishonoured by it; there is no justification by it, and no acceptance with God through it; but for the sake of the righteousness of Christ, which is perfect, pure, and spotless; which justifies from all sin, and makes comely and beautiful, and glorifies the justice of God, as well as his righteous law, as follows: he will magnify the law, and make it honourable:
that is he for whose righteousness sake God is well pleased: the law of God is great and honourable in itself, from the author, matter, and usefulness of it; and it becomes more so by Christ the Son of God being made under it; by his perfect obedience to it, and by his bearing the penalty of it, in the room and stead of his people; and by holding it forth in his hands, as a rule of walk and conversation to them; by all which it receives more honour and glory than by all the obedience of creatures to it, angels or men, though ever so perfect.


F1 (rydayw hrwt lydgy) "magnificabat (eum) doctrina et reddebat magnificum", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "magnificum [illum] ficit lege et condecoravit", Vitringa.

Isaiah 42:21 In-Context

19 Who is blind but my servant, and deaf like the messenger I send? Who is blind like the one in covenant with me, blind like the servant of the LORD?
20 You have seen many things, but you pay no attention; your ears are open, but you do not listen.”
21 It pleased the LORDfor the sake of his righteousness to make his law great and glorious.
22 But this is a people plundered and looted, all of them trapped in pits or hidden away in prisons. They have become plunder, with no one to rescue them; they have been made loot, with no one to say, “Send them back.”
23 Which of you will listen to this or pay close attention in time to come?

Cross References 2

  • 1. Isaiah 43:25
  • 2. S ver 4; 2 Corinthians 3:7
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