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Isaiah 42

God's Promise concerning His Servant

1 "1Behold, My 2Servant, whom I uphold; My 3chosen one in whom My 4soul delights. I have put My 5Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth 6justice to the nations.
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 7justice.
4 "He will not be 8disheartened or crushed Until He has established justice in the earth; And the 9coastlands will wait expectantly for His law."
5 Thus says God the LORD, Who 10created the heavens and 11stretched them out, Who spread out the 12earth and its offspring, Who 13gives breath to the people on it And spirit to those who walk in it,
6 "I am the LORD, I have 14called You in righteousness, I will also 15hold You by the hand and 16watch over You, And I will appoint You as a 17covenant to the people, As a 18light to the nations,
7 To 19open blind eyes, To 20bring out prisoners from the dungeon And those who dwell in darkness from the prison *.
8 "21I am the LORD, that is 22My name; I will not give My 23glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.
9 "Behold, the 24former things have come to pass, Now I declare 25new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you."
10 Sing to the LORD a 26new song, Sing His praise from the 27end of the earth! 28You who go down to the sea, and 29all that is in it. You 30islands, and those who dwell on them.
11 Let the 31wilderness and its cities lift up their voices, The settlements where 32Kedar inhabits. Let the inhabitants of 33Sela sing aloud, Let them shout for joy from the tops of the 34mountains.
12 Let them 35give glory to the LORD And declare His praise in the 36coastlands.
13 37The LORD will go forth like a warrior, He will arouse His 38zeal like a man of war. He will utter a shout, yes, He will raise a war cry. He will 39prevail against His enemies.

The Blindness of the People

14 "40I have kept silent for a long time, I have kept still and restrained Myself. Now like a woman in labor I will groan, I will both gasp and pant.
15 "I will 41lay waste the mountains and hills And wither all their vegetation; I will 42make the rivers into coastlands And dry up the ponds.
16 "I will 43lead the blind by a way they do not know, In paths they do not know I will guide them. I will 44make darkness into light before them And 45rugged places into plains. These are the things I will do, And I will 46not leave them undone."
17 They will be turned back and be 47utterly put to shame, Who trust in idols, Who say to molten images, "You are our gods."
18 48Hear, you deaf! And look, you blind, that you may see.
19 Who is blind but My 49servant, Or so deaf as My 50messenger whom I send? Who is so blind as he that is 51at peace with Me, Or so blind as the servant of the LORD?
20 52You have seen many things, but you do not observe them; Your ears are open, but none hears.
21 The LORD was pleased for His righteousness' sake To make the law 53great and glorious.
22 But this is a people plundered and despoiled; All of them are 54trapped in caves, Or are 55hidden away in prisons; They have become a prey with none to deliver them, And a spoil, with none to say, "Give them back!"
23 Who among you will give ear to this? Who will give heed and listen hereafter?
24 Who gave Jacob up for spoil, and Israel to plunderers? Was it not the LORD, against whom we have sinned, And in whose ways they 56were not willing to walk, And whose law they did not 57obey?
25 So He poured out on him the heat of His anger And the 58fierceness of battle; And it set him aflame all * around, Yet he did not recognize it; And it burned him, but he 59paid no attention *.

Isaiah 42 Commentary

Chapter 42

The character and coming of Christ. (1-4) The blessings of his kingdom. (5-12) The prevalence of true religion. (13-17) Unbelief and blindness reproved. (18-25)

Verses 1-4 This prophecy was fulfilled in Christ, ( Matthew 12:17 ) . Let our souls rely on him, and rejoice in him; then, for his sake, the Father will be well-pleased with us. The Holy Spirit not only came, but rested upon him, and without measure. He patiently bore the contradiction of sinners. His kingdom is spiritual; he was not to appear with earthly honours. He is tender of those oppressed with doubts and fears, as a bruised reed; those who are as smoking flax, as the wick of a lamp newly lighted, which is ready to go out again. He will not despise them, nor lay upon them more work or more suffering than they can bear. By a long course of miracles and his resurrection, he fully showed the truth of his holy religion. By the power of his gospel and grace he fixes principles in the minds of men, which tend to make them wise and just. The most distant nations wait for his law, wait for his gospel, and shall welcome it. If we would make our calling and election sure, and have the Father delight over us for good, we must behold, hear, believe in, and obey Christ.

Verses 5-12 The work of redemption brings back man to the obedience he owes to God as his Maker. Christ is the light of the world. And by his grace he opens the understandings Satan has blinded, and sets at liberty from the bondage of sin. The Lord has supported his church. And now he makes new promises, which shall as certainly be fulfilled as the old ones were. When the Gentiles are brought into the church, he is glorified in them and by them. Let us give to God those things which are his, taking heed that we do not serve the creature more than the Creator.

Verses 13-17 The Lord will appear in his power and glory. He shall cry, in the preaching of his word. He shall cry aloud in the gospel woes, which must be preached with gospel blessings, to awaken a sleeping world. He shall conquer by the power of his Spirit. And those that contradict and blaspheme his gospel, he shall put to silence and shame; and that which hinders its progress shall be taken out of the way. To those who by nature were blind, God will show the way to life and happiness by Jesus Christ. They are weak in knowledge, but He will make darkness light. They are weak in duty, but their way shall be plain. Those whom God brings into the right way, he will guide in it. This passage is a prophecy, and is also applicable to every believer; for the Lord will never leave nor forsake them.

Verses 18-25 Observe the call given to this people, and the character given of them. Multitudes are ruined for want of observing that which they cannot but see; they perish, not through ignorance, but carelessness. The Lord is well-pleased in the making known his own righteousness. For their sins they were spoiled of all their possessions. This fully came to pass in the destruction of the Jewish nation. There is no resisting, nor escaping God's anger. See the mischief sin makes; it provokes God to anger. And those not humbled by lesser judgments, must expect greater. Alas! how many professed Christians are blind as the benighted heathen! While the Lord is well-pleased in saving sinners through the righteousness of Christ he will also glorify his justice, by punishing all proud despisers. Seeing God has poured out his wrath on his once-favoured people, because of their sins, let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should be found to come short of it.

Cross References 59

  • 1. Matthew 12:18-21
  • 2. Isaiah 41:8; Isaiah 43:10; Isaiah 49:3-6; Isaiah 52:13; Isaiah 53:11; Matthew 12:18-21; Philippians 2:7
  • 3. Luke 9:35; 1 Peter 2:4, 6
  • 4. Matthew 3:17; Matthew 17:5; Mark 1:11; Luke 3:22
  • 5. Isaiah 11:2; Isaiah 59:21; Isaiah 61:1; Matthew 3:16; Luke 4:18, 19, 21
  • 6. Isaiah 2:4
  • 7. Psalms 72:2, 4; Psalms 96:13
  • 8. Isaiah 40:28
  • 9. Isaiah 11:11; Isaiah 24:15; Isaiah 42:10, 12; Isaiah 49:1; Isaiah 51:5; Isaiah 60:9; Isaiah 66:19
  • 10. Psalms 102:25, 26; Isaiah 45:18
  • 11. Psalms 104:2; Isaiah 40:22
  • 12. Psalms 24:1, 2; Psalms 136:6
  • 13. Job 12:10; Job 33:4; Isaiah 57:16; Daniel 5:23; Acts 17:25
  • 14. Isaiah 41:2; Jeremiah 23:5, 6
  • 15. Isaiah 41:13; Isaiah 45:1
  • 16. Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 27:3
  • 17. Isaiah 49:8
  • 18. Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 51:4; Isaiah 60:1, 3; Luke 2:32; Acts 13:47; Acts 26:23
  • 19. Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 35:5
  • 20. Isaiah 49:9; Isaiah 61:1
  • 21. Is 43:3, 11, 15
  • 22. Exodus 3:15; Psalms 83:18
  • 23. Exodus 20:3-5; Isaiah 48:11
  • 24. Isaiah 48:3
  • 25. Isaiah 43:19; Isaiah 48:6
  • 26. Psalms 33:3; Psalms 40:3; Psalms 98:1
  • 27. Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 62:11
  • 28. Psalms 65:5; Psalms 107:23
  • 29. Exodus 20:11; 1 Chronicles 16:32; Psalms 96:11
  • 30. Isaiah 42:4
  • 31. Isaiah 32:16; Isaiah 35:1, 6
  • 32. Isaiah 21:16; Isaiah 60:7
  • 33. Isaiah 16:1
  • 34. Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15
  • 35. Isaiah 24:15
  • 36. Isaiah 42:4
  • 37. Exodus 15:3
  • 38. Isaiah 9:7; Isaiah 26:11; Isaiah 37:32; Isaiah 59:17
  • 39. Isaiah 66:14-16
  • 40. Psalms 50:21; Isaiah 57:11
  • 41. Isaiah 2:12-16; Ezekiel 38:19, 20
  • 42. Isaiah 44:27; Isaiah 50:2; Nahum 1:4-6
  • 43. Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 30:21; Isaiah 32:3; Jeremiah 31:8, 9; Luke 1:78, 79
  • 44. Isaiah 29:18; Ephesians 5:8
  • 45. Isaiah 40:4; Luke 3:5
  • 46. Joshua 1:5; Psalms 94:14; Isaiah 41:17; Hebrews 13:5
  • 47. Psalms 97:7; Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 44:9, 11; Isaiah 45:16
  • 48. Isaiah 29:18; Isaiah 35:5
  • 49. Isaiah 41:8
  • 50. Isaiah 44:26
  • 51. Isaiah 26:3; Isaiah 27:5
  • 52. Romans 2:21
  • 53. Isaiah 42:4; Isaiah 51:4
  • 54. Isaiah 24:18
  • 55. Isaiah 24:22
  • 56. Isaiah 30:15
  • 57. Isaiah 48:18; Isaiah 57:17
  • 58. Isaiah 5:25; Isaiah 9:19
  • 59. Isaiah 29:13; Isaiah 47:7; Isaiah 57:1; Hosea 7:9

Footnotes 9

Chapter Summary


This chapter begins with a prophecy concerning the Messiah, under the character of the servant of the Lord, and his elect, whom he supported, and was well pleased with; whose work is pointed at, and for which he was well qualified with the Spirit without measure, Isa 42:1 and is described by his humility and meekness, Isa 42:2, by his tenderness to weak and ignorant persons, Isa 42:3 and by his courage and resolution, Isa 42:4 then follow his call to his work, and the several parts of it, introduced with setting forth the greatness of God that called him, as the Creator of the heavens and of the earth, and of men upon it, Isa 42:5-7, whose name is Jehovah, and whose glory is incommunicable to a creature, and whose knowledge reaches to future things, which are predicted by him, Isa 42:8,9, and then Gentiles are called upon to praise the Lord, and give glory to him, partly for the above promises concerning the Messiah, Isa 42:10-12, and partly for the destruction of his enemies, Isa 42:13-15, and also for his gracious regard to such who had been blind and ignorant, Isa 42:16, the confusion of idolaters is prophesied of, and an exhortation is given them to make use of the means of light and knowledge, Isa 42:17,18, and the blindness, ignorance, and stupidity of the Jews, are exposed, though there was a remnant among them with whom the Lord was well pleased, for the sake of the righteousness of his Son, Isa 42:19-21, but as for the body of the people, they were to be given up to the spoilers and robbers for their sins and disobedience, and be the butt of the divine wrath and vengeance, Isa 42:22-24.

Isaiah 42 Commentaries

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