The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 61

Isa 61:1

THE SPIRIT OF THE LORD IS UPON ME: "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; 51:16)" (NET notes).

FREEDOM FOR THE CAPTIVES: The 200,000 carried captive by Sennacherib's armies. Cp Isa 42:22; 45:13; 48:20; 49:9,20,21; 51:14; 60:9.

(NT) Fulfilled "this day" by Jesus in Luk 4:17-21. "The Spirit of the LORD is upon me" (cp Joh 1:32; Isa 11:2; 42:1; 48:16; Mic 3:8).

Isa 61:2

TO PROCLAIM THE YEAR OF THE LORD'S FAVOR: Why did Jesus stop here when quoting this passage? Poss to give added impact to what follows. Examples of this technique: Stephen in Act 7:47-50; Jesus in Mat 21:15,16 (Tes 50:251).

Isa 61:3

THOSE WHO GRIEVE IN ZION: Or, perhaps, "mourners OF Zion" -- ie, those carried captive to Babylon, lamenting their separation from Zion (cp Psa 137:1-5).

Isa 61:4

THE ANCIENT RUINS... THE PLACES LONG DEVASTATED: The 46 walled cities that Sennacherib destroyed (and prob burned) (Taylor Prism). Ct Moses' words in Lev 26:21,23 -- which follows immediately after the proclamation of Jubilee.

Isa 61:5

ALIENS... FOREIGNERS: "Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ" (Eph 2:12,13).

Isa 61:6

THE WEALTH OF NATIONS: Assyrian plunder, and gifts of tribute from other Gentile nations (2Ch 32:23). Cp Isa 60:5,17.

Isa 61:7

A DOUBLE PORTION: The double blessing of the Year of Jubilee: Lev 25:22.

Isa 61:9

The "seed" or descendants of my people -- spiritually -- will be found among the Gentiles (nations, goyim) and also among the peoples (amim, ref Israel).

Isa 61:10

DELIGHT... REJOICE: "After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied" (Isa 53:11). For this JOY he endured the cross (Heb 12:2). And so John the Baptist, the friend of the BRIDEGROOM, rejoiced too (Joh 3:29).

GARMENTS OF SALVATION: The "garments of salvation" are the garments of a priest (Exo 28:2,40; Psa 132:9,16; Isa 62:3; Exo 39:22); but they seem also to be the garments of a bridegroom -- an interesting combination!

Likewise, also, the priestly garments are in Scripture likened to the uniform and armaments of a warrior (cp Eph 6:10-17).

Both these additional aspects of the priest's service are instructive: (a) firstly, the priest as the mediator for God Himself, would represent God in His aspect as the Bridegroom, or Husband, of His people Israel, the Bride; and (b) the priest, like a warrior, would wage war against sin in all its manifestations, both personal and institutional -- cp 2Co 10:3-5: "For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ."

In Psa 45, as well as the Song of Songs, and especially in Rev 19; 21, our great High Priest Jesus Christ appears in his joint "offices" as a victorious general and a loving Bridegroom. And both these (superficially quite disparate) occupations are very appropriate!

BRIDEGROOM... BRIDE: Allusion to Hezekiah and his renewal of marriage with Hephzibah (Isa 62:4,5).

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