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Isaiah 42:21

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

He win magnify the law "He hath exalted his own praise" - For תורה torah, the law, the Septuagint read תודה todah, praise.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness‘ sake - There is great variety in the translation and interpretation of this verse. Lowth renders it:

Yet Yahweh was gracious unto him for his truth‘s sake;

He hath exalted his own praise, and made it glorious.

Noyes renders it:

It pleased Yahweh for his goodness‘ sake

To give him a law great and glorious;

And yet it is a robbed and plundered people.

The Septuagint renders it, ‹The Lord God determined that he should be justified, and magnify his praise.‘ The Chaldee renders it, ‹Yahweh willed that Israel should be justified; he magnified the doers of his law, and comforted them.‘ The Syriac, ‹The Lord willed on account of his righteousness to magnify his law, and to commend it.‘ Vitringa explains it, ‹God has embraced the Jewish people in his love and favor, and regards them as acceptable to himself, not indeed on account of any merit of theirs, or on account of any external advantages, but on account of his own truth, fidelity, and equity, that he might fulfill the promises which he made to their fathers.‘ This seems to express the sense of the passage. According to this, it refers solely to the Jewish people, and not, as is often supposed, to the Messiah. The phrase, ‹is well pleased,‘ means that Yahweh takes delight in his people, or looks upon them with an eye of tenderness and affection. He finds pleasure in contemplating them as his people, and in regarding and treating thorn as such.

For his righteousness‘ sake - Not for the righteousness of his people, but on account of his own righteousness; that is, his own goodness, clemency, mercy, and forbearance. It is not because he sees in them anything that should win his love, or excite his favor, for he says Isaiah 42:22 that they are robbed, and plundered, and hid, and bound in prison. But Yahweh had selected their fathers as his own people. He had made them precious promises. He had designs of mercy toward them. He had given them a holy law. He had promised to be their protector and their God. On this accouter he was pleased with them still; and it was on account of his own fidelity and plighted protection, that he was delighted in them as his people. The word ‹righteousness,‘ therefore (צדק tsedeq ), is used to denote God‘s purpose to do right; that is, to adhere to his promises, and to maintain a character of fidelity and integrity. He would not fail, or violate his own pledges to his people.

He will magnify the law - The word ‹law‘ bore is used to denote the entire series of statutes, or legislative acts of God, in regard to the Jewish people - including all his promises and pledges to them. And the meaning is, that he would so deal with them as to make that law important in their view; so as to show that he regarded it as of infinite moment. He would adhere strictly himself to all his own covenant pledges in that law, so as to show that he regarded it as sacred and of binding obligation; and all his dealings with them under that law would be such as to magnify its importance and purity in their view. The Hebrew is, ‹he will make the law great;‘ that is, he will make it of great importance.

And make it honorable - Or, make it glorious, by himself showing a constant regard for it, and by so dealing with them that they should be brought to see and feel its importance. According to this, which is the obvious interpretation, the passage has no reference particularly to the Messiah. It is true, however, that the language hero used is such as would appropriately describe the work of the Redeemer; and that a large part of what he did in his public ministry, and by his atonement, was ‹to magnify the law and make it honorable;‘ - to vindicate its equity - to urge its binding obligation - to sustain its claims - to show that it could not be violated with impunity - and to demonstrate that its penalty was just. The whole effect of the Redeemer‘s work is to do honor to the law of God, nor has anything occurred in the history of our world that has done so much to maintain its authority and binding obligation, as his death on the cross, in the place of sinners.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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. $-$-$-ISA:43 * God's unchangeable love for his people. (1-7) Apostates and idolaters addressed. (8-13) The deliverance from Babylon, and the conversion of the Gentiles. (14-21) Admonition to repent of sin. (22-28)
Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The deliverance from Babylon is foretold, but there is reference to greater events. The redemption of sinners by Christ, the conversion of the Gentiles, and the recall of the Jews, are described. All that is to be done to rescue sinners, and to bring the believer to glory, is little, compared with that wondrous work of love, the redemption of man.
Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 466

Many religious teachers assert that Christ by His death abolished the law, and men are henceforth free from its requirements. There are some who represent it as a grievous yoke, and in contrast to the bondage of the law they present the liberty to be enjoyed under the gospel. GC 466.1

But not so did prophets and apostles regard the holy law of God. Said David: “I will walk at liberty: for I seek Thy precepts.” Psalm 119:45. The apostle James, who wrote after the death of Christ, refers to the Decalogue as “the royal law” and “the perfect law of liberty.” James 2:8; 1:25. And the revelator, half a century after the crucifixion, pronounces a blessing upon them “that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.” Revelation 22:14. GC 466.2

The claim that Christ by His death abolished His Father's law is without foundation. Had it been possible for the law to be changed or set aside, then Christ need not have died to save man from the penalty of sin. The death of Christ, so far from abolishing the law, proves that it is immutable. The Son of God came to “magnify the law, and make it honorable.” Isaiah 42:21. He said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law;” “till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law.” Matthew 5:17, 18. And concerning Himself He declares: “I delight to do Thy will, O my God: yea, Thy law is within My heart.” Psalm 40:8. GC 466.3

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Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 2, 201

In Christ were united the human and the divine. His mission was to reconcile God and man, to unite the finite with the infinite. This was the only way in which fallen men could be exalted through the merits of the blood of Christ to be partakers of the divine nature. Taking human nature fitted Christ to understand man's trials and sorrows, and all the temptations wherewith he is beset. Angels who were unacquainted with sin could not sympathize with man in his peculiar trials. Christ condescended to take man's nature and was tempted in all points like as we, that He might know how to succor all who should be tempted. 2T 201.1

As the human was upon Him, He felt His need of strength from His Father. He had select places of prayer. He loved to hold communion with His Father in the solitude of the mountain. In this exercise His holy, human soul was strengthened for the duties and trials of the day. Our Saviour identifies Himself with our needs and weaknesses, in that He became a suppliant, a nightly petitioner, seeking from His Father fresh supplies of strength, to come forth invigorated and refreshed, braced for duty and trial. He is our example in all things. He is a brother in our infirmities, but not in possessing like passions. As the sinless One, His nature recoiled from evil. He endured struggles and torture of soul in a world of sin. His humanity made prayer a necessity and privilege. He required all the stronger divine support and comfort which His Father was ready to impart to Him, to Him who had, for the benefit of man, left the joys of heaven and chosen His home in a cold and thankless world. Christ found comfort and joy in communion with His Father. Here He could unburden His heart of the sorrows that were crushing Him. He was a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. 2T 201.2

Through the day He labored earnestly to do good to others, to save men from destruction. He healed the sick, comforted the mourning, and brought cheerfulness and hope to the despairing. He brought the dead to life. After His work was finished for the day, He went forth, evening after evening, away from the confusion of the city, and His form was bowed in some retired grove in supplication to His Father. At times the bright beams of the moon shone upon His bowed form. And then again the clouds and darkness shut away all light. The dew and frost of night rested upon His head and beard while in the attitude of a suppliant. He frequently continued His petitions through the entire night. He is our example. If we could remember this, and imitate Him, we would be much stronger in God. 2T 202.1

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