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Isaiah 49:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

And now, saith the Lord "And now, thus saith Jehovah" - The word כה coh, before אמר amar, is dropped out of the text: it is supplied by eight MSS. (two ancient) of Dr. Kennicott's, two of De Rossi's, and the Septuagint, Syriac, and Vulgate.

Though Israel be not gathered "And that Israel unto him might be gathered" - Five MSS. (two ancient) confirm the Keri, or marginal correction of the Masoretes, לו lo, unto him, instead of לא lo, not, in the text; and so read Aquila; and the Chaldee, Septuagint, and Arabic omit the negative. But the Septuagint, MSS. Pachom, and 1. D. 2 express also the Keri לו lo by προς αυτον, to him.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

And now, saith the Lord that formed me - This verse contains the reason why he cherished the hope that his work would not be unaccepted. The reason is, that Yahweh had said to him that he should be glorious in his eyes, and that he would be his strength. He stood so high in his favor, and he had such assurances of that favor, that he could confidently commit himself to his care.

That formed thee from the womb - Who appointed me before I was born to the office of a servant to accomplish important purposes (see the notes at Isaiah 49:1).

To bring Jacob again to him - To recover the Jewish people again to the pure worship of Yahweh. To them the Messiah was first to be sent, and when they rejected him, he was to proffer the same salvation to the Gentiles (see Isaiah 49:6; compare Matthew 21:33-43). Accordingly the Saviour spent his life in preaching to the Jews, and in endeavoring to bring them back to God, and for this purpose he regarded himself as sent (Matthew 15:24; see Acts 3:26).

Though Israel be not gathered - This metaphor is taken from a scattered flock which a shepherd endeavors to gather, or collect to himself. There is great variety in the interpretation of this expression. The margin reads it, ‹That Israel may be gathered to him, and I may‘ be glorious. So Lowth, ‹That Israel unto him may be gathered.‘ So Noyes, ‹To gather Israel to him.‘ Jerome renders it, ‹Israel shall not be gathered.‘ The Septuagint renders it, ‹To gather Jacob unto him, and Israel.‘ The Syriac, ‹That I may gather Jacob unto him, and assemble Israel.‘ This variety has arisen front the different readings in the Hebrew text. The reading in the text is לא lo' (“not”); but instead of this the marginal reading, or the Qere‘ of the Masoretes is, לו lô “to him.” ‹Five manuscripts (two ancient),‘ says Lowth, ‹confirm the Qere‘, or marginal construction of the Masoretes; and so read Aquila, and the Chaldee, Septuagint, and Arabic.‘ Gesenius and Rosenmuller adopt this, and suppose that לא lo' is only a different form of writing לו lô Grotius and Hengstenberg render it as it is in our version. It is impossible to determine the true reading; and the only guide is the context, and the views which shall be entertained of the design of the passage. To me it seems that the parallelism demands that we should adopt the reading of the Keri, the Septuagint, the Chaldee, and the Syriac, and which has been adopted by Lowth. According to this, it means that he had been appointed to gather in the lost sheep of the house of Israel, and gave his life to it. Other parts of this statement Isaiah 49:4-6 show, that by them he was rejected, and that then salvation was sent to other parts of the world. Luther renders it, ‹That Israel be not carried away.‘

Yet shall I be - Or, “and” (ו ve) I shall be glorious. The sense is, that as the result of this appointment he would be in some way glorious in the sight of Yahweh. Though he would be rejected by the nation, yet he would be honored by God. He would not only approve his character and work, but would secure his being honored among people by making him the light of the Gentiles (compare Isaiah 43:4).

And my God shall be my strength - He might be rejected by the people, but in God he would find an unfailing source of support and consolation. It is not needful to say, that this applies most accurately to the cbaracter of the Redeemer as exhibited in the New Testament.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The great Author of redemption shows the authority for his work. The sword of his word slays the lusts of his people, and all at enmity with them. His sharp arrows wound the conscience; but all these wounds will be healed, when the sinner prays to him for mercy. But even the Redeemer, who spake as never man spake in his personal ministry, often seemed to labour in vain. And if Jacob will not be brought back to God, and Israel will not be gathered, still Christ will be glorious. This promise is in part fulfilled in the calling of the Gentiles. Men perish in darkness. But Christ enlightens men, and so makes them holy and happy.
Ellen G. White
Testimonies for the Church, vol. 7, 191

There are many who recognize no distinction between a common business enterprise, as a workshop, factory, or cornfield, and an institution established especially to advance the interests of the cause of God. But the same distinction exists that in ancient times God placed between the sacred and the common, the holy and the profane. This distinction He desires every worker in our institutions to discern and appreciate. Those who occupy a position in our publishing houses are highly honored. A sacred charge is upon them. They are called to be workers together with God. They should appreciate the opportunity of so close connection with the heavenly instrumentalities and should feel that they are highly privileged in being permitted to give to the Lord's institution their ability, their service, and their unwearying vigilance. They should have a vigorous purpose, a lofty aspiration, a zeal to make the publishing house just what God desires it to be—a light in the world, a faithful witness for Him, a memorial of the Sabbath of the fourth commandment. 7T 191.1

“He hath made my mouth like a sharp sword; in the shadow of His hand hath He hid me, and made me a polished shaft; in His quiver hath He hid me; and said unto me, Thou art My servant, O Israel, in whom I will be glorified.... It is a light thing that thou shouldest be My servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be My salvation unto the end of the earth.” Isaiah 49:2-6. This is the word of the Lord to all who are in any way connected with His appointed institutions. They are favored of God, for they are brought into channels where the light shines. They are in His special service, and they should not esteem this a light thing. Proportionate to their position of sacred trust should be their sense of responsibility and devotion. Cheap, common talk and trifling behavior should not be tolerated. A sense of the sacredness of the place should be encouraged and cultivated. 7T 191.2

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 678-9

This love is the evidence of their discipleship. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples,” said Jesus, “if ye have love one to another.” When men are bound together, not by force or self-interest, but by love, they show the working of an influence that is above every human influence. Where this oneness exists, it is evidence that the image of God is being restored in humanity, that a new principle of life has been implanted. It shows that there is power in the divine nature to withstand the supernatural agencies of evil, and that the grace of God subdues the selfishness inherent in the natural heart. DA 678.1

This love, manifested in the church, will surely stir the wrath of Satan. Christ did not mark out for His disciples an easy path. “If the world hate you,” He said, “ye know that it hated Me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept My saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for My name's sake, because they know not Him that sent Me.” The gospel is to be carried forward by aggressive warfare, in the midst of opposition, peril, loss, and suffering. But those who do this work are only following in their Master's steps. DA 678.2

As the world's Redeemer, Christ was constantly confronted with apparent failure. He, the messenger of mercy to our world, seemed to do little of the work He longed to do in uplifting and saving. Satanic influences were constantly working to oppose His way. But He would not be discouraged. Through the prophecy of Isaiah He declares, “I have labored in vain, I have spent My strength for nought, and in vain: yet surely My judgment is with the Lord, and My work with My God.... Though Israel be not gathered, yet shall I be glorious in the eyes of the Lord, and My God shall be My strength.” It is to Christ that the promise is given, “Thus saith the Lord, the Redeemer of Israel, and His Holy One, to Him whom man despiseth, to Him whom the nation abhorreth; ... thus saith the Lord: ... I will preserve Thee, and give Thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; that Thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves.... They shall not hunger nor thirst; neither shall the heat nor sun smite them: for He that hath mercy on them shall lead them, even by the springs of water shall He guide them.” Isaiah 49:4, 5, 7-10. DA 678.3

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Ellen G. White
This Day With God, 179

And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth. Isaiah 49:6. TDG 179.1

Tuesday morning, June 19. I have just looked at my watch; it is two o'clock. I dress, seek the Lord, and try to write a few words to go in the mail to Africa this morning. May the Lord help me in tracing each line.... TDG 179.2

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