Isaiah 63

Isaiah 63:1

מִי־זֶ֣ה׀ בָּ֣א מֵאֱד֗וֹם חֲמ֤וּץ בְּגָדִים֙ מִבָּצְרָ֔ה זֶ֚ה הָד֣וּר בִּלְבוּשׁ֔וֹ צֹעֶ֖ה בְּרֹ֣ב כֹּח֑וֹ אֲנִ֛י מְדַבֵּ֥ר בִּצְדָקָ֖ה רַ֥ב לְהוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

Who is this?  Coming from Edom, colored garments?  From Bozrah?  This one, honorable in his clothing?  Stooping in the greatness of his strength.  “I am speaking in righteousness, mighty to rescue.”

Paraphrase:  Look! Someone is coming.  He is coming from the direction of Edom and from the village of Bozrah!  He is wearing royal robes with bright colors and a crown of gold!  He is marching in triumph with banners flying.  He is marching with all his army in a display of unstoppable power and might.  Listen, he is speaking, “I am the Great King who does justice in the earth.  I am holy and true; I have the key of David; I open and no one shuts; I shut and no one can open it again. (Revelation 3:7)  I also deliver the needy when he cries; the poor also, and him that hath no helper. (Psalm 72:12)  There is no one like Me, Who rides the heavens to your help and through the skies in My majesty. I am your dwelling place, and underneath are My everlasting arms.  I will drive out the enemy from before you and say, ‘Destroy!‘ (Deuteronomy 33:26-27)

 

Comments:

Calvin over speaks (p337) in his commentary on this chapter.  “This chapter has been violently distorted by Christians, as if what is said here related to Christ, whereas the Prophet speaks simply of God himself; and they have imagined that here Christ is red, because he was wet with his own blood which he shed on the cross. But the Prophet meant nothing of that sort. The obvious meaning is, that the Lord comes forth with red garments in the view of his people, that all may know that he is their protector and avenger; for when the people were weighed down by innumerable evils, and at the same time the Edomites and other enemies, as if they had been placed beyond the reach of all danger, freely indulged in wickedness, which remained unpunished, a dangerous temptation might arise, as if these things happened by chance, or as if God did not care for his people, or chastised them too severely. If the Jews were punished for despising God, much more the Edomites, and other avowed enemies of the name of God, ought to have been punished.

The NET Bible notes say that צָעָה (to stoop) should be understood to be the word צָעַד (to march).

The righteousness here is God acting through His Servant to keep the terms of the covenant already established.

 


Isaiah 63:2

מַדּ֥וּעַ אָדֹ֖ם לִלְבוּשֶׁ֑ךָ וּבְגָדֶ֖יךָ כְּדֹרֵ֥ךְ בְּגַֽת׃

Why are your clothes red? and your garments as one treading the wine vat?

Paraphrase:  “But Great King!” we all shouted.  “Why are your clothes stained red?  You look like someone who has been treading grapes in a wine vat?”

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:3

פּוּרָ֣ה׀ דָּרַ֣כְתִּי לְבַדִּ֗י וּמֵֽעַמִּים֙ אֵֽין־אִ֣ישׁ אִתִּ֔י וְאֶדְרְכֵ֣ם בְּאַפִּ֔י וְאֶרְמְסֵ֖ם בַּחֲמָתִ֑י וְיֵ֤ז נִצְחָם֙ עַל־בְּגָדַ֔י וְכָל־מַלְבּוּשַׁ֖י אֶגְאָֽלְתִּי׃

The wine press I have trodden alone and from the peoples there is no man with me, and I am treading them down in My anger and the grape juice has splattered on my garments and all my clothes I have stained.

Paraphrase:  These red blotches you see all over my clothes is the blood of my enemies.  Just as the juice from the grapes splatters the garments of those treading the winepress, so I have stained my clothing red with the blood of My enemies whom I have trodden under My feet. (Revelation 14:18)  I had to do it alone; no one was with Me.  I fought the fight by Myself and gained the victory for My people.

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:4

כִּ֛י י֥וֹם נָקָ֖ם בְּלִבִּ֑י וּשְׁנַ֥ת גְּאוּלַ֖י בָּֽאָה׃

Because the day of retribution is in My heart, and the year of My redemption has come.

Paraphrase:  I had to step out and smash the enemies because the time for justice had arrived.  There was no longer any waiting; I had to act in defense of My people.  They had suffered so much oppression from her captors.  They were being dreadfully abused and her enemies were causing her so much distress.

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:5

וְאַבִּיט֙ וְאֵ֣ין עֹזֵ֔ר וְאֶשְׁתּוֹמֵ֖ם וְאֵ֣ין סוֹמֵ֑ךְ וַתּ֤וֹשַֽׁע לִי֙ זְרֹעִ֔י וַחֲמָתִ֖י הִ֥יא סְמָכָֽתְנִי׃

and I looked, and there was no helper, and I was astonished, and there was no supporter, and my arm saved Me and My anger, it supported Me.

Paraphrase:  As I went up to deal justice to the enemies, I looked around for those who would join Me, but no one did.  I was astonished at how little zeal there was for YHWH and how little trust in His power to save.  All of My people just fell away in terror before their enemies; no one stood up like Caleb and Joshua of old and looked to YHWH to give the victory. (Numbers 14:9, 24)  I finally had to go it alone; I couldn’t wait for them any longer.  I stepped out alone and decided to trust the power of My own arm and the fire of My own zeal to obtain the victory.

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:6

וְאָב֤וּס עַמִּים֙ בְּאַפִּ֔י וַאֲשַׁכְּרֵ֖ם בַּחֲמָתִ֑י וְאוֹרִ֥יד לָאָ֖רֶץ נִצְחָֽם׃ס

and I trampled the peoples in My rage and made them drunk in my anger and caused their grape juice to descend to the earth.

Paraphrase:  I was not disappointed.  When the time came, I charged into the enemy.  They fell upon Me with all the rage of hell (Genesis 3:15; Matthew 16:18), but they had no chance.  In My terrible rage, I trampled them down like grapes in a wine vat.  I cut them to pieces in My indignation at what they had done to My people.  Their blood splashed like grape juice on my clothes and even stained the ground red.  

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:7

חַֽסְדֵ֨י יְהוָ֤ה׀ אַזְכִּיר֙ תְּהִלֹּ֣ת יְהוָ֔ה כְּעַ֕ל כֹּ֥ל אֲשֶׁר־גְּמָלָ֖נוּ יְהוָ֑ה וְרַב־טוּב֙ לְבֵ֣ית יִשְׂרָאֵ֔ל אֲשֶׁר־גְּמָלָ֥ם כְּֽרַחֲמָ֖יו וּכְרֹ֥ב חֲסָדָֽיו׃

The covenant faithfulnesses of YHWH, I will record; the praises of YHWH as on all what YHWH has given us, and great goodness to the house of Israel which He redeemed them according to His mercy and according to the greatness of his covenant faithfulnesses.

Paraphrase:  Now let us come together to shout praises to YHWH for His mighty acts.  Let us sing this song to YHWH: 

“Had it not been YHWH who was on our side,” Let Israel now say, “Had it not been YHWH who was on our side when men rose up against us, then they would have swallowed us alive, when their anger was kindled against us; then the waters would have engulfed us, the stream would have swept over our soul; then the raging waters would have swept over our soul.  Blessed be YHWH, Who has not given us to be torn by their teeth.  Our soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the trapper; the snare is broken and we have escaped.  Our help is in the Name of YHWH, Who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 124:1-8)   

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:8

וַיֹּ֙אמֶר֙ אַךְ־עַמִּ֣י הֵ֔מָּה בָּנִ֖ים לֹ֣א יְשַׁקֵּ֑רוּ וַיְהִ֥י לָהֶ֖ם לְמוֹשִֽׁיעַ׃

and He said, “Surely My people, they are sons; they will not deal falsely, and He was to them for a Deliverer.

Paraphrase:  Then YHWH said, “Surely these are My people.  They are my sons (Isaiah 1:2; Jeremiah 3:14, 19, 22; 31:9) whom I carried on eagles wings and brought to Myself. (Exodus 19:4)  These are My children with whom I have a covenant. (Exodus 6: 1-7; Jeremiah 11:10; 22:9; 31:32)  Surely now that I have crushed their enemies, I can expect that they will serve Me and that they will follow me joyfully and observe all My commands. (Isaiah 1:3)  Now I will continue to stand up for them, to defend them, and to prosper them in everything.

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:9

בְּֽכָל־צָרָתָ֣ם׀ לֹא צָ֗ר וּמַלְאַ֤ךְ פָּנָיו֙ הֽוֹשִׁיעָ֔ם בְּאַהֲבָת֥וֹ וּבְחֶמְלָת֖וֹ ה֣וּא גְאָלָ֑ם וַֽיְנַטְּלֵ֥ם וַֽיְנַשְּׂאֵ֖ם כָּל־יְמֵ֥י עוֹלָֽם׃

In all their affliction, to Him was affliction, and the messenger of His presence saved them.  In His love and in His compassion, He redeemed them and bore them up and lifted them all the days of old.

Paraphrase:  When they were in anguish, He felt their distress and sent His Messenger (Exodus 23:20) to deliver them.  He loved His people and felt their pain. (Exodus 3:7-8; Judges 10:16)  He delivered them from all their distress and lifted them to a place of safety.  Throughout the entire history of His people, He acted on their behalf, leading them, defending them, and providing for them every step of the way.

Comments:

Note the ketiv reading לֹא and the qere reading לוֹ.

Lowth (p364): “An angel of his presence means an angel of superior order, in immediate attendance upon God.”

 


Isaiah 63:10

וְהֵ֛מָּה מָר֥וּ וְעִצְּב֖וּ אֶת־ר֣וּחַ קָדְשׁ֑וֹ וַיֵּהָפֵ֥ךְ לָהֶ֛ם לְאוֹיֵ֖ב ה֥וּא נִלְחַם־בָּֽם׃

But they rebelled and grieved the Spirit of His Holiness, and He turned against them for an enemy; He fought against them.

Paraphrase:  Alas that in the face of this love and care, Israel turned her back on God and refused to submit to His leading and to His commands.  They grieved the Holy Spirit who was leading them and fighting for them.  Their idolatry was detestable to Me. (Ezekiel 8:6, 9, 13, 15, 17)  Then, God turned against His own people.  He took the side of their enemies and caused His people to flee before them.  Indeed, God Himself fought with the enemies of His people and against Israel.

Comments:

Previously, we had the Angel of His presence; now we have the Spirit of His holiness.  Keil notes (bottom of p455) that the Spirit of His Holiness here is the same One against whom Israel rebelled and the same One who then turned against Israel and fought against them.  Clearly, this Spirit is identified with YHWH Himself.

here it is the spirit of holiness, which is distinguished from Him as a personal existence. For just as the angel who is His face, i.e., the representation of His nature, is designated as a person both by His name and also by the redeeming activity ascribed to Him; so also is the Spirit of holiness, by the fact that He can be grieved, and therefore can feel grief (Epheisans 4:30 Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God). Hence Jehovah, and the angel of His face, and the Spirit of His holiness, are distinguished as three persons, but so that the two latter derive their existence from the first, which is the absolute ground of the Deity and of everything that is divine. Now, if we consider that the angel of Jehovah was indeed an angel, but that he was the angelic anticipation of the appearance of God the Mediator “in the flesh,” and served to foreshadow Him “who, as the image of the invisible God” (Colossians 1:15), as “the reflection of His glory and the stamp of His nature” (Heb. 1:3), is not merely a temporary medium of self-manifestation, but the perfect personal self-manifestation of the divine pânīm, we have here an unmistakable indication of the mystery of the triune nature of God the One, which was revealed in history in the New Testament work of redemption.

 


Isaiah 63:11

וַיִּזְכֹּ֥ר יְמֵֽי־עוֹלָ֖ם מֹשֶׁ֣ה עַמּ֑וֹ אַיֵּ֣ה׀ הַֽמַּעֲלֵ֣ם מִיָּ֗ם אֵ֚ת רֹעֵ֣י צֹאנ֔וֹ אַיֵּ֛ה הַשָּׂ֥ם בְּקִרְבּ֖וֹ אֶת־ר֥וּחַ קָדְשֽׁוֹ׃

And he remembered the days of old, of Moses, of His people.  Where is the One causing them to go up from the sea?  the Shepherd of His flock?  Where is the One placing within him the Spirit of His Holiness? 

Paraphrase:  This terrible distress brought Israel pause and to consider.  She began to look back in her history and to wonder; where was the God who had brought them out of Egypt and had rescued them so many times?  Why were they now fleeing from their enemies in all directions? (Deuteronomy 28:25)  Where was the God to whom Moses spoke face to face as one speaks to a friend? (Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:6-8; Deuteronomy 34:10-12)  Why was God now fighting against them?  Where was the God who had sent the Spirit of His Own Holiness to dwell within them and among them?

Comments:

Is God the subject of remembered or Israel?  Assuming that the one remembering is the same one who asks the following questions, the answer must be the people.

 


Isaiah 63:12

מוֹלִיךְ֙ לִימִ֣ין מֹשֶׁ֔ה זְר֖וֹעַ תִּפְאַרְתּ֑וֹ בּ֤וֹקֵֽעַ מַ֙יִם֙ מִפְּנֵיהֶ֔ם לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת ל֖וֹ שֵׁ֥ם עוֹלָֽם׃

The One causing to go at the right of Moses, the arm of His splendor?  The One dividing the waters before them? To make for him an everlasting name?

Paraphrase:  Where is the One who, when Moses stretched forth his right hand (Exodus 14:21), put forth the power of His own arm and split the Red Sea in two?  Then the people of Israel were able to cross the Red Sea without any problem, and the Name of YHWH received great glory and worship. (Exodus 15:20-21)  As a result, His Name endures forever and ever. (Psalm 72:17)

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:13

מוֹלִיכָ֖ם בַּתְּהֹמ֑וֹת כַּסּ֥וּס בַּמִּדְבָּ֖ר לֹ֥א יִכָּשֵֽׁלוּ׃

The One who led them through the depths as a horse in the wilderness, they did not stumble.

Paraphrase:  Where is the One who provided for them when they were in the wilderness marching to the promised land?  The One who appeared to them at Mount Sinai and brought them manna to eat and water out of the rock?  Where is the God who led them so perfectly that never once did they come to any harm?  Amalek was driven off (Exodus 17:13) as were all the other nations who stood in their way.  Israel was like a mighty war horse dashing through the desert that stops for nothing and never falters.

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:14

כַּבְּהֵמָה֙ בַּבִּקְעָ֣ה תֵרֵ֔ד ר֥וּחַ יְהוָ֖ה תְּנִיחֶ֑נּוּ כֵּ֚ן נִהַ֣גְתָּ עַמְּךָ֔ לַעֲשׂ֥וֹת לְךָ֖ שֵׁ֥ם תִּפְאָֽרֶת׃

As cattle in the valley, the Spirit of YHWH went down; she gave him rest.  Thus, You led Your people to make for Yourself a Name of splendor.

Paraphrase:  As a shepherd leads his cattle into a cool and refreshing valley (Song of Solomon 2:1; Isaiah 65:10), so Your Spirit has led Israel and given him rest.  Every step of the way, You lead Your people and prosper their way.  All this you did so that Your glory and Your Name might be spread from pole to pole.

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:15

הַבֵּ֤ט מִשָּׁמַ֙יִם֙ וּרְאֵ֔ה מִזְּבֻ֥ל קָדְשְׁךָ֖ וְתִפְאַרְתֶּ֑ךָ אַיֵּ֤ה קִנְאָֽתְךָ֙ וּגְב֣וּרֹתֶ֔ךָ הֲמ֥וֹן מֵעֶ֛יךָ וְֽרַחֲמֶ֖יךָ אֵלַ֥י הִתְאַפָּֽקוּ׃

Look from heaven and see from the height of your holiness and splendor; where is Your jealousy and Your might?  The motions of Your bowels and Your compassions?  They are holding back to me. 

Paraphrase:  Now Great King of heaven and earth, I make my prayer and supplication to You.  In the evening and again the next morning, and at noon, I pray and I cry aloud in my distress. (Psalm 55:17)  Look down from your glorious dwelling place; look down from Your throne in the height of heaven and pity us.  Where is your zeal for Your people?  Where is Your anger and power which you showed against our enemies so many times in the past?  Do you not have any love for us any more? (Psalm 77:7-9)  Are you not moved to pity when You see our desperate condition?  Why do You hold back Your tender mercies and compassion to us?

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:16

כִּֽי־אַתָּ֣ה אָבִ֔ינוּ כִּ֤י אַבְרָהָם֙ לֹ֣א יְדָעָ֔נוּ וְיִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל לֹ֣א יַכִּירָ֑נוּ אַתָּ֤ה יְהוָה֙ אָבִ֔ינוּ גֹּאֲלֵ֥נוּ מֵֽעוֹלָ֖ם שְׁמֶֽךָ׃

For You are our Father; for Abraham does not know us, and Israel does not pay attention to us; You, YHWH, are our Father, our Redeemer, from of old is Your Name.

Paraphrase:  Oh God, we acknowledge that You have reason enough to abandon us.  We have surely sinned against You and have not been true to our obligations.  Yet, for all that, is it not true that You are our Father?  Did you not tell Pharaoh that Israel was your firstborn son? (Exodus 4:22-23)  We can no longer appeal to Abraham for help; he is not living.  Nor does the nation of Israel have anything to do with us since we are living in this wretched land of exile.  We have nowhere else to turn; please hear our cry.  You are the only One who can deliver us now.  You are the One who watches over Israel, and You never slumber or sleep. (Psalm 121:4)  You are forever the same, and Your years have no end. (Psalm 102:27)

Comments:

 


Isaiah 63:17

לָ֣מָּה תַתְעֵ֤נוּ יְהוָה֙ מִדְּרָכֶ֔יךָ תַּקְשִׁ֥יחַ לִבֵּ֖נוּ מִיִּרְאָתֶ֑ךָ שׁ֚וּב לְמַ֣עַן עֲבָדֶ֔יךָ שִׁבְטֵ֖י נַחֲלָתֶֽךָ׃

 


Isaiah 63:18

לַמִּצְעָ֕ר יָרְשׁ֖וּ עַם־קָדְשֶׁ֑ךָ צָרֵ֕ינוּ בּוֹסְס֖וּ מִקְדָּשֶֽׁךָ׃

 


Isaiah 63:19

הָיִ֗ינוּ מֵֽעוֹלָם֙ לֹֽא־מָשַׁ֣לְתָּ בָּ֔ם לֹֽא־נִקְרָ֥א שִׁמְךָ֖ עֲלֵיהֶ֑ם

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