Isaiah 42:13
The LORD shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yes, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.
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(13) The Lord shall go forth . . .—The boldly anthropomorphic image prepares the way for the yet more awful picture of Isaiah 63:1, which belongs outwardly to the same region. As if roused from slumber, Jehovah stirs up His jealous indignation against the idols, which had seemed to sleep, and rushes to the battle as with the war-cry of a mighty one.

Isaiah 42:13-15. The Lord shall go forth — Namely, to battle against his enemies. He shall stir up jealousy — His fierce indignation against the obstinate enemies of his Son and gospel. He shall cry, yea, roar — As a lion doth upon his prey, and as soldiers do when they begin the battle. I have long time held my peace — I have been long silent, and not interposed in behalf of my cause, but have suffered Satan and his servants to prevail in the world, to afflict my people, and hinder the entertainment of my doctrine and worship among mankind; and this my forbearance has increased the presumption of my enemies. Now will I cry like a travailing woman — Now I will no more contain myself than a woman in the pangs of travail can forbear crying out: but I will give vent to my just resentments for the injuries offered to myself and my oppressed people, by bringing some exemplary punishment upon their oppressors. I will destroy and devour at once — I will suddenly and utterly destroy the incorrigible enemies of my truth. When men’s provocations come to a great height, God is represented in Scripture as if his patience were quite tired out, and he could no longer forbear punishing them: see Jeremiah 15:6; Jeremiah 44:22. I will make waste mountains and hills — He does not mean dry and barren ones, for these were waste already, but such as were clothed with grass and herbs. Which clause is to be understood metaphorically of God’s destroying his most lofty and flourishing enemies, often compared in Scripture to mountains and hills. I will dry up the pools — Remove all the sources of their prosperity and comfort. “As God’s mercy is represented by pouring water upon the dry ground, chap. 35:6, and 44:3, so his wrath is described as if it were a consuming fire, parching up every thing, and reducing it to barrenness.42:13-17 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.The Lord shall go forth - This and the following verses give the reasons why they should praise Yahweh. He would go forth in his might to overcome and subdue his foes, and to deliver his people. In his conquests, and in the establishment of his kingdom, all people would have occasion to rejoice and be glad.

As a mighty man - As a hero, as a warrior. Yahweh is often in the Scriptures represented as a hero, or a man of war:

Yahweh is a man of war:

Yahweh is his name. - Exodus 15:3.

Who is this King of glory?

Yahweh, strong and mighty;

Yahweh mighty in battle. - Psalm 24:8.

Compare Psalm 45:3; Isaiah 27:1; Isaiah 30:30,

He shall stir up jealousy - He shall rouse his vengeance, or his indignation. The word קנאה qin'âh means vengeance, or indignation, as well as jealousy. The image here is that of a warrior who rushes on impetuously to take vengeance on his foes.

He shall cry - He shall give a shout, or a loud clamor. Warriors usually entered a battle with a loud shout, designed to stimulate their own courage, and to intimidate their foes. All this language is taken from such an entrance on an engagement, and denotes the fixed determination of God to overthrow all his enemies.

13-16. Jehovah will no longer restrain His wrath: He will go forth as a mighty warrior (Ex 15:3) to destroy His people's and His enemies, and to deliver Israel (compare Ps 45:3).

stir up jealousy—rouse His indignation.

roar—image from the battle cry of a warrior.

Shall go forth, to wit, to war, or battle, as this phrase is used, Numbers 1:3,28 2 Samuel 11:1.

He shall stir up jealousy; he shall stir up himself, and his strength, and anger, against the obstinate and implacable enemies of his Son and gospel.

He shall cry, yea, roar, as a lion doth upon his prey, and as soldiers do when they begin the battle. The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man,.... In the ministry of the word,

conquering and to conquer; girding his "sword" on his thigh; causing his "arrows" to be sharp in the hearts of his enemies; clothing the word with power;

making the weapons of warfare, put into the hands of his ministering servants,

mighty, to pull down the "strong holds" of sin and Satan, to cast: down the proud "imaginations" of men's hearts, and to

bring into captivity every thought to the obedience of himself; or in the army of Constantine, whom he used as his instrument for the destruction of the Pagan empire, and of Paganism in it, and for the establishment of Christianity:

he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war; or "a man of wars" (x); that has been used to fight battles; Christ is represented as a warrior, Revelation 19:11, his church is in a warfare state; his subjects are soldiers; his ministers are his generals under him, and with them he goes forth, and stirs up his own jealousy, his wrath and fury against his enemies, and takes vengeance on them, and the jealousy of his ministers and people, for his own glory:

he shall cry, yea, roar; not only shout aloud, as soldiers do, when they make an onset, but make a hideous noise, as the old Romans did, to frighten and dispirit their enemies. Christ, in the ministry of the word, not only cries, and calls, and invites souls, sensible of themselves and their condition, to come unto him, and partake of his grace; but he roars as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, and threatens impenitent and unbelieving sinners with his wrath and vengeance:

he shall prevail against his enemies: he shall conquer and subdue them by his Spirit and grace, and make them his willing people in the day of his power; and such who will not have him to reign over them, he will rule them with a rod of iron, and break them in pieces as a potter's vessel.

(x) "sicut vir bellorum", Montanus; "vir bellicosissimus", Junius & Tremcellius, Piscator.

The LORD shall go forth as a {r} mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies.

(r) He shows the zeal of the Lord, and his power in the conservation of his Church.

13. The reason for the universal exultation; Jehovah takes the field against His enemies. The gracious side of His intervention is reserved for Isaiah 42:16.

The Lord shall go forth] The technical expression for the initiation of a campaign (2 Samuel 11:1; Amos 5:3 &c.)

as a mighty man (or, hero) … a man of war] Similar representations in ch. Isaiah 28:21, Isaiah 59:16 f.; Exodus 15:3; Zechariah 14:3, &c. Jealousy (better, zeal) means “passion” in very varied senses. Here it seems equivalent to the “battle fever.” see ch. Isaiah 9:7.

he shall cry, yea, roar] He shall raise His battle cry, yea, shout aloud.

he shall prevail] R.V. “he shall do mightily”; lit., he shall play the hero. The form occurs elsewhere only in Job (Job 15:25, Job 36:9).Verse 13. - The Lord shall go forth. The exhortation to "sing unto the Lord a new song" ends with ver. 12, and now the reason or groundwork for the exhortation has to be declared. God is about to make one of the great manifestations of his power upon the earth - to "go forth" against his enemies, and destroy and devour, and easily prevail against them - not, however, simply in the way of punishment and vengeance, but with a further merciful object. He will punish Babylon, that he may deliver Israel. He has promised not to forsake his people (Isaiah 41:17). He is now about to give effect to his promise by a "new" and strange deliverance. He "will bring his people by a way that they knew not, and lead them in paths that they have not known" (ver. 16). It has been said that "in effect it is the day of judgment which is here described" (Cheyne); but this seems to be only so far true as every manifestation of God's wrath towards his enemies is a foreshadowing of the great and awful day. The event directly in view is the destruction of the Babylonian power by the irresistible arms of Cyrus. Hence the allusion to idolaters and images in ver. 17. As a mighty man... like a man of war. (For similar anthropomorpbisms, see Exodus 15:3; Psalm 24:8.) He shall stir up jealousy; i.e. his own jealousy. God is "a jealous God" (Exodus 20:5), so much SO that his very "name is Jealous" (Exodus 34:14). He is jealous for his own honour (supra, ver. 8), and jealous also for his people's honour and reputation and happiness. Occasionally he allows his jealousy to slumber (comp. Acts 12:30, "The times of this ignorance God winked at"); and this he had now done for some fifty or sixty years, since his people were carried into captivity. But the time of acquiescence has gone by - he is about to waken up his "smouldering jealousy, and stir it, till it burns up into a bright flame" (Delitzsch). He shall cry, yea, roar; rather, yea, shout; i.e. utter his battle-cry with a clear, loud voice. The words of Jehovah are now addressed to His servant himself. He has not only an exalted vocation, answering to the infinite exaltation of Him from whom he has received his call; but by virtue of the infinite might of the caller, he may be well assured that he will never be wanting in power to execute his calling. "Thus saith God, Jehovah, who created the heavens, and stretched them out; who spread the earth, and its productions; who gave the spirit of life to the people upon it, and the breath of life to them that walk upon it: I, Jehovah, I have called thee in righteousness, and grasped thy hand; and I keep thee, and make thee the covenant of the people, the light of the Gentiles, to open blind eyes, to bring out prisoners out of the prison, them that sit in darkness out of the prison-house." The perfect 'âmar is to be explained on the ground that the words of God, as compared with the prophecy which announces them, are always the earlier of the two. האל (the absolutely Mighty) is an anticipatory apposition to Jehovah (Ges. 113**). The attributive participles we have resolved into perfects, because the three first at least declare facts of creation, which have occurred once for all. נוטיהם is not to be regarded as a plural, after Isaiah 54:5 and Job 35:10; but as בּורא precedes it, we may take it as a singular with an original quiescent Yod, after Isaiah 5:12; Isaiah 22:11; Isaiah 26:12. On רקע (construct of רקע), see Isaiah 40:19. The ו of וצאצאיה (a word found both in Job and Isaiah, used here in its most direct sense, to signify the vegetable world) must be taken in accordance with the sense, as the Vav of appurtenance; since רקע may be affirmed of the globe itself, but not of the vegetable productions upon it (cf., Genesis 4:20; Judges 6:5; 2 Chronicles 2:3). Neshâmâh and rūăch are epithets applied to the divine principle of life in all created corporeal beings, or, what is the same thing, in all beings with living souls. At the same time, neshâmâh is an epithet restricted to the self-conscious spirit of man, which gives him his personality (Psychol. p. 76, etc.); whereas rūăch is applied not only to the human spirit, but to the spirit of the beast as well. Accordingly, עם signifies the human race, as in Isaiah 40:7. What is it, then, that Jehovah, the Author of all being and all life, the Creator of the heaven and the earth, says to His servant here? "I Jehovah have called thee 'in righteousness'" (betsedeq: cf., Isaiah 45:13, where Jehovah also says of Cyrus, "I have raised him up in righteousness"). צדק, derived from צדק, to be rigid, straight, denotes the observance of a fixed rule. The righteousness of God is the stringency with which He acts, in accordance with the will of His holiness. This will of holiness is, so far as the human race is concerned, and apart from the counsels of salvation, a will of wrath; but from the standpoint of these counsels it is a will of love, which is only changed into a will of wrath towards those who despise the grace thus offered to them. Accordingly, tsedeq denotes the action of God in accordance with His purposes of love and the plan of salvation. It signifies just the same as what we should call in New Testament phraseology the holy love of God, which, because it is a holy love, has wrath against its despisers as its obverse side, but which acts towards men not according to the law of works, but according to the law of grace. The word has this evangelical sense here, where Jehovah says of the Mediator of His counsels of love, that He has called Him in strict adherence to the will of His love, which will show mercy as right, but at the same time will manifest a right of double severity towards those who scornfully repel the offered mercy. That He had been called in righteousness, is attested to the servant of Jehovah by the fact that Jehovah has taken Him by the hand (ואחזד contracted after the manner of a future of sequence), and guards Him, and appoints Him גּוים לאור עם לברית. These words are a decisive proof that the idea of the expression "servant of Jehovah" has been elevated in Isaiah 42:1., as compared with Isaiah 41:8, from the national base to the personal apex. Adherence to the national sense necessarily compels a resort to artifices which carry their own condemnation, such as that עם ברית signifies the "covenant nation,"as Hitzig supposes, or "the mediating nation," as Ewald maintains, whereas either of these would require ברית עם; or "national covenant" (Knobel), in support of which we are referred, though quite inconclusively, to Daniel 11:28, where קדשׁ בּרית does not mean the covenant of the patriots among themselves, but the covenant religion, with its distinctive sign, circumcision; or even that עם is collective, and equivalent to עמים (Rosenmller), whereas עם and גוים, when standing side by side, as they do here, can only mean Israel and the Gentiles; and so far as the passage before us is concerned, this is put beyond all doubt by Isaiah 49:8 (cf., Isaiah 42:6).

An unprejudiced commentator must admit that the "servant of Jehovah" is pointed out here, as He in whom and through whom Jehovah concludes a new covenant with His people, in the place of the old covenant that was broken - namely, the covenant promised in Isaiah 54:10; Isaiah 61:8; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Ezekiel 16:60. The mediator of this covenant with Israel cannot be Israel itself, not even the true Israel, as distinguished from the mass (where do we read anything of this kind?); on the contrary, the remnant left after the sweeping away of the mass is the object of this covenant.

(Note: This is equally applicable to V. F. Oehler (Der Knecht Jehova's im Deuterojesaia, 2 Theile, 1865), who takes the "servant of Jehovah" as far as Isaiah 52:14 in a national sense, and supposes "the transition from the 'servant' as a collective noun, to the 'servant' as an individual," to be effected there; whereas two younger theologians, E. Schmutz (Le Serviteur de Jhova, 1858) and Ferd. Philippi (Die bibl. Lehre vom Knechte Gottes, 1864), admit that the individualizing commences as early as Isaiah 42:1.)

Nor can the expression refer to the prophets as a body, or, in fact, have any collective meaning at all: the form of the word, which is so strongly personal, is in itself opposed to this. It cannot, in fact, denote any other than that Prophet who is more than a prophet, namely, Malachi's "Messenger of the covenant" (Isaiah 3:1). Amongst those who suppose that the "servant of Jehovah" is either Israel, regarded in the light of its prophetic calling, or the prophets as a body, Umbreit at any rate is obliged to admit that this collective body is looked at here in the ideal unity of one single Messianic personality; and he adds, that "in the holy countenance of this prophet, which shines forth as the idea of future realization, we discern exactly the loved features of Him to whom all prophecy points, and who saw Himself therein." This is very beautiful; but why this roundabout course? Let us bear in mind, that the servant of Jehovah appears here not only as one who is the medium of a covenant to the nation, and of light to the Gentiles, but as being himself the people's covenant and heathen's light, inasmuch as in his own person he is the band of a new fellowship between Israel and Jehovah, and becomes in his own person the light which illumines the dark heathen world. This is surely more than could be affirmed of any prophet, even of Isaiah or Jeremiah. Hence the "servant of Jehovah" must be that one Person who was the goal and culminating point to which, from the very first, the history of Israel was ever pressing on; that One who throws into the shade not only all that prophets did before, but all that had been ever done by Israel's priests of kings; that One who arose out of Israel, for Israel and the whole human race, and who stood in the same relation not only to the wider circle of the whole nation, but also to the inner circle of the best and noblest within it, as the heart to the body which it animates, or the head to the body over which it rules. All that Cyrus did, was simply to throw the idolatrous nations into a state of alarm, and set the exiles free. But the Servant of Jehovah opens blind eyes; and therefore the deliverance which He brings is not only redemption from bodily captivity, but from spiritual bondage also. He leads His people (cf., Isaiah 49:8-9), and the Gentiles also, out of night into light; He is the Redeemer of all that need redemption and desire salvation.

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