Isaiah 42:25
Therefore he has poured on him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it has set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.
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(25) The fury of his anger.—Better, the burning heat of His wrath, and the violence of war. Historically, the words seem to find a better fulfiment in the “wars and rumours of wars” (Matthew 24:6) than in the long equable continuance of the exile.

Isaiah 42:25. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury, &c. — Most grievous judgments. It hath set him on fire round about — This was literally fulfilled when the Chaldean army took their city, and burned both it and their temple. Yet he knew it not — Considered it not: they were secure and stupid under God’s judgments; neither fearing them when threatened, nor truly sensible of God’s hand in them, of the causes of God’s displeasure, or of the means of cure. The reader will easily observe, that “the force and elegance of the metaphor in this verse are very great. Of all natural evils which affect the human mind, which arouse and awaken it, none do so with greater quickness than fire, than a mighty flame encompassing a man on every side. No sleep, no lethargy is so great, which this will not shake off; and yet the stupor and insensibility of the Jews are here represented to be so great, that in the midst of the fire and flame, which they might and ought to think kindled by God, they inquired not into the causes of this judgment. They knew them not, nor considered them; but, persisting in their impenitence and stupidity, applied not to God in faith and repentance, nor humbled themselves before him.” See Vitringa. 42:18-25 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.Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger - His righteous indignation in the overturning of their nation, the destruction of their temple and city, and in carrying them captive into a distant land.

And it hath set him on fire - That is, the fury of Yahweh kindled the flame of war all around the Jewish nation, and spread desolation everywhere.

Yet he knew not - They refused to attend to it, and lay it to heart. They pursued their ways of wickedness, regardless of the threatening judgments, and the impending wrath of God. They did not consider that these evils were inflicted for their crimes, nor did they turn from their sins when they were thus threatened with the wrath of God.

25. him—Israel (Isa 42:24).

strength of battle—violence of war.

it—the battle or war (compare Isa 10:16).

knew not—knew not the lesson of repentance which the judgment was intended to teach (Isa 5:13; 9:13; Jer 5:3).

The fury of his anger, and the strength of battle; most grievous judgments.

Yet he knew not; they were secure and stupid under God’s judgments, neither fearing them when threatened, nor truly sensible of God’s hand in them, and of the causes of God’s displeasure against them, and of the means of cure. Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger,.... The Lord was angry with these people for their rejection of the Messiah, and contempt of his Gospel; and therefore his wrath came upon them to the uttermost, not in some small drops, but in great abundance, to the utter ruin of their nation, city, and temple. Josephus says (e),

"the Romans came to subdue Palestine, but their coming was the pouring out of the heat of the wrath of the Lord:''

and the strength of battle; or "war"; all the miseries and calamities that are the effects of war. The Targum is,

"he hath brought upon them the strength of his warriors;''

the Roman soldiers:

and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart; the Roman army set fire first to the lower part of the city of Jerusalem, and then the higher (f), and wholly consumed it; and yet this has not to this day brought this people to lay it to heart, to consider and observe the true reason of it, their rejection of the Messiah.

(e) Josephus apud Forerium in loc. (f) Josephus de Bello Jud. l. 7. c. 7. sect. 2. and c. 8. sect. 5.

Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.
25. Therefore should be simply and. the strength of battle] the violence of war, which (as in ch. Isaiah 9:18 ff. etc.) is compared to a fire. he knew not] i.e. “understood it not;” hardly, “heeded it not.” Israel felt its calamities keenly enough, but did not comprehend their significance, as a visitation from Jehovah. Note the contrast in ch. Isaiah 43:2.Verse 25. - Therefore he hath poured upon him... the strength of battle; i.e. for this cause, on account of their iniquities, did God bring upon his people the scourge of foreign war, and allow the Babylonians to waste Judaea, to destroy Jerusalem, and to lead into captivity the entire nation (comp. 2 Chronicles 36:14-17). It hath set him on fire; rather, it (i.e. the war)set him on fire. The reference is, perhaps, especially to the burning of Jerusalem by Nebuzar-adan (2 Kings 25:9); but the phrase will cover also the general devastation of the land both before and after this event (Jeremiah 39-42.), He knew not; rather, he took no notice; he did not change his ways on account of the chastisement. The prophet's view is that Israel, as a whole, was not greatly bettered by the Captivity, at any rate up to the time which he takes for his standpoint, and at which he supposes him. self to be addressing them.

The next v. states who these self-willed deaf and blind are, and how necessary this arousing was. "Who is blind, but my servant? and deaf, as my messenger whom I send? who blind as the confidant of God, and blind as the servant of Jehovah?" The first double question implies that Jehovah's servant and messenger is blind and deaf in a singular and unparalleled way. The words are repeated, the questioner dwelling upon the one predicate ‛ı̄vvēr, "blind," in which everything is affirmed, and, according to Isaiah's favourite custom, returning palindromically to the opening expression "servant of Jehovah" (cf., Isaiah 40:19; Isaiah 42:15, and many other passages). משׁלּם does not mean "the perfect one," as Vitringa renders it, nor "the paid, i.e., purchased one," as Rosenmller supposes, but one allied in peace and friendship, the confidant of God. It is the passive of the Arabic muslim, one who trusts in God (compare the hophal in Job 5:23). It is impossible to read the expression, "My messenger whom I send," without thinking of Isaiah 42:1., where the "servant of Jehovah" is represented as a messenger to the heathen. (Jerome is wrong in following the Jewish commentators, and adopting the rendering, ad quem nuntios meos misi.) With this similarity both of name and calling, there must be a connection between the "servant" mentioned here, and the "servant" referred to there. Now the "servant of Jehovah" is always Israel. But since Israel might be regarded either according to the character of the overwhelming majority of its members (the mass), who had forgotten their calling, or according to the character of those living members who had remained true to their calling, and constituted the kernel, or as concentrated in that one Person who is the essence of Israel in the fullest truth and highest potency, statements of the most opposite kind could be made with respect to this one homonymous subject. In Isaiah 41:8. the "servant of Jehovah" is caressed and comforted, inasmuch as there the true Israel, which deserved and needed consolation, is addressed, without regard to the mass who had forgotten their calling. In Isaiah 42:1. that One person is referred to, who is, as it were, the centre of this inner circle of Israel, and the head upon the body of Israel. And in the passage before us, the idea is carried from this its highest point back again to its lowest basis; and the servant of Jehovah is blamed and reproved for the harsh contrast between its actual conduct and its divine calling, between the reality and the idea. As we proceed, we shall meet again with the "servant of Jehovah" in the same systole and diastole. The expression covers two concentric circles, and their one centre. The inner circle of the "Israel according to the Spirit" forms the connecting link between Israel in its widest sense, and Israel in a personal sense. Here indeed Israel is severely blamed as incapable, and unworthy of fulfilling its sacred calling; but the expression "whom I send" nevertheless affirms that it will fulfil it - namely, in the person of the servant of Jehovah, and in all those members of the "servant of Jehovah" in a national sense, who long for deliverance from the ban and bonds of the present state of punishment (see Isaiah 29:18). For it is really the mission of Israel to be the medium of salvation and blessing to the nations; and this is fulfilled by the servant of Jehovah, who proceeds from Israel, and takes his place at the head of Israel. And as the history of the fulfilment shows, when the foundation for the accomplishment of this mission had been laid by the servant of Jehovah in person, it was carried on by the servant of Jehovah in a national sense; for the Lord became "a covenant of the people" through His own preaching and that of His apostles. But "a light of the Gentiles" He became purely and simply through the apostles, who represented the true and believing Israel.
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