Isaiah 61:2
To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;
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(2) To proclaim the acceptable year . . .—The Year of Jubilee is still, perhaps, in the prophet’s thoughts; but the chief point of the promise is the contrast between the “year” of favour and the single “day” of vengeance, reminding us of the like contrast in Exodus 20:5-6.

Isaiah 61:2-3. And the day of vengeance of our God — Namely, on those who reject or neglect these gracious offers of mercy and salvation: they shall not only be left in their captivity, as they deserve to be, but shall be dealt with as enemies. We have the gospel summed up, Mark 16:16, where that part of it, he that believeth shall be saved, proclaims the acceptable year of the Lord to those that will accept it; but the other part, he that believeth not shall be damned, proclaims the day of vengeance of our God; that vengeance that he will take on those that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, 2 Thessalonians 1:8; see also Hebrews 10:27-30; Matthew 24:21; Revelation 18:1. The clause seems to have an especial reference to the time in which God punished the unbelieving and disobedient Jews by the destruction of Jerusalem, and the unparalleled calamities that came upon their nation. We find Christ, in several of his discourses, threatening them with the judgments of God for their rejecting him. And he calls the destruction of Jerusalem the days of vengeance, Luke 21:22, the very expression made use of here. To comfort all that mourn — Either on account of their sins, or their sufferings, or the desolations and miseries of the spiritual Zion, his church; and who, mourning, seek to him, and not to the world, for comfort. He not only provides comfort for them, and proclaims it, but he applies and bestows it by giving them the Comforter. There is enough in him to comfort all that mourn, whatever their afflictions or sorrows may be; but this comfort is sure to them that mourn in Zion, that is, that sorrow after a godly sort, and apply by faith and prayer to God in Christ for relief and consolation. To appoint unto them beauty — Or rather, ornament, (as the Hebrew פארmore properly signifies,) for ashes. Bishop Lowth renders the clause, To give them a beautiful crown instead of ashes; the oil of gladness instead of sorrow; observing, “In times of mourning the Jews put on sackcloth, or coarse and sordid raiment; and spread dust and ashes on their heads: on the contrary, splendid clothing, and ointment poured on the head, were the signs of joy.” The oil of joy — Which makes the face to shine, instead of that mourning which disfigures the countenance, and makes it unlovely. This oil of joy the saints have from that oil of gladness with which Christ himself was anointed above his fellows. The garments of praise — Such beautiful garments as were worn on thanksgiving days, instead of the spirit of heaviness. Hebrew, כהה, contraction, dimness, or obscurity; “open joys,” says Henry, “for secret mournings. Zion’s mourners keep the spirit of heaviness to themselves, and weep in secret; but the joy, with which they are recompensed, they are clothed with, as with a garment, in the eyes of others.” Observe, reader, where God gives the oil of joy, he gives the garment of praise. Those comforts which come from God dispose the heart to, and enlarge the heart in, thanksgivings to God. That they might be called trees of righteousness — That they might be righteous persons, deeply rooted by faith in the ground of gospel truth, solid and firm in sincerity, fortitude, and patience; ornaments to God’s vineyard, and bringing forth fruit suitable to the soil wherein they are planted. The planting of the Lord — Planted by that holy Lord who, being himself holy and righteous, would plant none but such: see on Isaiah 60:21. That he might be glorified — Namely, by the fruit they bear; for herein is our heavenly Father glorified, that we bring forth much fruit. 61:1-3 The prophets had the Holy Spirit of God at times, teaching them what to say, and causing them to say it; but Christ had the Spirit always, without measure, to qualify him, as man, for the work to which he was appointed. The poor are commonly best disposed to receive the gospel, Jas 2:5; and it is only likely to profit us when received with meekness. To such as are poor in spirit, Christ preached good tidings when he said, Blessed are the meek. Christ's satisfaction is accepted. By the dominion of sin in us, we are bound under the power of Satan; but the Son is ready, by his Spirit, to make us free; and then we shall be free indeed. Sin and Satan were to be destroyed; and Christ triumphed over them on his cross. But the children of men, who stand out against these offers, shall be dealt with as enemies. Christ was to be a Comforter, and so he is; he is sent to comfort all who mourn, and who seek to him, and not to the world, for comfort. He will do all this for his people, that they may abound in the fruits of righteousness, as the branches of God's planting. Neither the mercy of God, the atonement of Christ, nor the gospel of grace, profit the self-sufficient and proud. They must be humbled, and led to know their own character and wants, by the Holy Spirit, that they may see and feel their need of the sinner's Friend and Saviour. His doctrine contains glad tidings indeed to those who are humbled before God.To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord - (see the notes at Isaiah 49:8). There is probably an allusion here to the year of Jubilee, when the trumpet was blown, and liberty was proclaimed throughout all the land (so Leviticus 25:9-10). In like manner the Messiah would come to proclaim universal liberty - liberty to all the world from the degrading servitude of sin. The time of his coming would be a time when Yahweh would be pleased to proclaim through him universal emancipation from this ignoble bondage, and to restore to all the privilege of being the freedmen of the Lord.

And the day of vengeance of our God - (See the notes at Isaiah 34:8). This is language adapted to the deliverance from Babylon. The rescue of his people would be attended with vengeance on their enemies. This was not quoted by the Saviour in his discourse at Nazareth, or if quoted, the fact is not recorded by Luke (see Luke 4:19). The text which the Saviour took then as the foundation of his discourse Luke 4:21, seems to have ended with the clause before this, It is not to be inferred, however, that he did not consider the subsequent expressions as referring to himself, but it was not necessary to his purpose to quote them. Regarded as applicable to the Redeemer and his preaching, this doubtless refers to the fact that his coming would be attended with vengeance on his foes. It is a great truth, manifest everywhere, that God's coming forth at any time to deliver his people is attended with vengeance on his enemies. So it was in the destruction of Idumea - regarded as the general representative of all the foes of God (see the notes at Isaiah 34; Isaiah 35:1-10); so it was in the deliverance from Egypt - involving the destruction of Pharaoh and his host; so in the destruction of Babylon and the deliverance of the captives there. So in like manner it was in the destruction of Jerusalem; and so it will be at the end of the world Matthew 25:31-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-10.

To comfort all that mourn - The expression, 'all that mourn,' may refer either to those who mourn over the loss of earthly friends and possessions, or to those who mourn over sin. In either case the gospel has afforded abundant sources of consolation (see the notes at Isaiah 25:8).

2. acceptable year—the year of jubilee on which "liberty was proclaimed to the captives" (Isa 61:1; 2Co 6:2).

day of vengeance—The "acceptable time of grace" is a "year"; the time of "vengeance" but "a day" (so Isa 34:8; 63:4; Mal 4:1). Jesus (Lu 4:20, 21) "closed the book" before this clause; for the interval from His first to His second coming is "the acceptable year"; the day of vengeance" will not be till He comes again (2Th 1:7-9).

our God—The saints call Him "our God"; for He cometh to "avenge" them (Re 6:10; 19:2).

all that mourn—The "all" seems to include the spiritual Israelite mourners, as well as the literal, who are in Isa 61:3 called "them that mourn in Zion," and to whom Isa 57:18 refers.

To proclaim; to declare, as it respects the Jews, that their liberty is at hand.

The acceptable year, viz. the happy age of God’s grace, either which will be grateful and welcome news to them, or acceptable to God, a time wherein it pleaseth him to favour them; but this must be understood of a further extent than to Babylon, and rather unto mankind in Jesus Christ, Galatians 4:4 Titus 3:4, called a time of God’s good-will in that angelical song, Luke 2:14, on the account of those good tidings which the angel brought, Isaiah 61:10,11; called so possibly from the arbitrariness and good pleasure of God, having no respect to any satisfaction from man.

Year; not precisely, as if Christ preached but one year, the mistake of some ancients, mentioned and refuted by Irenaeus, lib. 2. ch. 38; but for time indefinitely, and may include the whole time of preaching the gospel; see Romans 10:15; which I take to be the meaning of that now, 2 Corinthians 6:2, and probably hath a pertinent allusion to the year of jubilee, which was a general release proclaimed by sound of trumpet, which relates also here to the word proclaiming, Leviticus 25:10.

The day of vengeance, viz. on Babylon, it being necessary, that where God will deliver his people, he should take vengeance on their enemies; but mystically and principally on the enemies of his church, and the spiritual ones chiefly, viz. Satan, sin, and death.

That mourn; either by reason of their sufferings, or of their sins, Matthew 11:28; or the miseries of Zion. See Poole "Isaiah 57:18". To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord,.... Not an exact year, but time in general; for such are wrong, who from hence conclude that Christ's public ministry lasted but a year, since it is certain, by the passovers he kept, that it must be at least three or four years; the whole time of Christ on earth was an acceptable and desirable time, what many great personages desired to see, and did not: this time may take in the whole Gospel dispensation, which was ushered in by Christ: the allusion, as before observed, is to the year of jubilee, when there was a proclamation of liberty; of release of debts; of restoration of inheritances, and of cessation from work; all which must make it an acceptable year: and this proclamation was made on the day of atonement; and Jarchi interprets the phrase here of a "year of reconciliation"; or "the year of atonement to the Lord", as it maybe rendered (s); this was made by the sacrifice of Christ, and is proclaimed in the Gospel, and makes a most considerable part of it. It may be rendered, "the year of the good will of the Lord" (t); and such was the time of Christ's coming on earth, to save men, and make peace and reconciliation for them, Luke 2:14 and was an "acceptable time" indeed; acceptable to the Lord himself; as were the incarnation of Christ, his obedience and righteousness, his sufferings and death, his sacrifice and satisfaction; since hereby the perfections of God were glorified, his purposes fulfilled, his covenant confirmed, and his people saved: acceptable to men; as were the birth of Christ; the things done by him; peace made, pardon procured, righteousness brought in, and salvation wrought out; all which must be acceptable to such who are lost, and know it, and are sensible that nothing of their own can save them; see 1 Timothy 1:15.

the day of vengeance of our God; when vengeance was taken on sin, in the person of Christ; when he destroyed the works of the devil, the devil himself, and spoiled principalities and powers; when he abolished death, and was the plague and destruction of that and the grave; when he brought wrath to the uttermost on the Jews for the rejection of him, who would not have him to reign over them; and who will take vengeance on antichrist at his spiritual coming, and upon all the wicked at the day of judgment. Kimchi understands this of the day when God shall take vengeance on Gog and Magog.

To comfort all that mourn: that are under afflictions, and mourn for them; and under a sense of sin, and mourn for that; who mourn for their own sins, indwelling sin, and their many actual transgressions; and for the sins of others, of profane persons, and especially professors of religion; these Christ comforts by his Spirit, by his word and ministers, by his promises, by his ordinances, and by the discoveries, of pardoning grace and mercy,

(s) "annum placabilem Jehovae", Vatablus; "annum placabilem Domino", V. L. (t) Heb. "annum benevolentiae, seu bneplaciti Jehovae", Piscator, Tigurine version; "annum complacentiae", Vitinga.

To proclaim the {d} acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of {e} vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn;

(d) The time when it pleased God to show his good favour to man, which Paul calls the fulness of time, Ga 4:4.

(e) For when God delivers his Church, he punishes his enemies.

2. the acceptable year of the Lord] Rather, a year of Jehovah’s favour (ch. Isaiah 49:8); and so in the next line, a day of our God’s vengeance (cf. Isaiah 63:4, ch. Isaiah 34:8). vengeance] i.e. on the oppressors of Israel, perhaps also on the sinful members of the nation (Isaiah 59:16 ff.).

to comfort all that mourn] Cf. ch. Isaiah 57:18. The clause belongs properly to the next verse.Verse 2. - To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord. An "acceptable year," or "year of acceptance," is a space of time during which God would be pleased to accept such as repented and turned to him. It is, of course, not intended to limit the space to a "year." The space is rather the term of our sojourn here below. The day of vengeance. The "day" of vengeance is contrasted with the "year" of acceptance, to indicate God's long-suffering and patience towards sinners (comp. Isaiah 34:8; and see also Exodus 20:5, 6). To comfort all that mourn; i.e. all who "sorrow after a godly sort" (2 Corinthians 7:11) - all who mourn their transgressions and shortcomings, their "sins, negligences, and ignorances," with a hearty desire to be rid of them, and to serve God truly in the future. The outward and inward beauty of the new Jerusalem is now depicted by the materials of her structure, and the powers which prevail within her. "For copper I bring gold, and for iron I bring silver, and for wood copper, and for stones iron, and make peace thy magistracy, and righteousness thy bailiffs. Injustice is no more seen in thy land, wasting and destruction in thy borders; and thou callest salvation thy walls, and renown thy gates." Wood and stone are not used at all in the building of the new Jerusalem. Just as in the time of Solomon silver was counted as nothing (1 Kings 10:21) and had only the value of stones (1 Kings 10:27), so here Jehovah gives her gold instead of copper, silver instead of iron; whilst copper and iron are so despised with this superabundance of the precious metals, that they take the place of such building materials as wood and stones. Thus the city will be a massive one, and not even all of stone, but entirely built of metal, and indestructible not only by the elements, but by all kinds of foes. The allegorical continuation of the prophecy shows very clearly that the prophet does not mean his words to be taken literally. The lxx, Saad., and others, are wrong in adopting the rendering, "I make thy magistracy peace," etc.; since shâlōm and tsedâqâh are not accusatives of either the predicate or the object, but such personifications as we are accustomed to in Isaiah (vid., Isaiah 32:16-17; Isaiah 59:14; cf., Isaiah 45:8). Jehovah makes peace its pequddâh, i.e., its "overseership" (like gebhūrâh, heroship, in Isaiah 3:25, and ‛ezrâh, helpership, in Isaiah 31:2), or magistracy; and righteousness its bailiffs. The plural נגשׂיך is no disproof of the personification; the meaning is, that tsedâqâh (righteousness) is to Jerusalem what the whole body of civil officers together are: that is to say, righteousness is a substitute for the police force in every form. Under such magistracy and such police, nothing is ever heard within the land, of which Jerusalem is the capital, of either châmâs, i.e., a rude and unjust attack of the stronger upon the weaker, or of shōd, i.e., conquest and devastation, and shebher, i.e., dashing to pieces, or breaking in two. It has walls (Isaiah 60:10); but in truth "salvation," the salvation of its God, is regarded as its impregnable fortifications. It has gates (Isaiah 60:11) but tehillâh, the renown that commands respect, with which Jehovah has invested it, is really better than any gate, whether for ornament or protection.
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