Who is this that comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel…
A passage of unique and sublime dramatic power. The impotence of Israel's enemies to retard or interfere with their deliverance has been insisted on before (Isaiah 41:15 f., 49:25, 26, 51:23, 54:17); and it is here developed under a novel and striking figure. The historical fact upon which the representation rests is the long-standing and implacable enmity subsisting between Israel and Edom. The scene depicted is, of course, no event of actual history; it is symbolical; an ideal humiliation of nations, marshalled upon the territory of Israel's inveterate foe, is the form under which the thought of Israel's triumph is here expressed. The prophet sees in imagination a figure, as of a conqueror, his garments crimsoned with" blood, advancing proudly, in the distance from the direction of Edom, and asks, "Who is this that cometh?" etc. In reply, he hears from afar the words, "I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save," i.e. I who have announced (Isaiah 45:19) a just and righteous purpose of deliverance, and am able to give "it effect. The answer is not yet sufficiently explicit, so he repeats the question in a more direct form, "Wherefore art Thou red in Thine apparel?' etc. (vers. 2, 3). Not Edom only, then, but other nations also have been trodden down and subdued (vers. 4-6). In the hour when the contest Israel contra mundum was to be decided, no human agent, willingly or consciously, came forward to assist; nevertheless, God's purposes were not frustrated: Israel's opponents were humbled and defeated; but human means, in so far as use was made of them, were the unconscious instruments of Providence. And thus the blood-stained colour of the Victor's garments is explained: it is a token of Jehovah's triumph over His people's foes, primarily, indeed, over those foes who would impede the release of the Jews from Babylon, or molest them when settled again in Palestine, but by implication also, over other foes who might rise up in the future to assail the people of God.
(Prof. S. R. Driver, D. . D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save.
WEB: Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this who is glorious in his clothing, marching in the greatness of his strength? "It is I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save."