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42. The Servant of the Lord

Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. 2He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street. 3A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. 4He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.

5Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein: 6I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles; 7To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house. 8I am the Lord: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images. 9Behold, the former things are come to pass, and new things do I declare: before they spring forth I tell you of them. 10Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. 11Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. 12Let them give glory unto the Lord, and declare his praise in the islands. 13The Lord shall go forth as a mighty man, he shall stir up jealousy like a man of war: he shall cry, yea, roar; he shall prevail against his enemies. 14I have long time holden my peace; I have been still, and refrained myself: now will I cry like a travailing woman; I will destroy and devour at once. 15I will make waste mountains and hills, and dry up all their herbs; and I will make the rivers islands, and I will dry up the pools. 16And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them.

17They shall be turned back, they shall be greatly ashamed, that trust in graven images, that say to the molten images, Ye are our gods. 18Hear, ye deaf; and look, ye blind, that ye may see. 19Who is blind, but my servant? or deaf, as my messenger that I sent? who is blind as he that is perfect, and blind as the Lord’S servant? 20Seeing many things, but thou observest not; opening the ears, but he heareth not. 21The Lord is well pleased for his righteousness’ sake; he will magnify the law, and make it honourable. 22But this is a people robbed and spoiled; they are all of them snared in holes, and they are hid in prison houses: they are for a prey, and none delivereth; for a spoil, and none saith, Restore. 23Who among you will give ear to this? who will hearken and hear for the time to come? 24Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the Lord, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law. 25Therefore 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.

10. Sing to Jehovah. He now exhorts the people to gratitude; for God’s favors ought always to excite us, by the remembrance of them, to give thanks and to celebrate his praises. Besides, by that exhortation he calls believers to behold the prophecy as actually accomplished, and confirms those promises of which he spoke. We ought to observe this as the design of the Prophet, that there is no reason why believers, though they are severely oppressed, should give way to sorrow, but that good hope ought to encourage them to gladness, that they may now prepare to render thanksgiving.

The subject of this song is, that Christ has been revealed to the world, and sent by the Father, in order to relieve the miseries of his Church, and to restore her to perfect order, and indeed, as it were, to renew the whole world. As it was difficult to believe this, the Prophet wished to remove every doubt, in order to fix these predictions more deeply in their hearts. Nor ought we to wonder that the Prophet labors so hard to arouse them when they were reduced to the greatest straits, and had no longer any hope of safety. The mere aspect of things might shake their faith, and even produce suspicion that all that the prophets had foretold was unfounded and absurd. The object, of this exhortation therefore is, that when affairs are utterly desperate, they should be cheerful and rely on these promises.

A new song. By new he means an excellent, beautiful, and elegant song, not one that is ordinary or common, but a song which may arouse men to admiration, as relating to the extraordinary grace of God, of which there had never been so remarkable an example. In this sense it is also used in Psalm 33:3, and 96:1 New is here contrasted with what is Ordinary, and thus he extols the infinite mercy of God, which was to be revealed in Christ, and which ought therefore to be celebrated and sung with the highest praises. Hence we infer that each of us ought to be the more zealous in proclaiming the praises of God, in proportion to the greater number of favors which we have received. It is indeed the duty of all men to sing praise to God, for there is no person who is not bound to it by the strongest obligations; but more lofty praises ought to proceed from those on whom more valuable gifts have been bestowed. Now, since God has laid open the fountain of all blessings in Christ, and has displayed all spiritual riches, we need not wonder if he demand that we offer to him an unwonted and excellent sacrifice of praise.

It ought to be observed that this song cannot be sung but by renewed men; for it ought to proceed from the deepest feeling of the heart, and therefore we need the direction and influence of the Spirit, that we may sing those praises in a proper manner. Besides, he does not exhort one or a few nations to do this, but all the nations in the world; for to all of them Christ was sent.


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