In chapter 41 Isaiah has shown that God has great purposes for Israel, his servant. That purpose is now declared. It is a purpose of blessing to all nations (42:1-4 and 5-9; cf. Gen. 12:13b). In order to accomplish it, God will redeem his people from their present plight (42:13-16), confounding those that trust in idols (42:17), and calling forth from far and near a paeon of praise to his name (42:10-12). Israel’s present condition, under God’s chastisement for her sins, is indeed pitiable (42:18-25), but God will ransom his people, letting other nations suffer subjection in their stead (43:1-7), and Israel shall then bear witness before the assembled nations to Jehovah’s sovereign might and glory (43:8-13).
- 42:1-4. The prophet, in this picture of God’s ideal Servant, perfectly portrays the Lord Jesus. Cf. Matt. 12:18-21. What is said concerning:
(a) his relation to God;
(b) his equipment for his task;
(c) the purpose and scope of his mission;
(d) the qualities that characterize him;
(e) the method of his ministry;
(f) his endurance;
(g) the final fulfillment of his work?
- What does God promise to do for his people Israel in their distress (42:16, 17; 43:1-7)?
What witness will Israel, when redeemed, bear to God and his saving power (43:10-13)?
Have we a similar testimony to the world around us concerning the reality of God’s work of redemption?
- 42:19. ‘Blind’: i.e., to destiny and mission.
- 43:3, 4. The meaning seems to be that God will give to Cyrus other people to serve him in payment for setting the Jews free.