Isaiah 63 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 63)

Verse 1

[1] 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.

Who — The church makes enquiry, and that with admiration, who it is that appears in such a habit or posture? Edom - Idumea, where Esau dwelt. It is put for all the enemies of the church.

Bozrah — The capital city of Idumea. Here is also an allusion to the garments of this conqueror, Edom signifying red, and Bozrah a vintage.

Glorious — Such as generals march before their armies in.

Righteousness — Here Christ gives an answer, wherein he both asserts his fidelity, that he will faithfully perform what he hath promised, and that he will truly execute justice.

Mighty — I have power to accomplish salvation.

Verse 3

[3] I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment.

Trodden — I have destroyed the enemies of my people, I have crushed them as grapes are crushed, this being an usual metaphor to describe the utter destruction of a people.

Verse 4

[4] For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.

Of vengeance — To take vengeance on the enemies of my church.

Verse 5

[5] And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.

None to help — Not that he needed it, but to see what men would do, in regard his people needed it; therefore the standing, or not standing by his people, is the same thing with standing, or not standing by him.

Uphold — A metaphor, taken from a staff, that is an help to one that leans on it.

Verse 6

[6] And I will tread down the people in mine anger, and make them drunk in my fury, and I will bring down their strength to the earth.

Drunk — They go as it were to and fro, not knowing what to do with themselves.

Bring down — Whatever it is wherein their strength lies, he will bring to the very dust, to nothing.

Verse 7

[7] I will mention the lovingkindnesses of the LORD, and the praises of the LORD, according to all that the LORD hath bestowed on us, and the great goodness toward the house of Israel, which he hath bestowed on them according to his mercies, and according to the multitude of his lovingkindnesses.

Mention — Here begins a new matter, which contains the prophet's prayer, to the end of chap. 64, wherein he begins with mentioning the great kindnesses that God had shewn the Jews, and that emphatically, setting them forth with the greatest advantages.

Verse 8

[8] For he said, Surely they are my people, children that will not lie: so he was their Saviour.

He said — When he made a covenant with our fathers, and brought them out of Egypt.

Not lie — That will keep my covenant.

So he — Not Cyrus, Zerubbabel, or Nehemiah, but Christ himself.

Verse 9

[9] In all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them: in his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old.

The angel — The same that conducted them through the wilderness; the Lord Jesus Christ, who appeared to Moses in the bush.

Saved them — From the house of bondage.

Carried — He carried them in the arms of his power, and on the wings of his providence. And he is said to do it of old, To remember his ancient kindness for many generations past.

Verse 11

[11] Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them up out of the sea with the shepherd of his flock? where is he that put his holy Spirit within him?

He remembered — This relates, either 1. To the people, and then he is collectively taken, and so it looks like the language of the people in Babylon, and must be read, he shall remember. Or, 2. It may look back to their condition in the wilderness, and thus they may properly say, Where is he? Or that God who delivered his people of old, to do the like for us now? There is a like phrase used by God, as it were recollecting himself, Where is he? Where am I with my former bowels, that moved me to help them of old? His people - What great things he had done for them by Moses.

The sea — Here God speaks of himself, as in the former clause, that divided the sea for them.

Shepherds — Moses and Aaron.

Holy spirit — Those abilities and gifts, wherewith God furnished Moses, as properly proceeding from the Spirit.

Verse 13

[13] That led them through the deep, as an horse in the wilderness, that they should not stumble?

As an horse — With as much ease and tenderness, as an horse led by the bridle.

Not stumble — That, tho' the sea were but newly divided, yet it was dried and smoothed by the wind, that God sent, as it were to prepare the way before them.

Verse 14

[14] As a beast goeth down into the valley, the Spirit of the LORD caused him to rest: so didst thou lead thy people, to make thyself a glorious name.

The valley — A laden beast goeth warily and gently down the hill.

Rest — Led them easily, that they should not be over-travelled, or fall down, through weariness; thus Jeremiah expresses it, Jeremiah 31:2, and thus God gave them rest from their enemies, drowning them in the sea, and in their safe conduct, that they could not annoy or disturb them, leading them 'till he found them a place for resting; the word for leading, and resting, being much of a like notion, Zechariah 10:6, pointing at their several rests by the way, Numbers 10:33, or it may be read by way of interrogation, as all the foregoing words, and be the close of that enquiry, And where is the spirit, that caused then to rest? Or, he led them to Canaan the place of their rest.

Verse 15

[15] Look down from heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory: where is thy zeal and thy strength, the sounding of thy bowels and of thy mercies toward me? are they restrained?

Look — Now the prophet begins to expostulate with God, and to argue both from the goodness of his nature, and from the greatness of his works. God sees every where, and every thing, but he is said to look down from heaven, because there is his throne whereon he sits in majesty.

Behold — Not barely see, but behold with regard, and respect thy poor people.

Where — What is become of that love, which of old would not let thee suffer thy people to be wronged? Strength - That power of thine manifested in those great acts? The founding - This is spoken of God after the manner of men.

Verse 16

[16] Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting.

Abraham — He who was our father after the flesh, though he be dead, and so ignorant of our condition.

Redeemer — This is urged as another argument for pity; because their Father was their Redeemer.

From everlasting — Thou hast been our Redeemer of old.

Verse 17

[17] O LORD, why hast thou made us to err from thy ways, and hardened our heart from thy fear? Return for thy servants' sake, the tribes of thine inheritance.

Made us — Suffered us to err.

Hardened — Suffered it to be hardened.

Thy fear — The fear of thee.

Servants sake — For our sakes, that little remnant that are thy servants.

Inheritance — The land of Canaan, which God gave them as an inheritance.

Verse 18

[18] The people of thy holiness have possessed it but a little while: our adversaries have trodden down thy sanctuary.

People — The people set apart for his servants.

A little while — Comparatively to the promise, which was for ever.

Sanctuary — The temple.

Verse 19

[19] We are thine: thou never barest rule over them; they were not called by thy name.

Thine — We continue so; we are in covenant, which they never were; and thus it is an argument they use with God to look upon them.

Never — Not in that manner thou didst over us.

They — Neither owned thee, nor were owned by thee.