Isaiah 42:6 MEANING

Isaiah 42:6
(6) Have called thee in righteousness . . .--The words apply to the personal servant. His call was in accordance with the absolute righteousness of God, manifesting itself in love.

A covenant of the people.--The context limits the "people" to Israel. The "servant of the Lord" is to be in Himself not only the mediator of the covenant, but the covenant, the meeting-point between God and man, just as He is the "peace" as well as the peacemaker (Micah 5:5; Ephesians 2:14). The words may well have furnished a starting-point for the "new covenant" of Jeremiah 31:31, and the whole series of thoughts that have grown out of it.

A light of the Gentiles.--Re-echoed in Luke 2:32.

Verse 6. - I the Lord have called thee in righteousness. The "Servant of Jehovah" is addressed. God has "called" him; i.e. appointed him to his mediatorial office "in righteousness," in accordance with the righteous purpose which he has entertained towards his fallen creatures from the beginning of the world. And will give thee for a Covenant of the people (comp. Isaiah 49:8). The covenant between God and his people being in Christ, it is quite consistent with Hebrew usage to transfer the term to Christ himself, in whom the covenant was, as it were, embodied. So Christ is called "our Salvation" and "our Peace," and again, "our Redemption" and "our Life." This is the ordinary tone of Hebrew poetry, which rejoices in personification and embodiment. A prose writer would have said that the Servant of the Lord would be given as the Mediator of a covenant between Jehovah and his people. For a light of the Gentiles (comp. Isaiah 49:6; Isaiah 51:4).

42:5-12 The work of redemption brings back man to the obedience he owes to God as his Maker. Christ is the light of the world. And by his grace he opens the understandings Satan has blinded, and sets at liberty from the bondage of sin. The Lord has supported his church. And now he makes new promises, which shall as certainly be fulfilled as the old ones were. When the Gentiles are brought into the church, he is glorified in them and by them. Let us give to God those things which are his, taking heed that we do not serve the creature more than the Creator.I the Lord have called thee in righteousness,.... Not the Prophet Isaiah, as Jarchi and Aben Ezra interpret it; nor the people of Israel, as Kimchi; but the Messiah, whom Jehovah called to the office of Mediator, in a righteous way and manner, consistent with his own perfections; and not against the will of Christ, but with his full consent: or, "unto righteousness", as some (n); so the Arabic version; to fulfil his righteous purposes, concerning the welfare and salvation of his people; to perform his righteous promises of his coming, and of good things by him; to show his strict vindictive justice against sin, in the punishment of it; and to bring in an everlasting righteousness for his people: or it may be rendered, "I have called thee with righteousness (o)"; Christ came a righteous Person, holy in his nature, harmless in his life, and truly deserved the character of Jesus Christ the righteous:

and will hold thine hand: denoting his presence with him, and nearness unto him; his favour and affection for him; his counsel and direction of him; the support and assistance he gave him; and the strength he received from him as man, to go through his work:

and will keep thee; as the apple of his eye, being dear unto him; from being hurt by his enemies till the time came to be delivered into their hands; and from miscarrying in his work; and from the power of the grave, so as to be long detained in it:

and give thee for a covenant of the people; Christ is a covenantee, a party concerned in the covenant of grace; the representative of his people in it; the surety, Mediator, messenger, and ratifier of it; the great blessing in it; the sum and substance of it; all the blessings and promises of it are in him, and as such he is "given"; it is of God's free grace that he was appointed and intrusted with all this in eternity, and was sent in time to confirm and secure it for "the people"; given him of his Father, redeemed by him and to whom the Spirit applies the blessings and promises of the covenant; even the elect of God, both among Jews and Gentiles, especially the latter, as follows:

for a light of the Gentiles; who were in the dark as to the true knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, and the way of righteousness and salvation by him, and of all divine and spiritual things; now Christ, through the ministry of the word by his Spirit, was a light unto them; by which they were enlightened into their own state and condition by nature, and into the knowledge of himself, and the mysteries of grace.

(n) "Ad, sive in justitiam", Sanctius. (o) "cum justitia", Piscator, Forerius, Cocceius.

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